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Strategic thinking needs to be really strategic

Comments on Han Sung-joo “North Korea: strategic thinking, strategic response”, 27/05/2009, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/05/27/north-korea-strategic-thinking-strategic-response/

While Han Sung-joo's article is very much focused on Republic of Korea (RoK) and its alliance with the US in response to the North on the Korea peninsular peace and stability issue, the issue is really very much beyond that context. Indeed it is much wider and broader.

North Korea has so far successfully explored the weaknesses of the other members of the six party group. It appears that the North gained substantial concessions from the group and at the same time has kept and further developed its nuclear capacity and capability. In the end, it slapped at everyone’s face through the recent test of a second nuclear device and the defiant lunch of missiles. This has made the whole processes of the six party talks in the past years laughable.

North Korea’s escalation on its nuclear and missile development to defy the international community is serious and cannot be tolerated. The whole international community must act and act urgently.

If the Republic of Korea is to think and respond strategically, it needs to go beyond the conventional US alliance as a passive response to the North nuclear issue. It should consider more strategically about the security issue not only in the Korea peninsular, but also in the broader Northeast Asia, at the least.

I am not a security expert, but the North appears to have used the US presence in Korea as pretence for many things, including its development of nuclear and missile capability. Now the North has declared that it will no longer be bound by the armistice accord made to end the Korea war in the early 1950s, following Korea’s decision to join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

A long term solution to the peace and stability of the Korea peninsular will need to consider the impact of the alliance issue and create an environment that both Koreas will feel secure. In that context, a collective security guarantee for both Koreas by the six parties will be needed. Any alliances will need to be recast in that context.

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