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

Swift assistance needed to rehabilitate Hokkaido’s quake-stricken industries

To realize Hokkaido’s post-quake rehabilitation, it is indispensable to rebuild its industries. A half month has passed since the Hokkaido earthquake, which registered the highest level on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7. A power blackout that spread to all parts of the prefecture has been resolved. The No. 1 unit at the Tomato-Atsuma thermal power plant — a facility that plays a central role in the supply of electricity there — has been brought back on line. The government has withdrawn its request for power-saving, and neon lighting has returned to flourishing areas in Sapporo. However, scars from the earthquake have not yet healed. Even if the amount of direct damage, including that caused to roads, rivers and forest land, is calculated alone, the figure exceeds ¥150 billion. There are still many disaster victims in evacuation centers. T


By The Japan News
September 25, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Maldives strongman Abdulla Yameen in shock election defeat

The Maldivian election was watched closely as an indicator of China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region. Maldives strongman Abdulla Yameen’s hopes for a second presidential term were dashed on September 24 with opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih defeating him in the country’s elections. After a months-long sweeping crackdown on the opposition and a brief state of emergency imposed by the autocratic Yameen, the election on September 23 was preceded by a bitter campaign during which opposition leaders frequently accused the ruling regime of rights abuses and oppression. Several independent news websites reported that after the counting of a majority of the votes, Solih had won more than 58 per cent of the votes to 41 per cent for Yameen. Hours after the emergence of the informal results, Yameen conceded defeat to Solih during a televised news conference, saying: “Mal


By Lamat R Hasan
September 25, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Ending Rohingya Crisis: Bangladesh tables 3 proposals at UN meeting

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday made three recommendations for solving the Rohingya crisis at its root while at the UN meeting in New York. According to her second recommendation, Myanmar must create a conducive environment by building trust and guaranteeing protection, rights and pathway to citizenship for all Rohingyas. If needed, it should create a “safe zone” inside the country to protect all civilians. Her third recommendation says atrocious crimes against Rohingyas in Myanmar should be prevented by bringing accountability and justice, particularly in the light of recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission of the UN Human Rights Council. The PM was speaking at a high-level event on the “Global Compact on Refugees: A Model for Greater Solidarity and Cooperation” at the UN headquarters in New York. “In Bangladesh, now we’re faced with the largest forced mov


By Daily Star
September 25, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Moon, Trump discuss ‘corresponding measures’ for NK denucelarization

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in New York on Sunday for a bilateral summit with US President Donald Trump that is partly aimed at brokering a second US-North Korea summit. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump on Monday discussed possible ways to reward North Korea for its denuclearization measures that will apparently include a second US-North Korea summit. “The leaders agreed to continue communicating closely about corresponding measures,” said Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. In their bilateral summit held in New York, the leaders of South K


By The Korea Herald
September 25, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Thai seafood giant to address slavery issues at UN

Thailand’s progress in promoting human rights in the fishing industry will be addressed in a panel session on modern slavery and human trafficking at the United Nations General Assembly by seafood giants Thai Union. Darian McBain, global director of sustainability for the Thai Union Group, will address the panel on the topic of “Stepping up Action to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking”. “Thailand has made a number of advances on human rights, which should be commended, but there is more work to be done and I believe Thailand has the opportunity b


By The Nation (Thailand)
September 24, 2018

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Opinion: One Belt, One Road: We must secure our interest

Shah Husain Imam argues in the Daily Star that Bangladesh must put its interests first in joining China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. The ancient Silk Road, of which the Belt and Road Initiative is a gigantic new avatar, dates back to the Chinese Han Dynasty’s westward expansion more than 2100 years ago. The Road derived its name from the lucrative silk trade along the routes through which it branched into what are today the central Asian countries Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, as well as present-day Pakistan and India to the south. These routes eventually spanned 4,000 miles to Europe. Interestingly, silk was regarded as more precious than gold as a commodity in those times as if to convey the misty romanticism with the old world charm about a fine fabric. At any rate, the Silk Road by no means offered silken smooth passage to travellers like Marco P


By Daily Star
September 21, 2018