Challenges to Building Stability on the Korean Peninsula: A Talk with Ambassador Glyn Davies

Charles K. Armstrong, Glyn T. Davies

By William Koestiono

On May 9, 2013, Ambassador Glyn Davies, Special Representative of the Secretary of State for North Korean Policy, has joined Professor Charles K. Armstrong, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and Director of The Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, to discuss on the possibility of conflict escalating. The discussion was located in Japan Society, New York.  The topic discussed was The U.S diplomacy toward North Korea in the wake of North Korea’s December 2012 missile launch, February 2013 nuclear test, and the increasing tension between North Korea and South Korea. They were also discussed about the possible solution to achieve long-term peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula .Professor Charles K. Armstrong is Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences in the Department of History and the Director of The Center for Korean Research at Columbia University. Professor Armstrong is a specialist in the modern history of Korea and East Asia. He has written or edited numerous books on modern and contemporary Korea, including The Koreas (Routledge, 2007) and The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Cornell, 2003). He is currently writing a history of modern East Asia for the Wiley-Blackwell series “Concise History of the Modern World.”

Ambassador Glyn Davies is the Special Representative of the Secretary of State for North Korea Policy. He was appointed in January 2012 by Secretary of State Clinton to facilitate high-level engagement with our other Six-Party Talks partners. Six-Party Talks consists of Republic of Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States of America, People’s Republic of China, Japan, and Russian Federation. They were established on 2003 and although the discontinuation of talks happened in 2009, there is a possible resumption in 2012. The goal of this Six-Party Talks is to find a diplomatic purpose to the security concerns as a result of North Korean military activity in the Korean Peninsula. The Six-Party Talks also discusses the North Korean Nuclear program that caused stir in the East Asia.

Special Representatice Davies also involves in other aspects of US security, political, economic, human rights, and humanitarian assistance policy regarding North Korea. He is also a member of the Senior Foreign Service, served as the Permanent Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office in Vienna from June 2009 until his appointment as Special representative by Secretary Clinton in 2012

The opening remark of the Talk by Special representative Davies points out the current situation in the Korean Peninsula. DPRK has been successfully capturing the headlines and the news in the morning with regards to their military program.  US Journalist converged that the threat from Pyongyang is quite sustained, the threat from from Kim Il-sung’s regime that dates back in 1953. After the end of Korean War, North and South Korea signed the Korean Armistice. Although North and South Korea declared peace between them, there have been several engagements going on. On March 2010, North Korea sunk South Korean naval ship ROKS Cheonan in the Yellow Sea. This action has caused 46 deaths and many more were wounded by the explotion. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak declared that Seoul would strike back at North Korea diplomatically and financially. On November 2010, North Korea’s artillery fired at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea. This military action has caused 4 death and wounded civilians and further increase the tension between both parties.

Tension rises in Korean Peninsula, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea marched their military power near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). South Korean and United Nations began to take a defensive action against such military aggression. There have been several meetings regarding the North Korean nuclear weapons program. In this special talk with Ambassador Glyn Davies, Professor Charles K. Armstrong will join us in the discussion about the international media’s opinion on “Korean, East Asian, and Asian-American affairs”.

Charles K. Armstrong, Glyn T. Davies

Professor Charles K. Armstrong is Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences in the Department of History and the Director of The Center for Korean Research at Columbia University. Professor Armstrong is a specialist in the modern history of Korea and East Asia. He has written or edited numerous books on modern and contemporary Korea, including The Koreas (Routledge, 2007) and The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Cornell, 2003). He is currently writing a history of modern East Asia for the Wiley-Blackwell series “Concise History of the Modern World.”

Ambassador Glyn Davies is the Special Representative of the Secretary of State for North Korea Policy. He was appointed in January 2012 by Secretary of State Clinton to facilitate high-level engagement with our other Six-Party Talks partners. Six-Party Talks consists of Republic of Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States of America, People’s Republic of China, Japan, and Russian Federation. They were established on 2003 and although the discontinuation of talks happened in 2009, there is a possible resumption in 2012. The goal of this Six-Party Talks is to find a diplomatic purpose to the security concerns as a result of North Korean military activity in the Korean Peninsula. The Six-Party Talks also discusses the North Korean Nuclear program that caused stir in the East Asia.

Special Representative Davies also involves in other aspects of US security, political, economic, human rights, and humanitarian assistance policy regarding North Korea. He is also a member of the Senior Foreign Service, served as the Permanent Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office in Vienna from June 2009 until his appointment as Special representative by Secretary Clinton in 2012.

Glyn T. Davies

The opening remark of the Talk by Special representative Davies points out the current situation in the Korean Peninsula. DPRK has been successfully capturing the headlines and the news in the morning with regards to their military program. US Journalist converged that the threat from Pyongyang is quite sustained, the threat from from Kim Il-sung’s regime that dates back in 1953. After the end of Korean War, North and South Korea signed the Korean Armistice. Although North and South Korea declared peace between them, there have been several engagements going on. On March 2010, North Korea sunk South Korean naval ship ROKS Cheonan in the Yellow Sea. This action has caused 46 deaths and many more were wounded by the explotion. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak declared that Seoul would strike back at North Korea diplomatically and financially. On November 2010, North Korea’s artillery fired at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea. This military action has caused 4 death and wounded civilians and further increase the tension between both parties.

United Nation grew more wary about North Korea following the death of Kim Jong-il in December 2011. Kim Jong-un, unlike his father, is working on improving North Korean people’s wealth. He appeared more and gave more speech to the public, he also earned trust fast as a leader. He improved the military sector in North Korea. Despite there was an improvement in the military sector; Kim Jong-un has not improved the stability and human rights in North Korea. There has been poverty everywhere. He only treated the military class, i.e, generals and political party leaders, as his precious aides. Special Representative Davies pointed out that Kim Jong-un does not treat his prisoners well. The situation is the same as in old Soviet Union. All prisoners were sent to Gulag and they were treated as slaves. Some said that it is better to die than live in Gulag.

There are several other causes which provokes the United Nations and in particularly United States. In December 2012, North Korea launched its first satellite to the space. The launch commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of the DPRK’s founder Kim Il-sung. The North Korea launched its first satellite called Kwangmyongsong-3 Unit 2 into space. This launch surprised many medias from China, Japan, Russia, and United States confirmed that North Korea has successfully manufacturing and launching satellites into space. This caused a world panic because after this satellite test, North Korea is secretly testing their own ballistic missiles.

Glyn T. Davies

The UN Security Council is worried in the future of North Korea because in the beginning of 2013, North Korea has declared that the “state of armistice” was no longer active. North Korea argued on the military exercise conducted by South Korea and United States threatened North Korea with nuclear arsenals and United States was unwilling to discuss a peace treaty. The U.N and 80 countries were criticizing the action taken by North Korea pulling out from the treaty. President Obama remained calm about this tragedy and discussed with his aides to convey North Korea on having an armistice. Back on 2009, Obama even promised to engage North Korea to have a serious propagation launching missiles. Even after Obama’s speech there has been two nuclear tests by North Korea and these actions have denied the UN Diplomatic effort on nuclear proliferation. After this failure, Obama engaged North Korea in an armistice conference in three cities within 10 months.

On April 2013, there was a tragedy in Kaesong Industrial Region. Kim Jong-un began to deny South Korean employees access to the Kaesong industrial region. He also recalled all 53,000 North Korean labors and banned South Korean businessmen from delivering food and supplies to this region. In the first week of May 2013, this region was completely shut down. This act caused an increasing tension between Pyongyang and Seoul.

International communities were pressuring North Korea on all the aggressions caused and Human Rights violation for not treating their civilians and prisoners. The U.N still have an agenda for North Korea to reach a diplomatic agreement with South Korea. President Obama still believed on the possibility of averting the nuclear war and having an armistice with North Korea. Last year, Obama invited North Korea to have a peace talk in Burma. He even asked North Korea to join international community and abandon nuclear weapons.

In the meantime North Korea must convey international communities that they are serious on dismantling the nuclear weapons. North Korea must believe on peace and prosperity without nuclear powers. They have to improve their people’s living condition and eradicate poverty. They also need to improve their Human Rights on labors and prisoners. If they do not show any kinds of improvement internally and externally, the international communities will not accept North Korea to their circle and the tension will not be solved.

For more info: http://www.japansociety.org

Glyn T. Davies

 

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