Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Turnbull government ignoring new government in South Korea

Given that there is new leadership in Seoul, Canberra needs to review its stance on North Korea and discuss it with the Moon administration.

Calling North Korea’s nuclear program a threat to Australia isn’t going to solve the North Korean problem.

It’s time for Australia to review its Korea policy and take South Korea more seriously.

Turnbull’s policy towards North Korea crucially ignores South Korea, Guardian, 

Second, in stressing China’s role over North Korea, Turnbull urged China “to use its great leverage and the responsibility with which it comes to curb the unlawful, reckless and dangerous conduct of North Korea” – as if North Korea is a tribute state to the Middle Kingdom China.

Third, talking about the Asean–Australia–New Zealand free trade agreement, he said the agreement being “the drive for an even bigger prize in the form of the regional comprehensive economic partnership, which will also bring in China, Korea, Japan and India.” It was not South Korea or the two Koreas, but just “Korea”.

As Hugh White says, Australia seems to choose the US, the declining power, over China, a rising threat. Being neither a power or a threat, South Korea is absent in Turnbull’s foreign policy. North Korea is one of China’s many faults in the region and they have to address it. Turnbull doesn’t seem to consider South Korea having a huge stake in the North Korea problem.

Given that there is new leadership in Seoul, Canberra needs to review its stance on North Korea and discuss it with the Moon administration.

South Korea, lest we forget……

Since the end of the cold war, North Korea has had “regime survival’’ issues. It has basically lost all its friends, and renewed sanctions have been imposed on it. China is its only trading partner. Yet while North Korea is lagging far behind the rest of the world, it is not collapsing. Total isolation and the threat of an escalating nuclear weapons program are the methods by which Kim Jong-un chooses to stay in power. And for now, the methods are working.

For South Koreans, North Korea is the enemy to fight, but also an object for peaceful unification. Recent North Korean provocations and the South’s reaction should be understood in this structural and historical context.

Is North Korea a threat to Australia?

No. Realistically, there is little chance that Kim Jong-un will drop a weapon on Australia. Calling North Korea’s nuclear program a threat to Australia isn’t going to solve the North Korean problem. Now with the renewed “sunshine policy” led by Moon, Australia needs to devise a more constructive and nuanced policy toward Pyongyang in collaboration with Seoul.

Australia’s alternative role

First, Australia can play a mediating role between the two Koreas. Australia didn’t have to invite pointless, blistering verbal exchanges with Pyongyang.

Second, this doesn’t mean that Australia has to appease the Kim regime and not condemn its nuclear program. Australia can build consensus among Asian countries about the importance of supporting the establishment of a peace regime in the Korean peninsula for regional security.

Third, in terms of regional consensus building, instead of focusing on Pyongyang’s nuclear programs and weapon capabilities, Australia can broaden its focus to changing the nature of the regime. It can do so by meaningfully engaging with its people through economic and cultural exchanges. Focusing on human security in terms of North Korea’s economy, food, health and environment, rather than just traditional security in terms of its military, would be a better approach and would help to change the current narratives and discourses around North Korea.

Fourth, Australian business can work to build more links with North Korea.

Fifth, Australia’s rich and diverse culture and education can offer a lot to North Korea. Language exchange, cultural programs or vocational training in tourism, agriculture, and clean energy, for example, could help North Koreans open their eyes to the world.

These options have not been available in the past decade because of South Korea’s hawkish policy against North Korea. The conservative Lee and Park governments closed down joint economic projects and cut communications with Pyongyang. Now there is a new progressive government in Seoul that will revive a pro-engagement policy toward Pyongyang. It’s time for Australia to review its Korea policy and takeSouth Korea more seriously.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/09/turnbulls-policy-towards-north-korea-crucially-ignores-south-korea

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June 9, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international

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