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

Chinese FDI in US plunges as obstacles rise

Trade war has far reaching ramifications on investment. Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States plummeted more than 80 percent in 2018, and the downturn is expected to continue, given tighter US regulatory screening and policy shifts in China, analysts have said. After declining from a peak of $48 billion in 2016 to $31 billion in 2017, Chinese FDI in North America dropped to $8 billion in 2018, and total investment in Europe was also down, according to the latest analysis from law firm Baker McKenzie. The US was responsible for the majority of this, falling from a peak of $45.63 billion in 2016 and $29 billion in 2017 to just $5 billion in 2018, down 83 percent, said the report released on Monday. “The FDI flows are declining for both Europe and America, and the decline is because Europe and America are getting more restrictive, particularly in technology areas, so that’


By China Daily
January 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Korea to produce 6.2 million hydrogen cars by 2040

President Moon stresses government’s determination to make transition to a hydrogen economy. South Korea will produce 6.2 million units of fuel cell electric vehicles and build 1,200 refilling stations across the country by 2040, in a major industrial push aimed at securing energy independence and assuming a leadership role in hydrogen technology. The Seoul government will also support the industrial and domestic use of fuel cells for electricity and develop ships, trains and construction machinery powered by hydrogen, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.In its road map announced Thursday, the government said it would diversify the hydrogen supply portfolio, increase the supply volume to 5.26 million tons in the next 20 years and lower the market price of the energy source to less than 3,000 won per kilogram. The road map was announced in Ulsan, a southeastern industrial cit


By The Korea Herald
January 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Senior North Korean official to deliver letter to Trump

Speculation that the two leaders could meet in Hanoi as early as February. North Korea’s chief negotiator in US-North Korea talks, Kim Yong-chol, is expected to deliver a letter to US President Donald Trump during his visit to Washington this weekend, according to media reports Thursday. Kim, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, is expected to arrive in the US capital on Thursday. He will meet Trump at the White House, following a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday. The senior official arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport on Thursday for United Airlines flight UA808 bound for Washingto


By The Korea Herald
January 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Brexit deal refusal to have limited impact on Korean economy

Seoul vows to speed up efforts for Korea-Britain bilateral trade deal, bracing for post-Brexit era. The British parliament’s latest rejection of the government’s proposed Brexit deal is likely to have a limited impact on global financial markets as well as the South Korean economy, Seoul’s government said Wednesday. Vowing pre-emptive steps to counter a possible fallout, Korean authorities will work on preparations for a bilateral free trade deal with Britain, as the latter will no longer be subject to the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement upon Brexit. “The vote to reject the Brexit deal was seen to have a limited impact on global financial ma


By The Korea Herald
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Beijing rebukes French, German ambassadors

Beijing says award for Chinese lawyer is politically motivated. Beijing on Wednesday slammed the French and German ambassadors to China after they granted a human rights award to a detained Chinese lawyer, saying their wrongdoing gravely violated China’s internal affairs. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China has lodged stern representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction, as well as firm opposition, to the ambassadors’ action. The relevant case is purely judicial, which has nothing to do with human rights, the ministry said. The wrongdoings of Germany and France gravely interfered with China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, the ministry said. China urges the ambassadors of relevant countries to do more to develop bilateral relations and enhance political mutual trust, not the opposite, it added. The lawyer, Yu Wensheng, was detained


By China Daily
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy, Opinion

Singapore-Malaysia relations still ‘good’, says Malaysian Foreign Minister

Ties between Malaysia and Singapore are still “good” despite ongoing air and maritime disputes between the two countries. “Our relations with Singapore remain good. There are some issues but we are talking to each other, and that is very important,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Wednesday (Jan 16), “Most importantly, the discussions are going on. I am confident the discussions are moving in the right direction.” He said five senior government officials will meet with their Singaporean counterparts to discuss ongoing issues. Besides Mr Saifuddin, the others are Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Ministry secretary-general Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob. Both Singapore and Malaysia are currently locked in two separate disputes – over 


By The Straits Times
January 17, 2019