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让美国与朝韩的外交博弈保持一致
让美国与朝韩的外交博弈保持一致
Police Killing Rouses Colombia’s Lockdown Furies
Police Killing Rouses Colombia’s Lockdown Furies
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend an official welcome ceremony at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, in Pyongyang, North Korea, 18 September 2018 yeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS
Commentary / Asia

让美国与朝韩的外交博弈保持一致

朝鲜和韩国的领导人举行了为期三天的峰会,自918日开始了新一轮的南北朝鲜外交。与此同时,美国和朝鲜的关系又恢复到之前的糟糕状态。韩国政府助力重新启动与朝鲜政府富有成效的联系,美国政府应当对这一举动表示欢迎。

韩国总统文在寅于周二上午到达平壤,开始为期三天的访问。此次与朝鲜领导人金正恩的会面将会对2018年剩下的时间及未来做出计划。但两国关系的进展将部分取决于双方能否逆转自6月12日金正恩和唐纳德·特朗普总统在新加坡会面以来美国对朝鲜事务参与减少的颓势。

朝鲜的外交博弈从9月9日的70周年国庆日开始。庆典上包括了在金日成广场上矩形的阅兵式和大型团体操表演。值得注意的是一位中国高级官员,中共中央政治局常委栗战书的出现 。他帮助朝鲜政府实现了首要的外交目标:在与韩国(很可能也同美国)进行更近一步的对话之前,证明朝鲜与中国关系的稳固。

现在轮到了韩国方面,文在寅履行了其4月27日在韩朝停战村板门店第一次与金正恩的会晤中访朝的承诺,带着紧凑的议程到访朝鲜。文在寅将要再次担当他曾于2018年上半年取得相当成功的调解人角色,促使金正恩采取切实行动实现半岛无核化,以为与美国的对话扫除障碍。他还将致力于减少朝韩之间在黄海(西海)问题上产生冲突的持续风险。根据四月份会晤达成的《板门店宣言》,朝韩双方会达成一项包含建立联合捕鱼区的协议,将“西海北面界限附近的区域转变为军事和平区”。

韩国政府极不可能为了与朝鲜建立经济联系而违反联合国安理会决议、损害自己的名誉

文在寅带去了包括政府官员和工业界高管在内的约200人的代表团。代表团中有韩国“四大巨头”三星、现代、SK集团和LG 的领导,以及浦项钢铁公司和韩国发展银行的主席。这些企业领袖的出现意味着朝鲜可从和平中获利,也表明韩国政府在国内一系列经济政策遭遇挫折的情况下,希望在朝韩经济关系上取得进展。

代表团的构成同时也表明,韩国政府对突破与朝鲜经济合作的限制急不可待。韩国方面展现出迫切合作意见的一大根据是,9月14日,朝韩在北部境内的开城开设了板门店宣言中规定的联络处时。联络处李朝韩两国官员在不同的楼层办公,中间有一个会议室。该处旨在为朝韩沟通提供可靠的渠道,同时也将是协调未来经济交流的中心,。

韩国经济受限源于2017年大大加强的国际制裁制度和2010年5月韩国施加的单边制裁。文在寅政府的个人立场是朝鲜(经济)已经从制裁中获得一些恢复。然而,韩国政府极不可能为了与朝鲜建立经济关系而违反联合国安理会决议,损害自己作为负责任的国际事务参与者的名誉。

不幸的是,在中国和朝鲜的关系有所改善,而韩国也在有限范围内寻求以创造性的方式与朝鲜建立联系时,美国和朝鲜的谈判却停滞不前。自6月份特朗普和金正恩的会面以来,美朝关系的显著恶化使得美国国务卿迈克·蓬佩奥原计划于8月底第四次到访平壤的行程在最后一刻尴尬地被取消。文在寅前往平壤,正是试图阻止美朝关系的恶化。

美国面临要承担朝鲜半岛问题没有进展之责备的风险

美国现在发现自己处于困境。美国政府极力主张在自己采取措施之前,应立即采取额外的无核化措施(除了拆除平壤的核试验场和导弹发动机试验设备),但这并不符合韩国政府的经济优先政策。美国政府如果忽视了关系的中断,就会面临要承担朝鲜半岛问题没有进展之责备的风险,同时为朝鲜破坏美韩联盟的战略谋取了方便。

就文在寅而言,他试图安抚那些批评他的人。批评人士认为,他急于建立朝韩联系可能会削弱美韩联盟。当高级部长官员们忙于在开城设立朝韩联络处时,文在寅在朝鲜半岛最南端的巨济岛奥波造船厂为海军的攻击潜艇举行仪式。为了平息国内外国家安全保守派的恐惧,他把韩国的朝韩策略描述为“通过实力实现和平”政策之一,并提到他的政府拥有一支强大的军队;而他的更鹰派的对手认为与美国保持紧密联系是维护朝鲜半岛和平的基础。

从某种程度上来讲,美国和韩国之间不断加深的分歧是美国政府内部机能失调的产物。许多韩国政府人士认为,特朗普对与金正日外交进展的乐观态度和他们认为的大部分美国政府的国家安全机构的悲观前景存在差距。专家们起初担心特朗普会对朝鲜发动奇袭产生的灾难性代价漠不关心,但如今华府内部的普遍观点是他太容易被操纵。

令人担心的是,特朗普会在没有获取足够互利让步的情况下,放弃结束朝鲜战争政治宣言这一战利品。美国政府内部的强硬派认为韩国政府可能会因此获取强大的力量,从而迫使美国政府从半岛撤军,因为美军驻韩的主要原因将不复存在。尽管特朗普可能会欢迎这个撤军的机会,认为可以节省开支;但是他的安全顾问和华盛顿的大部分国家安全机构肯定不会苟同。反对观点认为,特朗普的政治直觉要比他的顾问们好:他应该给朝鲜一个相对不那么兴师动众的促成半岛和平的环境,然后观察结果,并不需要同意撤军要求。这些都是重要的观点,但是美国政府的行事方式却造成了政策不一致的感觉。

不管美国是否同意这样的宣言,也会有其他措施来改变会谈。美国对朝韩联络处的明确支持态度为缓解朝韩边境的紧张军事局势起到重要作用,也将有助于恢复与韩国一致的目标。更妙的是,有相关人士建议,美国政府在平壤设立一个联络处以适当的方式考察朝鲜的意图。尽管美国政府先行签署和约可能不太寻常,但是这会让美国保持与朝韩事务的统一步调。韩国政府希望开城的新联络处将会成为在朝韩两国首都开设外交代表处的先驱。

特朗普6月12日在新加坡与金正恩会晤后发表的联合声明中承诺的新型美朝关系已经消失。9月的下半段时间为三位领导人提供了重建外交和弥补损失的机会。当文在寅和特朗普在联合国大会的外场会晤时,这位韩国的领导人一定会带来自金正恩的消息。朝鲜可能愿意做出让步,推动朝鲜问题和平解决。若诚然如此,美国必须要敞开心怀接受文在寅,并且准备好提出创造性的己见。

People protest outside a police station after a man, who was detained for violating social distancing rules, died from being repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by officers, according to authorities, in Bogota, on 10 September 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez
Q&A / Latin America & Caribbean

Police Killing Rouses Colombia’s Lockdown Furies

In early September, demonstrations against police brutality erupted in Colombia’s capital and other cities. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Elizabeth Dickinson explains that reactions to the unrest have exposed the country’s political polarisation amid anxieties about the coronavirus and the 2016 FARC peace agreement.

What caused the protests that engulfed Bogotá and other cities?

The spark for the demonstrations came in the early morning of 9 September, when two policemen were filmed pinning down, beating and repeatedly firing a taser gun at Javier Ordóñez, a 44-year-old father of two. Ordóñez, trained as a lawyer but employed as a taxi driver, was drinking with friends, and was arrested after reportedly trading a few harsh words with the police. News reports affirm that seven officers proceeded to assault him in a nearby police precinct in the west of Bogotá. Ordóñez later died in a clinic, apparently from injuries sustained in the beating. In a cell phone video, Ordóñez and those gathered nearby are seen pleading several times with the police to stop.

Within hours of the news, protesters gathered around dozens of police stations across the capital. By early evening, some of these crowds had grown rowdy. In at least four Bogotá neighbourhoods, the police fired indiscriminately into the crowds; over two nights of protests, at least thirteen civilians died, most from gunshot wounds, while another 300 were wounded. Demonstrators burned and vandalised dozens of police stations. Videos taken at other locations show groups of civilians attacking policemen. Nearly 100 officers were reportedly wounded. Protesters also took to the streets in other major cities, such as Cali and Medellín.

Two starkly divergent accounts of these incidents expose the extent of Colombia’s political polarisation.

Horrified relatives of the wounded and killed described how the police fired directly at civilians. Dozens of videos of police beating up citizens on the streets have surfaced on social media networks. Bogotá’s centre-left mayor, Claudia López, while chastising vandals and those who attacked security officers, argued that the police’s use of force was part of a pattern of systemic abuse by the institution. López said she had ordered the police not to use firearms to contain protests – an order which they apparently ignored.

Officials from President Iván Duque’s conservative government, meanwhile, argued that the unrest was the product of organised anti-state violence, propagated by left-leaning opposition figures and intended to “stigmatise” the security forces based on the deeds of a few miscreants. “What happened yesterday wasn’t democratic civil protest, but the most egregious example of organised violence”, Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on 10 September. The government’s high commissioner for peace has since declared that urban guerrilla operatives were involved in the wave of attacks on police stations.

Ordóñez’s death stirred a deep well of public frustration with security forces.

Ordóñez’s death stirred a deep well of public frustration with security forces. Police abuse was already among a long list of grievances aired during mass protests across Colombia in November 2019. Critics complain that the police apply the law only when it suits them, training their arbitrary enforcement efforts at the poor, informal street workers, and members of the LGBT community. Unlike other forces in Latin America, Colombia’s national police is under the command not of the interior or justice ministry, but of the defence ministry – a legacy of the country’s long internal armed conflict. Although the constitution states that mayors are the “highest authority” when it comes to local policing, in reality their power is limited and the police behaves with the hierarchical structure and esprit de corps of a military body, following an internal chain of command. Allegations of abuse and wrongdoing pass through an opaque military justice system rather than the normal courts. In one widely followed case, the family of Dilan Cruz, a protester killed in November, has fought in the courts for months to move the investigation to a civil jurisdiction.

Ordóñez’s case was egregious enough that the Attorney General’s Office – headed by an official considered close to President Duque – said it would take up the investigation. The Inspector General’s Office, which oversees the probity of the public sector, will also conduct a parallel disciplinary review. Two officers captured on video tasing Ordóñez have been provisionally suspended from the police force for at least three months, while another five have also been put on leave.

Is this unrest related to the pandemic and Colombia’s six-month lockdown, which ended on 1 September?

At first, the national COVID-19 lockdown, which began on 25 March, stalled protesters’ plans to rekindle the demonstrations that flared toward the end of 2019. Very few large gatherings have taken place over the course of the prolonged lockdown, though there have been some small protests by taxi drivers, merchants and others. Colombia’s very strict quarantine rules hand the police extraordinary authority to block economic activity and prevent citizens from leaving home, meeting with others, exercising in public or travelling between municipalities, including by setting up checkpoints. These controls led to a rise in cases of alleged police abuse and spread popular resentment of excessive or arbitrary enforcement.

The police in effect became the face of lockdown even as irritation over the restrictions and their impact grew. As in much of Latin America, the pandemic set off a devastating economic crisis – pushing urban unemployment up to 25 per cent – and the poorest have felt the consequences most acutely. In Bogotá, epicentre of Colombia’s viral outbreak, the lowest-income households are ten times more likely to have an infected member needing hospitalisation than the richest. Hunger and desperation have soared. Nearly half the city’s jobs are informal, and many vendors in this sector felt obliged to work despite stay-at-home injunctions; some told Crisis Group that police harassed them if they did not offer officers a cut of their earnings. Police statistics analysed by scholars at the EAFIT business school show that arrests and other punishments for public health infractions rose considerably more in low-income areas than in wealthier zones.

The last two months have also seen an uptick in violence elsewhere in the country, including seventeen massacres in August and September so far. What is going on?

Just as in the cities, the pandemic has enflamed tensions in Colombia’s conflict-prone rural areas. Even before the disease struck, there had been a resurgence in massacres, defined as killings of more than three people, which fell dramatically after the 2016 peace accord between the government and the largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia (FARC). By last year, the numbers were back to 2014 levels, due to fighting among a shifting array of armed groups seeking to capture the illicit rackets and community strongholds the FARC left behind. Among those involved are the leftist guerrilla group National Liberation Army, as well as nearly 30 other outfits – including self-proclaimed FARC dissidents, who disdain the peace process, and paramilitary-style organisations such as the Gaitanista drug cartel.

Although these dynamics largely predate COVID-19, the lockdown handed armed bands a golden opportunity to tighten their stranglehold. Claiming the excuse of controlling infection, groups enforced their own quarantine rules, set up informal checkpoints and cemented their self-asserted local prerogatives as arbiters of movement, justice and food supply. With the state distracted and citizens shut in at home, the armed groups encountered few obstacles. There were eleven massacres in August alone, clustered along strategic drug trafficking corridors and in areas where two or more groups vie for control. In the central zone of Bajo Cauca, which has seen seven massacres this year, the Gaitanista drug cartel and a splinter organisation, the Caparros, have been locked in a contest since at least 2019 to dominate coca production, trafficking, mining and extortion. Communities report that both groups are trying to seize territory from the other and silence residents in the process.

Civilians in areas under the dominion of armed groups, and particularly young people, have borne a terrible cost. Children remain out of school, placing them at risk of recruitment by armed groups – particularly as their families’ economic needs grow and those groups offer the only way to earn money quickly. In several cases, violence has been directly tied to a group-imposed lockdown. On 11 August, for example, two children were killed in a disputed rural area on the border of Cauca and Nariño departments, as they walked to deliver a remote class assignment to their schoolhouse in violation of the curfew an armed group had imposed.

How can Colombia respond to this spike of insecurity?

The chaos of late August and September adds to the sense that violence is returning to Colombian daily life in ways reminiscent of its turbulent past. The killings of social leaders, the uptick in massacres, police brutality and urban unrest have also laid bare profound differences between the government and the opposition. The Duque administration sees violence in all its manifestations as a matter of criminal activity whose perpetrators need to be met with tougher police and military enforcement. By contrast, government opponents demand deep institutional police reform, demilitarisation of security forces maintaining civic order, and full implementation of the 2016 peace agreement to halt a new cycle of conflict.

Recent events have accelerated calls from the opposition, including local authorities in Bogotá, for police reform. After the head of Colombia’s police publicly apologised for the death of Ordóñez on 11 September, Mayor López said the police should extend the apology to all the victims of police abuse. She presented a police reform initiative to the president and the state’s inspector general the same day. Its details are not yet public, but pleas for reform have commonly focused on shifting the police high command out of the defence ministry to ensure strict civilian control and guaranteeing that civil courts handle cases of serious abuse. The inspector general has endorsed López’s idea, along with major political figures such as leftist opposition leader Gustavo Petro and former president César Gaviria.

For his part, Duque maintains that such structural changes are not necessary. While condemning Ordóñez’s killing and expressing regret for the violence, the Duque administration has said 2,000 soldiers – including 700 brought in from other parts of the country – will join the police to keep order in the capital. On 11 September, however, Defence Minister Holmes Trujillo lamented the unrest, signalling that compromise and change may not be impossible.