Because diplomatic relations between the two Koreas are plummeting. The deepening of Pierfrancesco Moscuzza, researcher at the University of Suwon, in South Korea, taken from International Affairs
Diplomatic relations between the two Koreas have plummeted again, despite the progress made in the peace process over the past two years. The decision to return to a confrontation position was made unilaterally by Pyongyang .
THE REASONS FOR TENSIONS
The official motivation blames the South Korean government, guilty of not stopping the provocations put in place by NGOs opposed to the North Korean regime that act on the border of the 38th parallel. For its part, the NGO Fighters for a Free North Korea confirmed that it had sent propaganda material, money and basic necessities across the border by means of small air balloons.
Accusations and counter-accusations
The incidents were interpreted by Pyongyang as a military-type provocation which responded with the threat of retaliation against Seoul . The aforementioned statement was made by Kim Yo-jong, the sister of supreme leader Kim Jong-un, again causing a wave of speculation about the real health of the head of state.
WHAT NORTH KOREA HAS DECIDED
In addition, North Korea has suspended all communications with the South Korean counterpart. Seoul's Ministry of Defense said North Korea has stopped answering calls on the direct telephone line established in 2018.
The rapid deterioration of diplomatic relations between Seoul and Pyongyang has dealt a severe blow to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who since the beginning of his mandate has focused much of his political capital on the peace and denuclearization process of the Korean peninsula. In addition, the explosion of new Covid-19 outbreaks in the capital Seoul has put further pressure on the government.
PRESSURES ON THE USA
The escalation of tensions initiated by Pyongyang is part of a strategy aimed at obtaining concessions quickly from Washington and Seoul. With this political move, North Korea is attempting to put pressure on the South Korean neighbor without causing extreme reactions from the United States, in the hope that this will serve to obtain a reduction in UN sanctions followed by an increase in bilateral cooperation that the end would translate into concrete help to its collapsing economic system.
This posture confirms the hypothesis that the Covid-19 pandemic caused serious damage to the North Korean regime, already weakened by the sanctions imposed by the international community in 2006 for developing the nuclear weapons program underlying the negotiation with the United States and its counterpart South Korean.
Although Pyongyang continues to deny having been affected by Covid-19, there are data confirming the outbreak of major outbreaks of infection in areas bordering China. This information was corroborated by the closure of the border between the two countries which represents the most important commercial corridor for North Korea and its primary source for the supply of basic necessities. According to official Chinese customs agency statistics, between January and February, when the pandemic was at its peak, trade between China and North Korea contracted by 24%.
THE ROLE USA
The North Korean government's latest move was made on Tuesday 16 June at 14:49 local time with the destruction of the inter-Korean relations office in the border town of Kaesong.
The official justification was to want to remilitarize the area to protect North Korean territory from the illegitimate intrusions of the past few days. The alternative reading is that Pyongyang is taking advantage of the American absence to gain advantages in the field and possibly expand its nuclear arsenal. If the United States does not return decisively to the negotiating table, the situation is destined to worsen by putting South Korea in a minority position, which could eventually push it progressively under the hegemonic aegis of Beijing.
(Excerpt from an article published in International Affairs; here the full version )
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/che-cosa-succede-davvero-tra-le-2-coree/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=che-cosa-succede-davvero-tra-le-2-coree on Wed, 17 Jun 2020 08:25:54 +0000.