Carnegie Moscow Center and Korea Foundation organized a public event on the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, and relations between the United States, Russia, China, and the ROK.
With US-Russian relations already confrontational and Sino-US relations becoming visibly more tense, the context for major power interaction on the North Korean nuclear issue has substantially changed from what it was only five years ago.
Chinese and Russian leaders won’t always agree, but their deepening cooperation and mistrust of the U.S. is here to stay. Unfortunately, American leaders have shown few signs that they know how to navigate this new reality, let alone manage the competition among great powers as non-Western countries grown in stature.
Washington and Pyongyang will eventually need to resume direct talks. With neither party ready for that yet, at first secret contacts will have to be organized in third countries. In the meantime, de-escalation is the order of the day, and Russia one of its unlikely brokers.
Recent US sanctions against China and Russia are signs of the Trump administration’s toughening approach to North Korea. Ironically, these sanctions come on the heels of a UN Security Council resolution imposing new measures against North Korea that the US, China and Russia voted in favor of.
In order to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missiles programs, the international community has imposed a set of tough economic sanctions. Do they work? And what Moscow thinks about them?
The U.S. State Department’s effort to portray North Korean migrant labor in Russia as slavery is misguided; working abroad is one of the only ways for North Koreans to climb the social ladder and provide their families with a modicum of financial stability.
Should Trump be ready to offer Kim Jong-un US security guarantees for his regime in exchange for limiting North Korea’s missile program so that the US West Coast remains safe from North Korean projectiles, Russia could also offer to host a six-party summit in Vladivostok so close to the two Koreas, as well as China and Japan.
Russia has played it cool in the current North Korea crisis, convinced that the spike in tensions will soon subside. Moscow, however, is under no illusion: The security situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to deteriorate and the next alert is just around the corner.
North Korea has been described as the world’s last Stalinist country. The rhetoric of its officials may indeed be Stalinist, but market forces have played a major role in its economy since at least the late 1990s. The spontaneous growth of free enterprise has been crucial to the North Korean economy’s slow but steady recovery from an external shock.