See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Maintain maximum pressure, not misled by Pyongyang’s smiling facade

An editorial in the Yomiuri Shimbun argues that maximum pressure must be maintained on North Korea, despite its recent charm offensive.

Written by

Updated: March 9, 2018

Having won South Korea over to its side, North Korea immediately accelerated its moves aiming at dialogue with the United States. The countries concerned must maintain the maximum pressure on Pyongyang toward its denuclearization, without being misled by its “smile diplomacy.”

A senior South Korean delegation, including special envoys of South Korean President Moon Jae In, held talks with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, in Pyongyang. The South Korean government announced that the two sides have agreed to hold an inter-Korea summit in late April in Panmunjom, a village in the demilitarized zone.

According to the announcement, the North clearly affirmed its “commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and indicated its stance that it “would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons should the safety of its regime be guaranteed and military threats against North Korea removed.”

Having breached its denuclearization agreements with other countries, including the United States and South Korea, the North has pushed forward with the goal of possessing nuclear weapons. There is no way to believe that Pyongyang has changed this policy. Pyongyang seems to have merely put in different words its previous assertion that it would “possess nuclear weapons to counter the U.S. nuclear threat.”

The North Korean side is said to have signaled that it is willing to engage in negotiations with the United States over both denuclearization and the normalization of bilateral relations and made clear that it will not conduct any nuclear or ballistic missile tests as long as the dialogue is ongoing. It has also promised not to use not only nuclear weapons but also conventional weapons against the South.

Learn from the past

Not to be forgotten, however, is the fact that the North has made no reference whatsoever to any concrete steps it will take toward denuclearization. There is a possibility that any dialogue could be used to buy time for the North to continue its nuclear and missile development programs.

Lying behind the North’s taking a dialogue offensive is undoubtedly the fact that the United States has increased its military pressure and economic sanctions against North Korea.

It is worrisome that the Moon administration, which should hold out against the North by cooperating with other members of the international community, including the United States, has been too eager regarding inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation.

Any inter-Korean summit would be meaningless if it does not contribute to solving the nuclear issue. It is feared that there would be a situation in which South Korea, taking the opportunity of the summit, may embark on economic cooperation and other activities with Pyongyang without sufficient consideration, boring a hole in international efforts to contain North Korea. The planned U.S.-South Korea military exercises must be implemented steadily.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: “Past dialogues did not lead to denuclearization. It is necessary to respond to North Korea taking into account that lesson from the past.” His having made such a request was much to the point. It is vital for Japan to closely coordinate its opinions with both the United States and South Korea.

While signaling his idea of positively considering holding a dialogue with North Korea, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “We are prepared to go whichever path is necessary.” By saying this, he hinted that the option still remains of using U.S. military might.

The U.S. government will be briefed directly by special envoys for Moon on the content of the recent talks with North Korea. Washington needs to make complete arrangements for promoting its consistent policy by appointing officials, including a new special envoy in charge of North Korea and an ambassador to Seoul.

(This article originally appeared in the Yomiuri Shimbun)

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

ANN Members
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

North Korea leader arrives in Russia ahead of Putin summit

Kim and Putin are due to meet today. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday arrived in Vladivostok, Russia, a day ahead of his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kim set out for Russia via his private train in the early hours of Wednesday and arrived in the Russian border city of Khasan at about 10:40 a.m., before moving on to Vladivostok, where he arrived some six hours later. In an interview with Russian media after a welcome ceremony in Khasan, Kim hinted at strengthening cooperation with Moscow in regional security issues. “I believe (the summit) will be an opportunity for very beneficial conversation in jointly managing and controlling regional issues,” Kim said in the interview.

By The Korea Herald
April 25, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

China showcases carrier strike group capabilities at fleet review

China has flexed its muscles before in the South China Sea. China displayed its military development toward assembling its version of a carrier strike group during a naval parade in Qingdao, China, on Tuesday. The international fleet review marking the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Liberation Army Navy showcased Chinese naval vessels such as China’s own aircraft carrier and state-of-the-art destroyers. It is certain that the Chinese navy, which aims to exclude the U.S. military from the western Pacific Ocean to gain maritime hegemony, will increase provocative maritime maneuvers with its aircraft carrier Besides China, Japan was one of the 13 countries participating in the naval review. The crew members and others on these countries’ vessels saluted Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also heads the PLA, standing on the deck of a Chinese d

By The Japan News
April 25, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

In any other country, govt. would have resigned

Saman Indrajith argues that the Sri Lankan government should have resigned. The entire government would have resigned if a disaster like the Easter Sunday carnage had happened in any other country, but such things would never happen in Sri Lanka, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament, yesterday. Participating in the debate on gazette declaring a state of emergency, Field Marshal Fonseka severely criticised both the government and the Opposition for allowing the deterioration of intelligence services. He said that soon after the end of the war in 2009, he had proposed to build a national intelligence agency combining all intelligence units and divisions and to make it the best in South Asia. But no such thing had happened. Instead, the intelligence operatives had been used to stalk and surveillance of political enemies and their children, the former Army Commander said. Fonseka said: “

By The Island
April 25, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Iran sanctions alarm Korean petrochemical sector

Korea, major player in crude oil market, seeking alternative countries would drive up costs. As the US is set to end sanction exemptions for countries buying oil from Iran, South Korean petrochemical companies are anticipated to struggle in having to reduce their Iranian oil supplies. From May 2, eight nations, including Korea, Japan, China and India, will be banned from buying oil from Iran as the US government’s 180-day waiver ends. Iran is the fifth-largest exporter of crude oil to Korea, following Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the US and Iraq. Imports of crude oil from Iran to Korea accounted for 8.6 percent of total imported crude oil in February, according to Korea National Oil Corp. “We were a bit shocked. We didn’t expect a complete ban. Every company (affected) will be busy securing condensate, which is not abundant in the market,” said an anonymous official of a local firm in the petroc

By The Korea Herald
April 24, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

PM Imran’s statement in Iran comes under intense opposition attack

Khan said in Tehran that Pakistan has been used as a staging area for attacks in Iran. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public acknowledgement in Tehran that terrorists had in the past misused Pakistani territory to undertake attacks against Iran came under a blistering attack by the opposition in the National Assembly on Tuesday. Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari defended the prime minister, saying his statement was being quoted out of context. In an unprecedented, albeit bold move, Imran, while speaking at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a round of talks on Monday, had said: “I know Iran has suffered from terrorism [perpetrated] by groups operating from Pakistan. …we [need to] have trust in each other that both countries will not allow any terrorist activity fr

By Dawn
April 24, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Iran, Pakistan pledge to combat terrorism

Prime Minister Imran Khan met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Presidential Palace in Tehran on Monday. During their meeting, Prime Minister Imran — who is on a two-day official visit to Iran — discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and ways to further ties in diverse fields with President Rouhani, Radio Pakistan reported.

By Dawn
April 23, 2019