Brief #46—Foreign Policy
The International Atomic Energy Agency, an intergovernmental forum which reports to the UN, has reported a lack of progress in the denuclearization of North Korea. The “continuation and further development” of nuclear facilities are “cause for grave concern”, assessed the organization. This contradicts the statement made by the President following his June summit with Kim Jong-un, declaring that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea”. On August 24th, Pompeo announced plans to visit North Korea, only for Trump to nix the plans the next day. “Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our trading relationship with China is resolved”, the President tweeted. The Korea Times, a South Korean newspaper, reported that sources had informed them that North Korea planned to hand over a list of secret nuclear test sites as well as information about its nuclear warheads, information long sought by the US State Department.
While the relationship between the US and North Korea has stalled, South Korea has forged ahead. President Moon and Chairman Kim’s April meeting has resulted in a series of family reunification meetings, allowing 174 North and South Koreans, chosen by lottery, to meet with relatives they have not seen since the Korean War of the early 1950’s. An inter-Korean liaison office is set to open this week, and South Korea is reportedly considering removing North Korea from their official list of enemies. This Wednesday, President Moon will be sending envoys to Pyongyang to discuss plans for a future summit between the two leaders. South Korea’s continued pursuance of peace despite lack of concrete denuclearization milestones has led to tension with the US, further indicated by the US led United Nations Command vetoing required inspections of a prospective inter-Korean railway.
North Korea’s lack of current commitment to denuclearization is not an indication of a lack of desire for peace. A formal end to the Korean War has been a top priority goal for Kim for a while. Meanwhile the US continues to beat the war drums. Last week, Secretary of Defense Mattis threatened military drills on the Korean border, a hot point of contention for decades, stating “We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit. We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises”. Besides the constant mixed messages from US leadership, Trump’s cancellation of the Iran deal proves that US led peace deals are little more than fragile, temporary assurances. Until the Trump administration and US military and diplomatic leadership embrace an authentic strategy of pursuing peace, we will be caught in this this tense game until war is unavoidable.
- Women Cross DMZ: Women Cross DMZ is a coalition of activists from around the world, including both North and South Korea, who are calling for a peaceful solution to the Korean conflict.
- Beyond the Bomb – An activist group looking to reduce the danger of nuclear war around the world.
This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Foreign Policy Analyst Colin Shanley; Contact Colin@usresustnews.org