Libmonster ID: SE-366
Author(s) of the publication: A. V. VORONTSOV

A. V. VORONTSOV

Candidate of Historical Sciences

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Korean Peninsula, DPRK, ROK, Framework agreement, sanctions

1By the end of 2014, the military-political situation on the Korean peninsula was frozen in a state of instability and anxious expectation. A number of political scientists from various countries, including in the United States, describe it as another dead end in the Korean equation.

The acute military-political crisis that broke out on the Korean peninsula in March-April 2013 seriously alarmed the international community. In the course of this crisis, the DPRK leadership took an uncompromising position, making many formidable statements.

The boundary of the new stage of the crisis was the DPRK's withdrawal from the 1953 Armistice Agreement and the corresponding agreements with the Republic of Korea (ROK), the elimination of the hotline between the military departments of North Korea and the United States, Pyongyang and Seoul, i.e. the elimination of the legal infrastructure and instruments that regulated the state of unstable equilibrium on the Korean peninsula. This was followed by other, purely military steps of the DPRK.

PYONGYANG'S "PEACEFUL OFFENSIVE"

However, in the second half of 2103-early 2014. Pyongyang, unexpectedly for many observers, changed not only the tone, but also the tactical line of foreign policy behavior and switched to a "peaceful offensive" in all azimuths, called by its opponents charm offensive ("propaganda offensive").

Nevertheless, Seoul and Washington try to ignore Pyongyang's softening of its positions and completely deny the Northerners the ability to have good intentions. Both the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States demonstrate their commitment to the policy of "strategic patience", which has recently become a target of criticism from a number of Western political scientists, including American ones.

The leadership of the United States and the Republic of Korea emphasizes full solidarity and unity of their approaches to the DPRK, invariably repeating the tenets voiced during the first presidential term of George W. Bush (200-12005). Then, in 2001, the 1994 Framework Agreement* was buried, and the Korean peninsula plunged into the abyss of another nuclear crisis. Now, as then, there are constant theses: "Pyongyang's bad behavior should not be encouraged", "We will not negotiate just for the sake of negotiations". The formula of those times - CVID (complete verifiable irreversible disarmament) is not directly voiced now, but its essence remains the same: the DPRK must take irreversible steps towards denuclearization in a preliminary and unilateral manner. Only then will negotiations be possible.

According to the authors of the concept of "strategic patience", which the United States called a modern version of the" strategy of deterrence", deepening isolation and tightening sanctions should lead North Korea to collapse or force it to go to nuclear disarmament.

Since 2014, Washington and Seoul have stepped up their policy aimed at "squeezing" North Korea through increased sanctions and isolation, in which they decided to ignore all the initiatives of the Northerners.

And such initiatives have taken place. Thus, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un put forward a number of ideas for establishing an inter-Korean dialogue, including steps that contribute to the formation of an appropriate atmosphere and tone of conversation. Among other things, it provided for the rejection of mutual accusations, called for "closing mutual grievances of the past", starting a new page in bilateral relations, and so on. 2

These ideas were concretized in subsequent messages to the Republic of Kazakhstan from the highest state body - the State Defense Committee (GKO)


* The so-called Framework Agreement signed by the United States and the DPRK in Geneva in October 1994 stipulated that the parties normalize bilateral relations and exchange diplomatic missions; the DPRK returns to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and freezes the operation of plutonium-producing reactors; the United States guarantees the DPRK not to use nuclear weapons, promises to build a light-water reactor in Before it is put into operation, it is planned to supply North Korea with 500 thousand tons of fuel oil annually.

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DPRK: Proposals of January 16, 2014,3 and in an open letter of January 24 of the same year,4

These appeals contained proposals to jointly refrain from unfriendly propaganda activities, refrain from conducting major military maneuvers that pose a threat to stability on the Korean Peninsula, hold a meeting of members of separated families, find opportunities for rapprochement of approaches on the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue, and others, starting from the new Lunar New Year.

Analysts ' particular attention was drawn to the proposal to limit military activity. So, in particular, it was proposed that regular joint exercises of military units of the ROK and the United States should continue to be carried out away from the territory, sea and airspace of the Korean Peninsula.5

However, the ROK leadership interpreted Pyongyang's initiatives as an attempt to lure its opponents into a trap, disguising the preparation of new "military provocations"6. Based on these assessments, ROK President Park Geun-hye, who was on a tour of India during the period under review, ordered the Defense Minister and other security agencies to "increase vigilance and take additional security measures against possible North Korean provocations." 7

This "military-oriented" response was explained by the fact that often after the peaceful initiatives of the Northerners, their aggressive actions allegedly follow. Therefore, it was "necessary" to ignore their peace-loving rhetoric and prepare for the worst. Flying from New Delhi to Bern, during a meeting with the Swiss president, the South Korean leader repeated the traditional thesis that until North Korea eliminates its nuclear potential, Seoul will not believe in the sincerity of its intentions. Park Geun-hye then called on Switzerland and the international community to increase pressure and isolate the DPRK in order to force it to change its domestic and foreign policies.

"Since North Korea cannot change voluntarily," the ROK president said, " we must create an environment in which it will have no other choice but to change its policy." At the same time, the Minister of Unification of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in response to the call to abandon mutual attacks and slander, said that "The South does not slander the North, and it has nothing to refuse"8.

Demonstrating a high degree of coordination and solidarity with South Korean allies, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs D. Russell, speaking in the US Senate in March 2014, almost verbatim repeated the above theses of the head of the Republic of Korea, the essence of which boils down to the demand for the initial unilateral denuclearization of North Korea:

"From year to year, we see a pattern of North Korean provocations that follow a propaganda offensive and are aimed at obtaining payments and concessions from the West. Despite recent offers of cooperation from the DPRK, ... we will not recognize the DPRK as a nuclear State. We will not reward the DPRK for merely agreeing to return to dialogue. " 9

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, North Korean Ambassador to Russia Kim Yong Jae said in this regard, in particular: "No matter how good a book is, it will become useless if you throw it away without even opening it and thinking in advance that there is nothing to read. The South Korean authorities should stop hastily and unreasonably criticizing our proposals for improving relations, which they have not even bothered to study in depth. " 10

Thus, Washington and its allies prefer to ignore Pyongyang's initiatives and continue to rely on a policy of pressure and sanctions, which, in their opinion, should bring North Korea to collapse in the near future.

THE SANCTIONS WERE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

At the same time, a number of reputable American political scientists, who have been studying the situation on the Korean Peninsula for many years, consider this course of Washington to be unpromising.

So, the director of the Nautilus Institute, Peter Hayes, says that the current Western policy towards the DPRK is ineffective. He argues that most of the past sanctions against Pyongyang have been counterproductive. They failed to bring the DPRK closer to collapse, nor to stop its nuclear program. Instead, they pushed Pyongyang to conduct trade through closed channels ,which "clearly contradicts the anti-terrorist goals proclaimed by the international community." 11 Hayes reveals some of the ways that the North can circumvent sanctions. These are the gray schemes of trade transactions carried out in many major international ports, the opportunities of the fishing fleet, the potential of friendly Chinese markets, counterparties, intermediaries, etc.

Currently, the Treasury Department and a number of other US agencies are trying to form an impenetrable cordon designed to completely isolate North Korea from the international financial and banking system. However, many foreign political scientists are convinced of the futility of such a strategy.

According to American experts, the policy of coercion can be successful only when it includes two components: pressure and diplomacy (the notorious "carrot and stick"). The more coercion, the more diplomacy is required. But Washington's politics, they argue, are dominated by coercion and almost entirely devoid of diplomacy.

According to authoritative American experts, contrary to the claims of the Western media, the North Korean regime is internally quite stable. According to their estimates, 30 % of the population are committed supporters

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the current government, 30% - not completely loyal, 30% - apolitical, indifferent. But the main point that representatives of this political school point out is that the negotiating platform that Pyongyang uses to seek dialogue with the United States is actually not so unacceptable. Its main components are as follows:

- End of the state of war on the Korean peninsula;

- mutual declaration of non-hostile intent;

- termination of sanctions;

- legally binding guarantees of non-aggression on the part of nuclear Powers, primarily the United States, which is achievable only within the framework of the treaty on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia (NEA) (P. Hayes is a committed advocate and developer of this idea);

- creation of a multilateral structure consisting of 1-4 NEA regional powers in the form of a treaty of friendship and cooperation in NEA;

- Providing the DPRK with international economic assistance, primarily in the field of energy security;

- nuclear equality, which means the right to maintain a full nuclear cycle, and the construction of light-water reactors (LVR).

According to P. Hayes and some other American analysts, many of these elements could become the subject of discussion, which would help to bring the military-political situation on the Korean Peninsula out of a state of permanent conflict. 12 The main conclusion and appeal of this group of researchers is the need to involve Pyongyang in a dialogue.

However, official Washington, although it seems to understand the abnormality of the situation in which the 1953 armistice agreement is still functioning on the peninsula, is in no hurry to meet the calls of the DPRK and a number of other countries to form a comprehensive peace program. One of the reasons that keeps the White House from correcting this historical anomaly was explained by a senior Washington official, Michael Green. Describing the numerous obstacles that stand in the way of the formation of a regional security system in the NEA, he highlights the following: the signing of a peace treaty between the United States and the DPRK will lead to the end of the state of war. In his opinion, this will automatically mean the end of the sanctions regime against Pyongyang.

However, most of all, Washington is afraid of losing just this key element of its policy in Southeast Asia. After all, if the Western participants in the peace treaty, who refused to apply sanctions against the DPRK when signing the relevant agreements, want to re-impose them in the event of any "wrong" actions by Pyongyang, Russia and China may raise the bar too high for the requirements that allow them to return to the sanctions regime. 13

Therefore, supporters of the current course towards the DPRK, while admitting the possibility of some diplomatic maneuvering around the idea of creating a new peaceful rule of law on the peninsula, are convinced that the sanctions regime should not be weakened under any circumstances. Based on the same logic, they also reject the idea of creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the NEA, since this may weaken the confidence of US allies, primarily Japan and the ROK, in the effectiveness of the American nuclear umbrella and deterrence strategy.

Moreover, those American politicians who advocate increasing pressure on Pyongyang understand that sanctions will become effective only when China is actively involved in their implementation. Therefore, the task of involving Beijing in the strategy of comprehensive isolation of the DPRK is a priority. It is no secret that the harsh reaction of the Chinese leadership to North Korea's third nuclear test in February 2013, which was manifested, among other things, in the tightening of controls on the Sino-North Korean border in the summer of the same year, gave rise to almost euphoria in the West. They were quick to decide that China has finally joined the implementation of the broad interpretation of the sanctions practice professed by the West.

The disappointment became all the more painful when it became clear that there was no fundamental revision of China's approach to the DPRK, 14 and Beijing's highest priority remains not so much the elimination of the Pyongyang nuclear problem as the preservation of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

CONCLUSIONS INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS

After studying the current situation, a group of reputable international experts came to the following conclusions: "The above-mentioned tough steps by Beijing in relation to Pyongyang turned out to be short-term, tactical, easily reversible, but not indicators of a strategic change in policy ... its fundamental geostrategic calculation remained in favor of preserving the regime and maintaining close relations with it. ...Beijing continues to view denuclearization as a long-term goal, which requires taking into account Pyongyang's security concerns, the main responsibility for the existence of which lies with Washington. " 15

Another failed hope of the hardliners in Washington has been attempts to draw parallels between North Korea and Iran. In their opinion, the success of the six-party talks on the Iranian nuclear issue was achieved in 2013-2014 to a decisive extent thanks to the effectiveness of tough economic sanctions. Among them, hopes have increased that sanctions against Pyongyang will also finally work.

However, realistic analysts rightly point out that, firstly, Beijing will never allow the use of sanctions against the DPRK to the extent that they were implemented against Teheran16. Secondly, some progress in resolving the Iranian issue indicates something else -

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that persistent and skilful international diplomacy, rather than sanctions, can bear fruit in resolving nuclear problems that are comparable in complexity to North Korea's. And here you can see a direct reproach of US diplomacy, which in the Korean direction took a time out that was prolonged beyond all reasonable limits.

Recall that the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue were interrupted in 2009 and have not yet resumed, despite Pyongyang's readiness to return to them. The reason is that the United States, Japan and the ROK put forward preconditions to the DPRK that block the resumption of the negotiation process and demonstrate the de facto unwillingness of the West to restore dialogue with Pyongyang.

As a result, many leading American political analysts came to the conclusion in 2014 that the White House's policy line, called "strategic patience", implemented over the past few years, had finally reached an impasse.17 Their analysis, among other things, boils down to the following: sanctions against the DPRK and the policy of deterrence once again did not work. They were not able to fulfill their goals: to stop the progressive development of the DPRK's nuclear program, to undermine its economic viability and internal political stability. Efforts to strengthen the US-Japan-ROK triple military alliance as a key element of North Korea's deterrence are not yielding the desired results, also because relations between Seoul and Tokyo have seriously deteriorated over the past 2-3 years.

It seems that the latest initiatives of Pyongyang, despite the above-mentioned attempts of official Seoul to ignore them, are beginning to bear fruit. Certain segments of South Korea are beginning to show frustration with such an unconstructive line of the South Korean leadership and are increasingly demanding greater flexibility and attention to the DPRK's initiatives. In this regard, Washington became concerned that if the trend towards inter-Korean reconciliation, which does not place the demand for denuclearization to Pyongyang as a precondition, is seriously developed, then a new source of tension will arise in US-South Korean relations.18

Indeed, in February 2014, when the volume of North Korean peace proposals reached a "critical mass", Seoul, although without much enthusiasm, responded to them. Two important events were held in the context of inter-Korean relations: high-level talks between representatives of the North and South (for the first time since 2008) and a meeting of members of separated families (also after a long break). Of course, both events are very significant. Suffice it to recall that the previous attempt to organize a high-level dialogue in February 2012 ended in a fiasco, because at the last moment the meeting was canceled by the South under the pretext of inconsistency, from the point of view of the bureaucratic hierarchy, of the level of the heads of Korean delegations. At that time, a number of observers had the impression that this was not without the direct intervention of the United States, which is not interested in inter-Korean rapprochement, and which accordingly put pressure on the South Korean ally. Now these negotiations have not only taken place, but also yielded some positive results. The parties agreed to continue such contacts.

Organizing a meeting of relatives of the North and South was also not easy. Autumn 2013 Seoul offered to hold it as part of the implementation of the so-called "trust policy", which allows for the restoration of contacts on the humanitarian line. At first, Pyongyang did not support this proposal. The timing of the meeting proposed by the South seemed unrealistically short to the Northerners, which apparently led them to think about the propaganda nature of this step by Seoul.

However, in January-February 2014, the DPRK's position changed. At first, the North Korean side tried to link the meeting of relatives with the cancellation or at least postponement of the annual large-scale US-South Korean maneuvers, which begin at the end of February and always become a heavy test for stability on the Korean peninsula. Then, faced with the refusal of Seoul, Pyongyang offered to organize a meeting before the start of these exercises and, in the end, agreed to hold them virtually in parallel with the start of the maneuvers. Thus, for the first time in the history of inter-Korean relations, members of separated families met during military exercises. At the same time, the North claimed that by such flexibility they demonstrate their good will, willingness to compromise, confirming the seriousness of their attitude to improving relations with South Korea.

Positive developments in this area include the visits of a group of South Korean businessmen represented by representatives of leading companies: Hyundai, the metallurgical giant Posco and the railway company Korail to the North Korean port of Rajin, where the Russian-North Korean joint venture RasonKonTrans is successfully operating, which has completed the construction of a railway from the Russian-North Korean border to Rajin Port and reconstruction of one of its piers.

It is noteworthy that the South's visit to the North was carried out in the context of a law adopted by the previous South Korean administration of President Lee Myung-bak, which categorically prohibited any trade and economic cooperation with the North. Regarding this unprecedented trip of Southerners to the North, the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea issued a special comment explaining that the contact that took place is not a repeal of the Lee Myung-bak law, but an exception to it. Be that as it may, the Rajin meeting proved fruitful, and this area of inter-Korean cooperation gained prospects for development.

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RUSSIA'S CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE

In this regard, it is impossible not to emphasize the important constructive role of Russia in facilitating the establishment of a dialogue between North and South Korea. During the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Republic of Kazakhstan in November 2013, memoranda of intent were signed between the above-mentioned flagships of South Korean business to join the activities of the Russian-North Korean joint venture in Rajin, aimed at turning this point into a powerful intermodal transshipment hub, a kind of "Rotterdam in East Asia" 19. not only has it been continued, but it also has good prospects for further development.

At the same time, it is obvious that serious progress in inter-Korean relations is possible only in the conditions of normalization of military and political problems on the peninsula. In the same area, the situation is still difficult. Taking into account the positive inter-Korean contacts in February 2014 Seoul promised to slightly reduce the scale of the exercises that year and refrain from using the main irritants of the DPRK - carriers of US nuclear weapons, strategic bombers and nuclear submarines.

However, the reality was different. According to the scenario of these supposedly defensive maneuvers, the landing of US and ROK Marines on the east coast of North Korea, the march on Pyongyang, its assault and capture (Ssaneng-double Dragon exercises) were practiced. Contrary to promises, the scale of the maneuvers turned out to be the largest since 1993,20 and the mentioned strategic carriers of US nuclear weapons were involved. Such a course of events has caused serious concern and a negative reaction from Pyongyang.

Having made sure that the military exercises of the opponents are not unfolding according to a shortened scheme, the DPRK also began to take steps designed to fend off possible threats arising from a large group of armed forces deployed south of the demilitarized zone. On the east coast (apparently not by chance - after all, there, according to military scenarios, an American-South Korean landing force is supposed to land), a series of firings was conducted towards the Sea of Japan, first from multiple launch rocket systems of various calibers, and then the launch of short-and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Since the testing of any ballistic missiles by Pyongyang is prohibited by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, a meeting of the UN Security Council was urgently convened, which condemned the launch of Nodong missiles. 21 Moreover, the Pentagon used this fact as a pretext for deploying additional global and regional Aegis missile defense systems around Korea, in Japan. ships 22.

Representatives of the DPRK gave the following assessment of such tactics and actions of their opponents: "The United States declares that these joint military exercises, which are held in a foreign country and are aimed at "capturing Pyongyang", are "defensive" and "regular". And the exercises that our army conducts on its territory are groundlessly branded by the United States as "provocations". No one will understand this logic of theirs. " 23

As a result of the above-mentioned steps and counter-actions of both sides, the situation in April 2014 again began to develop in an unfavorable direction. Of course, the parameters of the aggravation of the military-political situation have not reached the dramatic level of 2013, but the corresponding trend has become clear. As one of the most alarming symptoms, we should assess the fact of the exchange of artillery volleys in the disputed water area in the area of the northern dividing line in the Yellow Sea. The Northerners, having previously warned the southerners, conducted their own firing (500 shots). The ROK, after some of these shells landed in waters that both Koreas consider their own, fired 300 shells in response.

Apparently, the hopes that had appeared for a quick resumption of constructive inter-Korean dialogue were not fulfilled. Immediately after the end of the two aforementioned maneuvers, Washington and Seoul launched a new, unprecedented scale, Air Force exercise "Maximum Thunder" using more than a hundred aircraft of various classes. One can't help but get the impression that the United States is deliberately provoking Pyongyang to react sharply in the military-political sphere, which will lead to a further aggravation of the situation on the peninsula and narrow the window of opportunity for dialogue between the North and the South.

The display of military muscle by the US-South Korean allies has become so threatening that the Russian Foreign Ministry considered it necessary to point out in its speeches on March 31 and April 10, 2014, that these actions are becoming the main source of destabilization of the situation on the Korean peninsula. In a statement issued by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry in connection with the US-South Korean air exercises (10.04.2014), in particular, it says: "It is impossible not to see that the periodic aggravation of the situation in the region coincides with the annual large-scale military exercises of the United States and the Republic of Korea.

We have repeatedly drawn attention to the inadmissibility of excessive military activity in North-East Asia, especially the appearance of such provocative elements as training bombing using strategic bombers, practicing amphibious operations to capture certain "administrative centers" of foreign states, etc. " 24 And further: "The tendency for the United States and the Republic of Korea to increase joint military activity on the Korean Peninsula cannot but cause concern, especially in conditions when the signs of easing tensions that were outlined there are being replaced by mutual tightening of rhetoric and increased confrontation. Large-scale maneuvers of the "Foul Eagle", as Seoul and Washington are starting, have not yet been completed

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new military air exercises, which reportedly involve a record number of aircraft ... " 25

It is difficult to say in which of the two directions - confrontational or dialogical-the military-political situation on the Korean Peninsula will develop in the near future. The prerequisites for resuming a constructive dialogue between North and South Korea remain. But only on the condition that Pyongyang maintains its composure and does not succumb to the challenges that it currently faces. In particular, to refrain from conducting regular nuclear missile tests, the possibility of which, as a response, was indicated in the relevant statements of the DPRK leadership. In this case, the chances of consolidating a positive component in inter-Korean relations will increase.

At the same time, it is impossible not to see that the totality of conflict factors in the overall Korean military-political equation has recently been growing. It is important to understand how long-term and emerging trends are perceived and analyzed in Pyongyang. The author's recent exchange of views with North Korean officials provides the following picture.

Pyongyang believes that the US-South Korean side has completely ignored the latest peace initiatives of the DPRK, put forward in January-February 2014 and aimed at improving inter-Korean relations; it has chosen the path of escalating tensions, primarily by conducting an ongoing series of large-scale military maneuvers (four in recent months, carried out on land, sea and in airspace)..

From the point of view of the North Korean leadership, attempts to present the exercises "Key Rizolvz" and "Foul Eagle" as purely defensive and do not pose a threat to the security of the DPRK, due to the fact that they are held regularly and accompanied by a preliminary notification, do not stand up to any criticism.

It was also emphasized that the above-mentioned US-South Korean maneuvers were the largest in recent years, and within the framework of their scenarios, operations to capture Pyongyang were practiced. In these circumstances, the North Koreans think that the arguments about their defensive nature are particularly cynical.

Analyzing the general international situation, Pyongyang draws parallels between the situations in Korea and Ukraine. In both cases, according to North Korean analysts, the main elements of the universal US policy are revealed: interference in the internal affairs of other states; ignoring the will of peoples; forcibly overthrowing legitimately elected governments; implementing a policy of double standards; biased consideration of relevant issues in the UN.

Pyongyang is under no illusions about the possibility of rapid progress through negotiations. But at the same time, they emphasize that they leave the door open for any kind of dialogue - both bilateral and multilateral. In June 2014, for example, the dialogue between the DPRK and Japan resumed in an encouraging manner.

The development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula in the second half of 2014, in our opinion, confirmed the development of two political lines (some representatives of political science circles may note that at the moment-tactical). But, in our opinion, Pyongyang continued to search for new approaches to dialogue with the South. At the same time, the Northerners once again showed the ability to implement creative, non-standard steps.

The first such step was the unexpected sending of a large delegation of athletes from the North to the International Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, which was very successful.

Then, on October 3, 2014, the closing ceremony of the above-mentioned international Asian Games in Incheon, as always, is unexpectedly attended by the "most" top officials of the DPRK: first Deputy Chairman of the State Defense Committee of the DPRK Hwang Byung-so, Secretary of the Central Committee of the WPK and predecessor until recently in this post of this figure Choi Ryong-hwe and the main person responsible for relations with South Korea Korea, - Kim Yang Gon 26. They arrive in Incheon on the personal plane of leader Kim Jong-un and with his personal security. It is obvious that this was not just a protocol visit, full of a political component, but was specifically sanctioned by Kim Jong-un, who at that time, due to problems with a leg disease, many South Korean and Western media hurried to almost "write off" as the current leader of the state.

In the current political environment, Pyongyang could hardly have given a stronger signal of readiness to resume meaningful inter-Korean dialogue.

What did you end up with today? Unfortunately, in our opinion, this is a continuation of the political game, the main contours and motives of which have already been described earlier.

Yes, such an unconventional approach on the part of Pyongyang could not be ignored. Moreover, Seoul, having made a proposal to resume high-level political negotiations on August 11, 2014, a day before the start of the next US-South Korean military maneuvers, could naturally expect any more or less constructive reaction from the North only after the end of these military games at the end of August.

The North Korean Troika's" push " to the South has raised high expectations. He raised numerous questions for Seoul, including, according to some observers, the prospect of an inter-Korean summit.

Yes, the world froze in anticipation of, if not a breakthrough, then a concrete positive shift in inter-Korean relations.

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But what do researchers see today? Unfortunately, this is a continuation of the familiar prolonged, but not productive political game. The North, represented by the supreme body, the State Defense Committee, sent a statement to Seoul that it was impossible to hold the meeting previously scheduled for October 29, 2014, because balloons filled with anti-North Korean propaganda materials continue to be launched from the South to the North, even on the eve of this important meeting. 27

This is not a new topic for analysts. Within a few years (after the Lee Myung-bak administration came to power in Seoul), this practice became commonplace. All the protests and warnings of Pyongyang have traditionally been ignored by the ROK authorities under the pretext that the ROK is a democratic state, and democratic norms do not allow to stop the actions of non-governmental organizations. At the same time, however, many local and foreign observers are somewhat surprised that the rights of the population of the border areas of South Korea (for example, in Paju), whose representatives are very strongly protesting against the actions of anti-North Korean groups launching their "balloons" from their territory and thereby creating real discomfort and even insecurity for their residence, remain without the proper attention of the official Seoul.

In trying to answer this question, it makes sense to explore its various dimensions. But, apparently, the main thing should be recognized that since Washington has not yet changed the paradigm aimed at regime change in the DPRK at any cost as soon as possible, the fairway for improving inter-Korean relations will remain quite narrow. But here the last word is only for the Koreans themselves!

* * *

In general, taking into account the historical experience of the two previous US administrations, when during the two "most" recent years in power, they made a sharp turn towards active dialogue and" involvement " of North Korea, we cannot exclude new metamorphoses in the approach of the White House. Therefore, in the end, we can conclude that the situation on the Korean Peninsula, from the point of view of the diplomatic perspective, while remaining uncertain and alarming, is not hopeless.


Sigal Leon V. 1 A Nuclear North Korea vs. a Strategically Patient U.S.: Who Wins? // The National Interest magazine. April 24, 2014 http://nationalinterest.org/feature/nuclear-nortri-korea-vs-strategicallypatient-us-who-wins-10 301?page=2

2 Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un's New Year Address, 01.01.2014 http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm

3 NDC of DPRK Advances Crucial Proposals to S. Korean Authorities, 16.01.2014 - http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm

4 NDC of DPRK Sends Open Letter to South Korean Side, 24.01.2014 - http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm

5 Press release of the DPRK Embassy in Russia, 17.01.2014 http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm

6 The South treats the words of the North with distrust, 03.01.2014 http://www.dprk.ru/news/1401/01.html

7 President Park Orders Airtight Security Posture against N.Korea http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2014/01/22/28/04010000 00AEN20140122005600325F.html

8 President Park Says North Korea Must Be Forced to Change http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2014/01/22/28/04010000 00AEN200140122005600325F.html; SK, Switzerland to Work for Change in North, 21.01.2014 - http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?num=11403&cataId=nk00100

9 Opportunities and Challenges in the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-Republic of Korea Alliances // Testimony, Daniel R. Russel, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Washington, DC, March 4, 2014 - http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2014/03/222903.htm

10 Speech of the Ambassador of the DPRK at the press conference (2.4.2014) / / Press release of the Embassy of the DPRK in the Russian Federation, 04.02.2014.

Hayes Peter. 11 Coping with North Korean Nuclear Quagmire - What Options are Available: Remarks at Jeju Forum Panel. May 30, 2013 www.nautilus.org

12 Ibidem.

Green Michael. 13 A Northeast Asian Regional Security Framework: Does it Work? May 21, 2013 - http://nautilus.org/projects/byname/korea-japan-nwfz/workshops/gridlock/#axzz2T5bPlt8$

Scott A. Snyder. 14 Despite North Korean Political Risks, Sino-DPRK Trade Shows Stable Growth. March 26, 2014 http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2014/03/26/despite-north-korean-politicalrisks-sino-dprk-trade-shows -stable-growth/?cid-nlc-korea-korea_update_april_2014-link4-20140331&sp_mid=45501894 &sp_rid-dm9yb250c292YXZAeWFuZGV4LnJ1S0

15 Fire on the City Gate: Why China Keeps North Korea Close // Asia Report. N 254, December 9, 2013 - http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/north-east-asia/china/254-fire-on-the-city-gate-wh ychina-keeps-north-korea-close.aspx

Scott A. Snyder. 16 Kerry and the Diplomatic Dead End With North Korea, 19.02.2014 - http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2014/02/19/kerry-and-thediplomatic-dead-end-with-north-korea/?cid= nlc-korea-koreaupdateHnk2-20140304&sp_mid=45265051&sp_rid=dm9yb250c292YXZAe WFuZGV4LnJ1S0

17 Ibidem.

18 Ibid.

Aidan Foster-Carter. 19 North Korea's Rajin as Rotterdam? A Little Less Crazy Now // The Wall Street Journal. February 10, 2014 http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2014/02/10/north-koreas-rajin-asrotterdam-a-little-less-cra zy-now

20 North Korean Foreign Ministry statement, March 30, 2014 Press release of the DPRK Embassy in Russia.

21 UN Security Council condemns Pyongyang for missile launches, 28.03.2014 http://www.dprk.ru/news/1401/21.html

22 U.S. to Boost Missile Defenses in Japan against North Korean threat - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-06/u-s-to-boostmissile-defenses-in-japan-against-n -korean-threat.html

23 Comment of the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, March 28, 2014. / / Press release of the Embassy of the DPRK in the Russian Federation.

24 Comment of the Russian Foreign Ministry's diplomatic mission on the development of the situation around the Korean Peninsula, 31.03.2014 http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/newsline/20F81A396349C2D844257CAC0045Е217

25 Comment of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Mission on the US-South Korean air exercise, 10.04.2014 http://mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/newsline/79A59A2223279C4E44257CB60049BDB6

26 http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/north-korea-speace-offensive-at-the-asian-gam es-by-katharine-h-s-moon-2014-10

27 N.Korea rejects S.Korea's offer of high-level talks // North Korea Newsletter 336 (30.10.2014) - http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2014/10/29/79/0401000000AEN2014102900830 0325F.html


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