Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
Warming on the Korean Peninsula: assessment of interests
Material posted: Publication date: 16-11-2018

This year was marked by very unusual for a simple layman events, accustomed to see North Korea's militaristic government with a low level of political culture, which tends to a constant threat to the world community.

In may of 2017-elect (from the Joint of the Democratic Party) the President of the moon Cain promised to return the policy "solar heat" which was practiced in the early 2000s [1]. This statement was an indication of rearrangements in the government of South Korea that occurred on the background of the ouster of former ROK President Pak Kanhe --and the beginning of the trial of her predecessor, Lee Menachem, who was charged with corruption [2]. Public administration also underwent changes, so the Prime Minister Hwang Gean previously involved in the ban the United Progressive Party, was substituted loyal to the new government Whether Namjenom.

With high probability the court on the two presidents, from very conservative saenuri party was not only to give effect to the relevant provisions of the criminal code, but also to demonstrate the change in foreign policy direction of South Korea. During the Board Whether Menaka and Pak Kynge the government has consistently strengthened international and military ties with the United States, at the same time engaging in confrontation with the DPRK. This moment shows that the South Korean government, part of whose government has undergone drastic changes, seeks to establish relations with its Northern neighbor and install a balance in relations with the United States.

The Korean Peninsula is geopolitically a very comfortable place to influence the policies of major powers nearby, together with access to the sea and abundant natural resources. Historically, the United Korean state, caught in a cultural, religious and political dependence on China, could not develop to the extent of the Empire [3]. Being constantly forced to wage war for the preservation of independence and to strive for balance in relations with the various dynasties of China, Mongolia, and other opponents, the Korean government also did not have the necessary technical capacity by the early nineteenth century. This led to the fact that the territory of the Peninsula was considered by the major powers, in terms of expanding its influence in the far East and the Pacific Ocean. Long Japanese occupation and the subsequent installation of the occupation zones of the USA and the Soviet Union hampered the development of forces in the country, seeking to conduct an independent "procuracy" policy, despite the fact that they existed [4].

On the territory of the DPRK due to the political struggle, the power was in the hands of the leadership of the workers ' Party of Korea under the control of the Kim family [5]. Despite its strong connection with the Soviet Union and China, was initiated articulation of geopolitical interests of Korea, expressed in the creation of a unified and independent nation [6]. Informal occasion of the announcement of the Korean war 26 June 1950 is considered to be just the same desire to unite the Peninsula into one state. With the collapse of the socialist bloc and the cessation of financial and technical assistance, North Korea has devoted considerable attention to issues of national security while maintaining the composition of the political elite, which resulted in work on nuclear weapons and the strict limits of cultural penetration in the country. Fear of the North Korean leadership due to American policies of "monopolizatsii" a world in which some States have been victims of "democratic intervention" [7]. It can be stated that until mid-2010, the main geopolitical interest in North Korea was the preservation of its statehood and integrity of the ruling class.

However, some time after the death of Kim Jong-Il, the founder and father of the policy of military primacy, the Songun in the DPRK has developed a new political-economic vector, aimed at improving production capacity, increased industrial capacity and the improvement of the material situation of citizens [8]. At the same time ever to end the development of nuclear warheads and Intercontinental ballistic missiles, which was reflected in a number of relevant tests [9] and the introduction of sanctions by the UN. Many researchers note the actual growth of the economy of North Korea, which the head of state, Kim Jong-UN gets priority [10]. For example, in 2014 only 16% of the budget had to go on defense spending [11], and the budget is experiencing a constant growth [12] to this day. Translation of the farm in a peaceful position, the holding of semi-market reform and economic development can give confidence to the leadership of the DPRK in the country opportunities for further development, including geopolitical. Such interest may be normalization of relations in the US first and foremost with South Korea that would allow further economic cooperation and to remove the sanctions, which in turn would strengthen the power of the North Korean state.

Despite the surprise to the citizens of many countries of the event – meeting of leaders of the "sworn" enemies, the DPRK and the U.S. and peaceful meeting of the leaders of the two Koreas with the famous summit 27 April [13], it remains very clear that the American elite, if not lead, then strongly influence the processes occurring on the Korean Peninsula. Otherwise would have been lost as a military base to contain Chinese and Russian influence, and favorable market and import of both material and cultural goods. Deprivation of the current U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula would result in the loss of strategically important directions of development and influence, as well as the possibility of using ground troops without their special landing that would have a crucial role in probable conflicts involving China, the DPRK and the United States.

During the reign of Obama the rate of solution of the problem of maintaining influence was put on the aggressive rhetoric of President Park relative to Pyongyang that confirmed the unresolved issue of North – and the need to "protect" American parts. The us government for running the course was provided financial and military support of South Korea, exerting informal pressure on the decision-making within the presidential Cabinet. Now a new, "public peace" course of action Donald trump against the DPRK are hardly talking about the pacifist intentions of the American President. In the Wake of the statements about reducing costly international engagement of the U.S. in many programs, the desire to engage with the DPRK directly, without the support of Seoul, is more likely to talk about mistrust to trump the current South Korean Cabinet moon, who has repeatedly expressed the desire to pursue an independent policy, "without exposure to outside influence" [14]. Estimated trump's desire to gain influence as a President-umirotvorenie, able to solve difficult problems "in the national security interests of the United States," also looks quite logical.

However, very interesting is the position of the Republic of Korea and in particular its citizens. Despite the President's statement, within the state there isn't total unanimity on these issues. It is noteworthy that according to the state polls January 2018, 71.2 percent of young people voted against the establishment of close ties with the North [15]. It should also be noted that the party "Senuri" (now "Freedom Party"), which is considered conservative, in the parliamentary elections in 2016 with a small shortfall scored 105 votes in contrast to the 110 party moon Jaina, which indicates its major influence among the masses. Great importance for the understanding of this issue is the study of the worldview of the South Koreans. A significant portion of the Mature population has grown in the atmosphere of the struggle with the authoritarian regime of Pak Conchi why inherited social democratic values and the peaceful pursuit of unification, the former one of the slogans of the then student assemblies. The modern generation mostly grew up under the serious impact of mass culture and the familiarity of a nation that is bifurcated – "developed" and "Northern" part, and the United States is a "promoter of democracy". Japan while not being a US ally, does not show a pronounced interest in control over the region.

In view of the above it is appropriate to assume that the difference in the views of ordinary citizens of Korea and correlated with the mood of the elite. Part of her seeks to preserve the current relationships with the United States, receiving different kinds of support and maintaining its role as the only "right" of the Korean government. The other part with a high probability seeks to pursue a relatively independent policy of peace and cooperation with the DPRK. Of course, in the conduct of particular economic interest is pursued. The voltage of the country in a permanent state of war gives legitimacy rigid domestic and foreign policy "conservative" lines, in the presence of large defence orders and maintaining system stability "chaebol" - the system of clan ownership of the largest corporations in the country. When conducting a "new" course calculation is done to reduce the financial influence of the United States within the Peninsula and ....

It is also not incorrect to assume that the geopolitical interests of the "new" line, is if not the unification of Korea, close cooperation with the North, which has copious amounts of minerals, low-paid labor force, and the border with Russia, making possible the construction of the pipeline relative cheap fuel. "Conservatives", having a similar economic desires, wanting to implement them, inevitably met, first, the consequences of the armed conflict with the nuclear forces of the DPRK, and secondly to protest from the United States, for which the emergence of a strong independent Korea is extremely unprofitable. Along with this may be noted and likely shared between the two "courses": the lack of mutual respect and the desire to unite North and South Korea at the state level (as a government, the more affluent southern part would have at least to spend huge sums on the equalization of living standards) [16] and confrontation with China. The latter is reflected in politics Pak Kynge and moon Jaina [17].

Opposition to the Korean elite to the actions of China in the DPRK has a well-founded character: the current North Korean economy is dependent on its Western neighbor, which is the main consumer of coal, is the main exports of Pyongyang. Only in August 2017 to bypass the sanctions have sold more than 1.6 million tons of coal [18]. In addition, quite a likely interest of the North Korean elite in the presence of a powerful ally in probable conflict with the United States. PRC is in need of a buffer zone between itself and the zone of influence of the United States [19], which is reflected in the "illegal" support of North Korea, despite the introduction of sanctions against the DPRK.

In relation to this whole issue of China's interest on the Korean Peninsula is expressed in maintaining the DPRK as a "cordon" to the United States, the availability of the resource base, to prevent excessive strengthening of the Korean States which would lead to a decline in the role of China on the Peninsula and the loss of current economic impact. Concern is the fact that South Korea is unlikely to define China in terms of economic investments, which two States can have on the DPRK, which can lead to the superiority of China to the border of Russian territory; the modernization of Railways of the DPRK will cost in an impressive $ 77 billion [20]. In this regard, the conflict between Kazakhstan and China for influence in the North becomes quite specific geopolitical contours. Repeated visits to China, Kim Jong-UN, also presumably affect the distribution of influence and give certain Waimakariri on this issue [21].

Speaking about the interests of Russia, it should be mentioned that for quite a long time in the relations between the two countries was dominated by the military-political approach, based on belonging to one camp of the socialist-oriented countries. With the collapse of the USSR the ideological justification for the continually support to the DPRK's disappeared and disappeared for a time, geopolitical interest of Russia to the Korean Peninsula due to the international policy of the then government of Russia. These events are reflected in the wide cuts ties with North Korea, although a number of partnerships remained.

However, since the early 2000s in the Russian-North Korean politics had taken a new turn in the field of cooperation initiated by the visit .In.In.Putin to Pyongyang [22]. The Russian Federation, not having the ideological basis of close ties with the DPRK as it was informed, articulate their interests primarily in the economic sphere. Despite the fact that Russia has a much larger number of minerals (e.g., iron ore in countries of the sea of Japan – Russia – 60.1%, whereas North Korea – 4,6%, etc.), rather than the DPRK, of great importance for the Russian side are the nodes and recreational areas; the latter has a very poor neighbouring Primorsky Krai [23].

In fact, the geopolitical interests of the Russian Federation at the moment is a need to strengthen trade ties between Russia and North Korea (along with China) through the use of the territory of the DPRK. In an example of such a project can allow the triangular economic zone "Hasan-Rajin" (the project was interested in the South [24]) and the free economic zone "Rason". It is noteworthy that in relation to this area do not apply imposed by Russia sanctions [25] the UN. However, the Russian side is also interested in the construction of the element that links it with South Korea (e.g., gas pipelines). which undoubtedly affect the essence of the geopolitical interests of Russia in this region.

It should also be noted and the need to support the Russian Federation of independent States on the territory of the DPRK. Due to the relative immaturity of the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories, the rise of China or the US in the region has jeopardized the economic and military security of Russia. The favorable geographical position of North Korea and the presence of relatively abundant amount of resources affects the desire of Russia if not the most to influence the immediate deprivation of the North Korean leadership, it at least seeks to create a balance between geological players in this region, preventing their amplification.

In summary, we can conclude that North Korea is a place of intersection of the geopolitical interests of the first Nations such as South Korea, Russia, China and the United States. Given the policy of gradual "low-speed" development of market relations in North Korea, the prospect of investment in which foreign capital that is beneficial to the government of Kim Jong-UN. In this regard, the overlap in geopolitical and economic interests of these States, seeking to increase its influence and to establish some control over the management of North Korea, which at the same time, strongly resists the probable loss of political independence. Russia may be beneficial to provide greater support to South Korean in this matter, in order to avoid the excessive strengthening of China or the United States in the region.

Sources

[1] – A. Fifield South Korea's likely next president asks the U.S. to respect its democracy. // The Washington Post. 02.07.2017. URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/south-koreas-likely-next-president-warns-the-us-not-to-meddle-in-its-democracy/2017/05/02/2295255e-29c1-11e7-9081-f5405f56d3e4_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2fc1be3f0702 (date accessed: 12.11.2018)

[2] - 이명박 1심 선고..."징역 15년·벌금 130억 원". YTN. 05.10.2018. URL: https://www.ytn.co.kr/_ln/0103_201810051506387927 (date accessed: 12.11.2018)

[3] – Pavlovsky A. I. Critical thinking civilizational model N. I.Danilevsky. // Vestnik Of Perm University. Philosophy. Psychology. Sociology. No. 4(12) – Perm, 2012. P. 25-29

[4] See: Tikhonov V. M., Kang Mangil. A history of Korea: in 2 t. T. 2. XX century. – M.: Eastern Book 2011. 496 p

[5] See: Lintner, Bertil (2005). Great Leader, Dear Leader: Demystifying North Korea Under the Kim Clan. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.

[6] Mishin V. Y. Features of North Korean nationalism. // Russia and Asia Pacific. - Institute of history, archaeology and Ethnography of Far East peoples, far East branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2014. P. 176-179

[7] Biryukov, E. S., the Unipolar world has not ended. // Russian Institute For Strategic Studies. 31.05.2016. URL: https://riss.ru/analitycs/30931/ (accessed: 12.11.2018)

[8], [10] Kim Jong-UN called the North Korean economy a priority. // LB. 03.08.2012. URL: https://lb.ua/world/2012/08/03/163945_kim_chen_in_nazval_ekonomiku_kndr.html (date accessed: 12.11.2018)

[9] the Test of a North Korean ICBM "And 15". // Military Bulletin. 30.11. 2017. URL: https://army-news.ru/2017/11/ispytanie-severokorejskoj-mbr-xvason-15 (date accessed: 12.11.2018)

[11] 이지선. 불쑥 나타난 조춘룡, 자취 감춘 김경희 // 경양신문. 10.04.2014

[12] 남북한의 주요경제지표 비교 // 한국은행. The Bank of Korea. URL: https://www.bok.or.kr/portal/main/contents.do?menuNo=200090#fNote2 (date accessed: 13.11.2018)

[13] 조선반도의 평화와 번영, 통일을 by 판문점선언. 27.04.2018

[14] Ahn. JH. Sunshine 2.0? Moon Jae-in's new inter-Korean policies, in summary// NK-NEWS.ORG. 24.04.2017. URL: https://www.bok.or.kr/portal/main/contents.do?menuNo=200090#fNote2 (date accessed: 13.11.2018)

[15] Reid I. A, Hee Jung Hong. Korea's first unified Olympic team is an uneasy truce of diplomacy and sexism. // The Conversation. 9.02.2018

[16] Makagonov V. Called to the cost of unification of the two Koreas Economy today. 25.10.2018. URL: https://rueconomics.ru/357494-nazvana-stoimost-obedineniya-dvukh-korei (date accessed: 13.11.2018)

[17] M. E. Manyin (coord.). U. S.-South Korea Relations. – USA. The Congressional Research Service. 2017. P. 8

[18] Z. Liu insists China coal imports do not breach North Korea nuclear sanctions. // South China Morning Post. 28.09.2017. URL: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2113206/china-insists-coal-imports-do-not-breach-north-korea (date accessed: 28.10.2018)

[19] O. Skylar Envolving China's North Korea Strategy. // Peacebrief (#231). United States Instutute for Peoce. 2017. P. 1-4

[20] O. Kiryanov China and South Korea launched the struggle for "the future of the DPRK" // the Russian newspaper. 10.07.2018. URL: https://rg.ru/2018/07/10/kitaj-i-iuzhnaia-koreia-razvernuli-borbu-za-budushchuiu-kndr.html (date accessed: 28.10.2018)

[21] Ivanova A., Lushnikov A. the Steps to peace: why Kim Jong-UN paid a visit to China. // RT Russian. 28.03.2018. URLhttps://English.rt.com/world/article/497656-kim chen yn-vizit-kitai (date accessed: 28.10.2018)

[22] 위대한 령도자 김정일동지께서 로씨야련방 뿌찐대통령과 상봉 주체89(2000).7.19-20. – 조선영화

[23] V. P. Karakin Economic interests in the relations between Russia and the DPRK // the Customs policy of Russia in the far East. No. 3(56) – 2011. P. 30-37

[24] G. D. Toloraya Russia and the problem of the Korean Peninsula at the present stage // Vestnik MGIMO (10-04). – M.: MGIMO, 2014. P. 82-91

[25] V. A. Batyr Russian-severocesky project "Hasan-Rajin" in the system of international economic relations (Impregnable Sino-Russian Bastion in the DPRK) // Lex Russica. No. 4(137) – M.: Moscow state law Academy, 2018. P. 52-60

Matunaw E. S.


RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security
Возрастное ограничение