Despite Russia’s limited toolkit, growing alignment with China, and its broken relationship with the U.S., Moscow will not be written off by Washington and its allies when it comes to the diplomatic process on North Korea.
The Carnegie Moscow Center organized a discussion on northeast Asia security issues.
North Korea’s statements of its intention to abandon nuclear weapons should not be taken too seriously: the country considers them to be the most important guarantee of the regime’s preservation. For now, North Korean nuclear weapons play a primarily defensive role, but it cannot be ruled out that in the future the nuclear program will also be used for offensive purposes. In addition, their existence increases the risk of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in East Asia.
The summit of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore brought the Korean peninsula closer to peace, but it was more about symbolism than substance. Its most important outcome is to bring North Korea out of diplomatic isolation—something that is welcome to both China and Russia.
Carnegie Moscow Center and the Korea Foundation organized a seminar on the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, and relations between the United States, Russia, China, and the ROK.
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.