03 June 2009

North Korea: Here We Go Again - Part II

09broad190As if the 29 April statement from the DPRK Foreign Ministry wasn't provocative enough, comes the latest missive dated 29 May (full statement here):

As long as the UNSC fails to respond to the DPRK's just demand, the DPRK will not recognize any resolution and decision of the UNSC in the future, too.

Third, if the UNSC will make further provocative actions, this will inevitably lead to the DPRK's approach towards adopting stronger self-defensive counter-measures.

The end of the Cold War worldwide works only between big powers, but a Cold War still persists on the Korean Peninsula.

The UNSC-crafted UN Command itself is a signatory to the Korean Armistice Agreement.

Any hostile act by the UNSC immediately means the abrogation of the Armistice Agreement.

The world will soon find out how the army and people of the DPRK will stand up against the high-handed and get-it-alone approach of the UNSC in defending its dignity and sovereignty.

The U.S. is keen on using a catchphrase "Carrot and stick."

It would be better for the "Donkey" of the U.S. Democratic Party to lick the carrot.

Well. What next Alphonse?

Some have said another strong statement from the UNSC would do the trick and if the Russians or Chinese don't join in it won't matter - though in light of the above we are hard-pressed to see how this would work. Others argue that it's time to effect kinetic solutions on the DPRK homeland, to which we respond - 'done a count of tube artillery in the hills outside of Seoul recently?' Clearly those two COAs represent the extremes of the range of operations (assuming 'do nothing' isn't an option). Reflecting some of the rising frustration on this issue, a commenter on another site remarked -"I hear a lot of frustration from pretty much everyone I talk to about this. But what does anyone actually think we should do?" Actually - there is a good bit we can do short of direct, kinetic effects. A couple, for example might be:

1. Step up rigorous enforcement of the Proliferation Security Initiative. Every nK flagged vessel is suspect of carrying materials for their ballistic missile and/or nuke program and hence gets stopped, wherever they are, and searched. Any problems with manifests, logs, etc. and the ship is impounded and the crew interred or sent back to nK, minus the ship.

2. Crack down on the backdoor hard currency exchanges that only serve to keep the leadership elite in power and do nothing to aid the people. We started doing this back in ‘06-07 and it hurt them so much they agreed to come back to the 6-party talks. Do it again and this time keep the pressure up.

And work on regional confidence building measures with our allies in Australia (yes, Australia - look at yesterday's chart and plot out a southerly trajectory to 4,000 nm/7500 km, roughly the same distance to Hawaii and you are in the heart of Australia), South Korea and Japan. Things like strengthening theater and regional defenses to include missile defense, for example.

Because every carrot needs a stick.