Issue

[Issue] [February 2016] In Focus_Politics :Increasing Interdependency is the way to Peace on the Han Peninsula

Increasing Interdependency is the way to Peace on the Han
Peninsula

An analysis
on the Northeast Asian situation following the nuclear experiment of North
Korea

 

Kim Sam-Su

Director, Korea Reunification Society

 

North Korea
experimented with a hydrogen bomb on the 6th of January, the 3rd such experiment
since February 2013. The reactivation of loudspeaker broadcasts against North
Korea and the deployment of U.S. B-52 strategic bombers just 4 days after the
experiment signal the Han Peninsula is confronting a crisis. As tensions mount at
the DMZ, they said sooner or later B-2 stealth bombers, nuclear powered
submarines, and nuclear powered aircraft carriers would be deployed, too. If North
Korea keeps insisting on being ready for nuclear war, U.S. strategic nuclear
weapons will continue being staged against the country. While the North Korean
nuclear issue heads to a close, a true peace resolution for the Han Peninsula is
still far-off.

 

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▲ North Korea’s
hydrogen bomb – Yonhap News

 

Talks and Negotiation: principles cannot be ignored

 

Unlike North Korean
propaganda, there is much doubt about the success of the hydrogen bomb experiment,
which North Korea claims to be more effective than the atomic bomb. No matter
the result, its existence poses a serious threat to the peace of the Han
Peninsula, Northeast Asia and the rest of the world. After announcing its nuclear
doctrine in 2013, North Korea has activated ‘strategic force’ from the ‘strategic
rocket force’, which had previously been established. Last December, North
Korea attempted to experiment with a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM),
and now it has reached its 4th nuclear experiment, attempting to create a
downsized nuclear bomb. Recently, it has become more difficult to report and
investigate on North Korea’s nuclear program. It is the moment to consider a strategic
approach, not only for increasing deterrent power for self-defense, but also
for securing nonproliferation of the bomb.

North Korea would like­
the U.S. to accept its possession of a bomb, which could be deployed in an
actual situation, as fact, so that it might dominate the strategic nuclear relationship.
The international community would reinforce sanctions against North Korea.
through the U.N. Security Council. The sanctions, however, would not be
effective if China is reluctant to impose them. There is a slim possibility of China
abandoning North Korea in order to reinforce military cooperation among South
Korea, the United States and Japan. Considering the geopolitical landscape
surrounding the Han Peninsula, a forceful military action is not logical, as it
would strengthen North Korea’s capability of developing a nuclear bomb.

The experience of Iran
can be an important precedent in this situation. Despite strong opposition from
conservatives, such as U.S. Republicans and Israel, the United States
maintained its willingness to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through
diplomatic negotiations. This model might be applied to the nuclear issue with
North Korea. The South Korean government must promote multilateral and
bilateral diplomatic efforts to foster cooperation from China, whose role is
crucial in solving the North Korean nuclear issue. Since there was an agreement
through a joint statement made September 19, 2005 on carrying out a mutual abolition
of nuclear weapons and a normalization of relationships between the United States
and North Korea, there must be shown an active willingness on the part of the U.S.
to resolve the issue as it did with Iran. It must not become a mere checking
Chinese power through the North Korean nuclear incident.     

 

 

Increasing Interdependency

 

President Park
commented that the experiment was a serious provocation, although she could not
offer any clear counter measurement besides the reactivation of loudspeaker
broadcasting. The government suggested the necessity of 5-Talks, excluding
North Korea, while simultaneously proposing the effectiveness of 6-Talks,
including North Korea. Since North Korea was not involved, 5-Talks became a
consultative group, focusing on sanctions against North Korea itself. China
instantly rejected the suggestio­n, doubtful whether there were enough chief
delegates from South Korea-US-Japan, South Korea-China, and South Korea–Russia.
It seems the government has shown its diplomatic incapability without
considering the effectiveness of sticking with sanctions to solve the nuclear
problem.  

 

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6-Talks for the resolution
of the North Korean nuclear issue – SBS

 

The government of
South Korea has been focusing on denuclearization at the diplomatic stage and through
joint statements from the summit with the United States, China and Japan. However,
denuclearization is a far cry without the restoration of talks between both
Koreas as a confidence building measure. So far, bilateral talks have been
successful in making reunification part of the national agenda. However, it is
not possible to reestablish the relationship between both Koreas with the
Park’s current rigid approaching. She must dare to give up the notion of
conditional cooperation, which her administration has been sticking to thus far.

The Park
administration must be reminded that the ultimate goal of policy on the Han
Peninsula is peace. Increasing the interdependency of both nations through
expanding and developing an economic interchange based on strong security is
the only way to move forward with denuclearization and peace. The government
has to restore the confidence of both nations through reinstitution of action
5.24; resuming tourism to Mount Guemgang, expanding interchange of various
actors, and afterwards promoting the transformation of rational thinking regarding
North Korea and the fulfillment of the joint declaration on denuclearization.
It is the South Korean government’s part to resolve the nuclear struggle
between the U.S. and China.

 

Translator
: Myung Jin-Geon