Is there a role for Europe in the Korean crisis?

Until this past week I had never even heard of the Centre for European Reform. On Friday 12 April 2013, my emailed alerts to the North Korea Forum on LinkedIn brought my attention to Ian Bond’s excellent article Out of range, out of mind: Is there a role for Europe in the Korean crisis?

European union conceptAs you might have read in the left-hand column, CanKor has always been interested in the “role to be played in northeast Asia by second-tier middle powers like Canada, Australia and the European Union.” I have often puzzled over the fact that after the initial “Sunshine” enthusiasm shown by European countries for a role in North Korea in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Europe by and large seems to have ceded its politically astute and innovative role to the geopolitical interests of the USA.

My own European roots have rebelled against the notion that when it comes to North-East Asia, Europe should act as cheerleaders of a  doomed-from-the-start American policy initiated by an American President politically traumatized by the events of 9-11. Who would have thought that Barack Obama would continue his predecessor’s ill-conceived notion that somehow playing the DPRK’s game of brinkmanship would bring them to their knees? I too wish that doing nothing except wagging a finger would have prevented North Korea from building up to 10 nuclear warheads and a missile capable of launching a (non-functioning) satellite into orbit.

Our best efforts over the past seven years have not been able to stir the Canadian Government into any useful direction. Even playing the “good cop” role, as Andrei Lankov recently suggested in Ottawa, seems beyond our government’s ability or intent. The same apparently goes for Australia and New Zealand. Read the rest of this entry »

DPRK Business Monthly Volume III, No.12

The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the  current January 2013 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly Volume III, No.12

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (left) and Google chairman Eric Schmidt (Photo by AP)

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (left) and Google chairman Eric Schmidt (Photo by AP)

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • Google Head Visits Pyongyang
  • Virtual Suggestions: Google and North Korea
  • DPRK Never Has Been Hermetically Sealed
  • Another US Entrepreneur Honorary Pyongyang Citizen
  • NK Relaxes Cell Phone Rules for Foreigners
  • NK Eyes More Foreign Media Outlets: AP Vice-president
  • Grain, Fertilizer Imports from China Fall Sharply
  • Western Instructors Train N. Koreans in Statistics
  • NK Seeks German Help to Open Economy
  • Pyongyang Wants Private Sector Cooperation with ROK
  • ROK Civic Groups Call for Kumgang Tours Resumption
  • DPRK Tablet PC Can Receive TV Broadcasts
  • Kaesong Production Up 17.5%
  • Row Brews Over Kaesong Holiday Move

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators.

Comment by the Business Monthly Editor:

“LinkedIn blocked me when I listed my North Korean address — and I was not the only one,” Felix Abt, a Swiss entrepreneur who spent seven years living and doing business in North Korea, said. Read the rest of this entry »

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