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Korean Peninsula

CrisisWatch Korean Peninsula

Unchanged Situation

Tensions between U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) remain high as DPRK conducted three further missile tests, including two developmental designs, one solid-fuel, ground-to-ground Pukguksong-2 21 May, and a short-range ballistic missile 14 May, which travelled over 700km before landing in international waters south of Vladivostok; and ageing Scud-C missile 29 May, likely launched for operational reasons. China 10 May made rare high-profile announcement of missile test of its own, which Chinese analysts said conveyed Beijing’s opposition to controversial U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system deployed in South Korea (ROK). U.S. 30 May conducted successful anti-inter-continental ballistic missile test. In South Korea, Moon Jae-in, who favours improving inter-Korean relations, won 9 May presidential election with 41% of vote; China immediately issued invitation to South Korea to attend Belt and Road summit, possibly indicating desire to improve relations. Forum also brought South and North Korean delegations together for impromptu meeting on sidelines; ROK delegation reportedly delivered criticism of DPRK missile launch but also said it sensed desire for talks from DPRK side. U.S. delegation issued objection to DPRK’s presence. U.S. 16 May said it believed it could persuade China to impose new UN sanctions on DPRK; country’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley indicated discussions on new resolution underway, Washington would target and “call out” countries supporting DPRK. Moon 17 May warned there was “high possibility” of conflict with DPRK, his govt would pursue two-track policy of sanctions and dialogue. Also said he has selected special envoys to travel to ROK’s partners to improve relations; envoy in Beijing 18 May met with President Xi, who said China is ready to work with ROK to return bilateral ties to normal. Japanese PM Abe meeting with China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi 31 May said wants to work with China to resolve DPRK crisis peacefully.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

14 Apr 2017
China likely recognises that Pyongyang's technical progress has increased Washington's threat perception and sense of urgency. AFP

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
3 Apr 2017
North Korea could have been a subject on which China and the U.S. could have worked together to build confidence and trust between each other, but instead it's become a source of deeper mistrust. CBC News

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia

Latest Updates

Report / Asia

Risks of Intelligence Pathologies in South Korea

In the shadow of growing North Korean threats, South Korea needs to reform its intelligence apparatus to restore public confidence while enhancing the country’s intelligence capacity.

Our People

Christopher Green

Senior Advisor, Korean Peninsula