US Faces Exclusion from the Korean, Silk Road Dynamic

By Bodansky, Yossef | Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, January 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

US Faces Exclusion from the Korean, Silk Road Dynamic


Bodansky, Yossef, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy


There was, by mid-August 20i8, a growing consensus between the governments of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK: North Korea), the Republic of Korea (ROK: South Korea), and the Russian Federation to effectively sideline the United States from the transforming dynamic of the Korean Peninsula strategic theater.

ROK Pres. Moon Jae-In seized the initiative to consolidate a new regional order embracing Pyongyang while Washington was relegated to the rôle of an increasingly irrelevant irritant. Both Beijing and Moscow committed to shielding Seoul and Pyongyang from possible retribution by Washington.

The Government of the ROK had concluded by June or July 2018 that there was no alternative to a breakout from the US domination of the regional dynamic surrounding the Korean Pen ¡ nsula, and decided to attempt it. Seoul was ready to shoulder the financial burden of seeing through this breakout.

Seoul's decision was the result of sophisticated entice - ment and prompting by Pyongyang, while it saw the growing irrelevance of Washington to the dynamic underway. Meanwhile, Pyongyang continued to demonstrate knowledge as to how to appeal to Seoul and reinforce Pres. Moon's commitment. Both Beijing and Moscow have, not surprisingly, cheered Pres. Moon's initiative.

Al though Pyongyang launched its init iative to win over Pres. Moon Jae-In's Seoul in mid-June 2018, the region-wide disappointment with the US posture on the Korean Peninsula did not burst into the open until early August 2018.

Having failed to move the US into some flexibility, and recognizing the long-declared positions of the DPRK, Pyongyang publicly expressed its displeasure and disappointment on August 9, 2018. The entire North Korean media carried a lengthy "Press Statement of Spokesperson for DPRK Foreign Ministry" accusing the US of reneging on the commitments and understanding reached in Singapore.

The statement stressed that while the DPRK started unilateral acts of denuclearization, the US did not undertake reciprocal measures either in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, or in lifting some of the sanctions. Instead, the US only kept demanding that the DPRK undertake additional unilateral measures. Even when North Korean leaders protested the lack of rec ¡proc i ty, "the US insisted on its uni ¡ateral demand of 'denuclearization first' at the first DPRK-US high-level talks held in Pyongyang in early July [2018]". Neverthe i ess, the DPRK fulfilled its promise to repatriate to the US Korean War era US POW/MIA remains.

However, the US and its allies only kept imposing additional sanctions on the DPRK and its friends. Worse, the US was now pressuring friendly countries "not to send high-level delegations to the celebrations of the 70th founding anniversary of the DPRK". This was perceived as an unpardonable insult to the entire Kim dynasty, both the dead and the living.

Pyongyang noted: "Expecting any result, while insulting the dialogue partner and throwing cold water over our sincere efforts for building confidence which can be seen as a precondition for implementing the DPRK-US joint statement, is indeed a foolish act that amounts to waiting to see a boiled egg hatch out." The statement warned of potentially far reaching and adverse consequences of the US policy.

"As long as the US denies even the basic decorum for its dialogue partner and clings to the outdated acting script which the previous administrations have all tried and failed, one cannot expect any progress in the implementation of the DPRK-US joint statement including the denuclearization, and furthermore, there is no guarant ee that the hard-won atmosphere of stability on the Korean Peninsula will continue."

Still, Pyongyang did not close the door completely. "We remain unchanged in our will to uphold the intentions of the top leaders of the DPRK and the US and to build trust and implement in good faith the DPRK-US joint statement step by step. …

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