Development Policy and International Relations
– April 5, German Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday to convey Berlin’s concerns over rising tensions in the Korean peninsula (Xinhua). Berlin was consulting with international and European partners to seek a “decisive and united” response, German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andreas Peschke said at a regular briefing (Xinhua).
– April 6, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a phone conversation with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Xinhua):
China insists that the current tensions on the Korea Peninsula should be resolved through dialogue, no matter how the situation may develop. China also insists that the nuclear-free process of the peninsula should be advanced and the peace and stability of the peninsula should be maintained.
Wang noted that China has expressed severe concern over the current tensions on the Korea Peninsula, which is China’s close neighbor. He said that Beijing opposes any provocative words and actions from any party in the region and does not allow troublemaking at the doorsteps of China.
Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern and worry over the rising tensions on the Korea Peninsula and hoped the situation would soon cool down in order to prevent events from spinning out of control. Ban said that the United Nations is willing to maintain communications with China and other relevant sides.
– April 7, China’s leader Xi Jinping during the address of a regional business forum on China’s Hainan island said “No-one should be allowed to throw the region, or even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains”. (BBC).
– April 7, Mr Hague said: “We have to be concerned about the danger of miscalculation by the North Korean regime” (BBC).
The foreign secretary said North Korean leaders were making “the wrong choice” between isolation and engagement with the international community, and warned “they will end up leading a broken, friendless country“. But he said there had not been in recent weeks the visible redeployment of ground forces consistent with an invasion plan, nor “a change in what is happening in North Korean society“.
On Friday, North Korea warned it would not be able to guarantee the safety of foreign embassy staff in the event of a war. Mr Hague said he had not seen “any immediate need to respond to that by moving our diplomats out of there” but added that Britain would “keep this under close review with our allies and international partners“.
“What is going on is what we have often seen throughout history,” he said. “This is a regime that has to justify the intense militarisation of their society.”
– April 7, Switzerland has offered to mediate with North Korea. However, the Swiss foreign ministry says there are currently no plans for any talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was educated for several years under a pseudonym in traditionally neutral Switzerland, Swiss media say (BBC).
The Swiss government condemned North Korea’s recent threats and called on all parties to exercise restraint. The Swiss government “is always ready to contribute to finding a solution, if that is the desire of the parties, for example hosting meetings between them,” the statement said.
5. South Korea:
– April 8 (Yonhap) — The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is not right for holding inter-Korean dialogue that could help reduce tension, a government official said Monday.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said Seoul is aware of calls by the 123 South Korean companies with factories at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and by politicians for the government to engage in talks with the North. “The current conditions are not conducive to talks,” he said. “The North is not showing the right attitude needed for discussions to take place.”
April 8 (Yonhap) — The top U.S. military commander in South Korea has called off a trip to Washington this week, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Monday, as the Pentagon is on full alert for North Korea’s possible missile launch or other provocative acts. The move is another indication that the U.S. is taking North Korea’s military threats seriously amid reports that it appears to be preparing for a middle-range missile launch from the east coast.
Army Gen. James Thurman had planned to testify at a series of congressional hearings on the operations of the 28,500 American troops in Korea, but he has decided to stay in Seoul next week, the USFK said in a statement. As well as, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Jung Seung-jo, also canceled an annual meeting in Washington with his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Martin Dempsey, slated for April 16.
Dan Pfeiffer, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama told Fox News. “The onus is on the North Koreans to do the right thing here,” he added. “They are the source of the problem, and the only way to solve this is for them to take a step back.”