Thursday, January 22, 2015

North Korea’s Kim's 'crime' is Putin, not Sony

A couple days ago I was interviewed by The Real News" on the current round of sanctions against North Korea.

I talked about a few things that I've covered in China Matters and on my twitter feed, not all of which made it into the report: the whiff of bogosity in the North Korean attribution in the Sony hacking case, and the apparent need for a rapid-response, evidence-be-damned attribution process in the case of cybercrimes.

I speculate that a more immediate explanation for the quick sanctions slapdown was that Kim Jung Un had compounded his diplomatic crime of trying to split and circumvent the Six Party Talks united front through unilateral outreach by dealing with the Monster of the Century (actually
monster of three weeks ago and I expect soon to resume the crown) Vladimir Putin.

Kim's first overseas trip as head of state will be Russia, not the PRC, and I unpack the historically fraught and unfriendly relationship between the DPRK & PRC and the shift of the center of PRC-Korea economic and strategic gravity to the southern half of the peninsula.

The PRC and the US, in fact, have a joint interest using the Six Party Talks to neutralize independent North Korean diplomacy and keep the initiative out of the hands of the DPRK and, for that matter, South Korea, Japan, and the Russian Federation.

The PRC, I think, wants to maintain North Korea as an impotent buffer state under its thumb, and the United States wants to quarantine North Korea as a nettlesome nuclear power (and, perhaps, an important non-Chinese justification for the enormous US's North Asia military presence). Neither superpower, in other words, places a high priority on seeing North Korean diplomacy evolve beyond the current futility. More …

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US foreign policy. His articles can be found on his blog site ChinaMatters

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