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Korean Peninsula

CrisisWatch Korean Peninsula

Unchanged Situation

UN Security Council 2 June adopted Resolution 2356 in response to North Korea (DPRK)’s recent missile tests, accusing DPRK of “flagrant disregard” for previous UN resolutions. DPRK state media accused U.S. and China of conspiring to initiate resolution. Beijing called on Pyongyang to “heed the call of the international community” and said China committed to denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula, but wishes for “good-neighbourly and friendly” relations with DPRK. During meeting of high level officials in Washington 21-22 June, U.S. reportedly told China to exert greater economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang; Chinese media reported two sides agreed on need for complete denuclearisation. U.S. official 23 June said DPRK had tested rocket engine that could be part of preparation for intercontinental ballistic missile, and officials late month reported Trump growing more frustrated with China. U.S. Department of Treasury 29 June issued notification against China’s Bank of Dandong plus one Chinese company and two Chinese individuals it said were linked to DPRK. Came as South Korean (ROK) President Moon arrived in Washington for summit 29-30 June; initial reports imply areas of consensus between ROK and U.S., with Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) deployment to ROK, Trump’s wish to change U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and Moon’s DPRK policy as three key variables. 29 June Treasury designations reported as timed to pressure China prior to G20 summit in Hamburg 7-8 July; Treasury denied. U.S. anger grew after American tourist Otto Warmbier, arrested during trip to North Korea in March 2016 and sentenced to fifteen years in labour camp for “hostile acts” against state over alleged attempt to steal propaganda banner, died 19 June days after his release and repatriation to U.S., suffering from “severe neurological injury” sustained after his conviction.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

6 Jul 2017
Chinese analysts continue to argue that no amount of pressure, short of what might cause a collapse, will bring North Korea to denuclearize. The Washington Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
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