Tuesday, July 7, 2009

North Korea, Koreas Update

On the North Korean front:

Nothing exciting to speak of as North Korea really is running out of things to do, firing missiles on July 4th has been done before and no missile came close to Hawaii. Kangnam I safely returned back to North Korea. But, what has recently begun appearing on the news is if the North Korean succession story is for real or just to grab Hillary Clinton’s (United States) attention. More on this later.

South Korea – Japan held a summit. Of course, nothing came of it since still the dominant relationships in East Asia are still the bilateral relationships with the United States. Of course, what should be interesting for Korean nationalists, whose national psyche or “han” has not fully healed yet, is how they react to the trilateral meeting between the United States-China-Japan that will be held shortly. Previous overtures by China on such a meeting were declined on the part of the United States to assuage South Korean insecurities. However, with the financial crisis the United States consented this time.

With this in mind, South Korea’s foreign policy priority number one should still solely be on unification and nothing else. Ideas such as being a neutral or balancing party (former South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun) or of building closer ties with ASEAN (South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s New Asia Initiative) might seem great, but it’s just fanciful(wishful) thinking on the part of a confused half nation. This has been a repeated theme in this blog. Zhiqun Zhu writes:

“Korea's dream to become a leading player in international affairs will also likely be wishful thinking if the nation remains divided. Nevertheless, Lee, just like Roh, is commendable for his attempts to enhance South Korea's international profile and to contribute to peace and development in Asia” (South Korea in a new Asia initiative Asia Times).

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