Putin’s potential contribution to ending the U.S.-North Korea standoff
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC summit this weekend. Although allegations of his campaign’s collaboration with Russia during last year’s election has made it hard for Mr. Trump to negotiate with the Kremlin, Mr. Putin’s assistance on the North Korea crisis could prove very useful. It would also be in Russia’s interest. The price the U.S. might have to pay in concessions could be high, but a solution where Washington and Russia cooperate to defuse the North Korea crisis is likely.
GIS Dossier: Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Shinzo Abe is not popular, but this consummate political insider has become just the second prime minister in Japan’s history to win three general elections. He managed this feat by skillfully juggling factions in the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, stirring life into Japan’s stagnant economy, and pledging vigorous leadership in the face of a nuclear-armed Korea. Can Mr. Abe turn around a country widely seen to be in irreversible decline?
China’s options for ending North Korea’s nuclear program
If the North Korean regime continues to develop its nuclear strike capabilities, South Korea and Japan may feel compelled to acquire their own weapons of mass destruction, while China will lose its strategic edge in northeast Asia. Beijing has a few options to prevent such a scenario.
North Korea crisis reveals true nature of Russia-China relationship
Many people seem to believe that China and Russia have a close relationship and can work together to solve issues the United States struggles with. But Moscow’s failure to inform Beijing of a U.S. strike in Syria and Russia’s energy exports to North Korea tell a different story.
North Korea beggars and destabilizes Manchuria
China’s northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, known to English speakers as Manchuria, used to be Asia’s industrial powerhouse. These days they are economic laggards because they neighbor North Korea. No one is eager to invest in an area that is under constant threat from weapons of mass destruction.
Scenarios for the stalemate over North Korea
Kim Jong-un continues to provoke the international community, while Beijing and Washington seem powerless to stop the development of North Korea’s nuclear program. The complex web of interests and commitments in the region makes it hard to see a way to defuse the crisis, but it also seems unlikely that Mr. Kim would willingly lead his country down a path that would certainly end his regime.
Kim Jong-un’s potentially fatal strategy
North Korea's military provocations have goaded the U.S. into one of the largest concentrations of naval force since World War II. The move may ratchet up pressure on Kim Jong-un to moderate his behavior, especially if China joins in. But it also brings the world closer to a potentially disastrous nuclear exchange.
North Korea crisis needs low-profile mediation
Though unlikely, a conflict between the United States and North Korea would be disastrous. Some sort of talks to defuse the current crisis are therefore necessary. However, high-profile talks never work, as all sides feel compelled to make a show of strength and take tough stances. Unofficial, low-profile negotiations would work better – and the Vatican could gain the trust of both sides to facilitate such talks.
The Kim Conundrum
Kim Jong-un's recent provocations directed at the new U.S. administration seem to be the work of a dangerously unbalanced madman. But once the geopolitical context is considered, baiting Washington – and Beijing, for that matter – turns out to be canny survival strategy for North Korea's dictator.