On 25 June 1950, Communist North Korean troops poured across the border into South Korea, intent on reunifying the country through force of arms. What began as an escalation in Korea’s bitter civil war soon exploded into a major international crisis, as first the United States and then China intervened by sending hundreds of thousands of their own ground troops into battle to prevent the defeat of their respective Korean allies. The war’s first year brought seesawing fortunes on the battlefield. After the Communists captured more than 90 percent of the Korean Peninsula, pushing the South Koreans and their American allies to the brink of defeat, a brilliant counterattack engineered by General Douglas MacArthur quickly drove the North Koreans back across the border. Now the Americans surged forward, driving north toward China in hopes of liberating North Korea entirely from Communist rule. But just as MacArthur declared victory to be at hand, hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers unexpectedly poured into Korea, catching the Americans off-guard and sending them into a desperate retreat of their own. Eventually the Americans were able to reestablish a defensive line, ironically located almost exactly at the 38th parallel—the line that had divided North and South Korea before the war began. There, by early 1951, the fighting settled into an uneasy stalemate—a stalemate that continues to this very day, as the Korean War never officially ended.
The Korean Armistice Agreement provided for monitoring by an international commission. Upon agreeing to the armistice, the belligerents established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has since been patrolled by the KPA and ROKA, United States, and Joint UN Commands. Since 1953, the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC), composed of members from the Swiss and Swedish Armed Forces, has been stationed near the DMZ. South Korea stagnated in the first postwar decade. In 1953, South Korea and the United States concluded a Mutual Defence Treaty.
Since the armistice there have been many clashes along the DMZ. However there have also been talks and family reunions organised by the two nations. Refer the following sites for more information on border disputes and north-south diplomacy.
1. http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-08-20/brief-history-border-conflict-between-north-andsouth-korea 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_border_incidents_involving_North_Korea 3. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/timeline-of-recent-clashes-between-northand-south-korea/article7565974.ece 4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea%E2%80%93South_Korea_relations
Most recently on the 20th of august 2015 South Korea fired dozens of artillery rounds across the border, saying North Korea had fired first to back up a threat to attack loudspeakers broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda. North Korea says the South Korean shells caused no injuries, but denies firing and responds with fury. The North later announces its frontline troops are in a “quasi-state of war” and orders them to prepare for battle.
North Korea’s Nuclear Programme
In October 2006 North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test, announcing to the world that it had joined the nuclear club. International condemnation of North Korea’s actions was swift, and Security Council Resolution 1718 demanded that the country eliminate all nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. After sometimes difficult talks a deal was made in February 2007 whereby North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear reactor in return for aid; however, problems flared again in 2009 when the country launched a long range rocket. North Korea claimed it had put a communications satellite into space, but most saw it as a test of a missile that could threaten the United States. Angered by international criticism, it pulled out of the six nation disarmament talks and expelled nuclear inspectors; it then conducted an underground nuclear test and announced its ability to enrich uranium. The UN has responded with fresh sanctions, including inspection of North Korean ships and a ban on arms sales.
North Korea’s uranium enrichment plant is now well developed, and it is thought that the country has enough plutonium to make a few bombs. The UN has accused the North Korean regime of exporting nuclear technology to Iran, Myanmar and Syria, in defiance of UN bans. The situation is highly fluid, and the nuclear disarmament process remains stalled.
Human Rights Violations, Political Prisoners and Defectors
A Commission of Inquiry (COI) established by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), chaired by retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, published a devastating report in February 2014 that concluded that the North Korea government has committed systematic human right abuses at a scale without parallel in the contemporary world—including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence.
On March 28, the HRC adopted a resolution supporting the COI’s findings and calling for accountability. In October, heavy pressure on North Korea at the UN General Assembly in New York and North Korea’s concern over the possibility of a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prompted a first-ever meeting between North Korean diplomats and Marzuki Darusman, the HRC special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea.
However, North Korea has ratified four key international human rights treaties and signed, but not yet ratified, another, and has a constitution that provides a number of rights protections on paper. Read https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/north-korea
MAIN PLAYERS AND THEIR POSITIONS
These are a few of the states that are affected by the crisis and their positions on the issue.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.-The DPRK ’s representatives explain that such actions are an “adequate response” to the “imperialistic intentions” of South Korea and its allies (U.S. in the first place).
Republic of Korea.- After the recent inauguration of the newly elected president Park Geun-hye, the country attends to the U.S., with the request to undertake certain steps so as to prevent the DPRK from attacking South Korea.
People’s Republic of China.-The Chinese government prefers to hold hands in this situation and wait for the further developments (although China and DPRK are interconnected by a treaty).
Japan.- Japan supports the Republic of Korea’s desire to involve the American troops in the region in order to deter the probable military clash. The possibility of the maritime conflict with China and tense relations with DPRK also reflect on Japan’s position.
Russian Federation.-Some experts (e.g. A. Malashenko) say that Russia’s position is heavily dependent on the situation in its domestic affairs. Russia would rather try to build dialogue with both sides as a mediator, keeping in mind its own national interest.
United States of America.- The new Minister of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and a group of Senate “hawks” approached Obama and talked him into showing North Korean militarists “who’s the boss”, concerned both about the attention of the American population’s internal problems and active development in the DPRK’s military program.
If your nation is not in the above list, it doesn’t mean that your country doesn’t have a stake in the topic, try to find your allies since your foreign policy will be very similar to theirs. The relevance of the Korean issue for the agenda can also be proven by the keen interest that the global actors take in finding ways of the conflict resolution. Basically, major players can roughly be divided into three groups in this situation (nevertheless, this is rather vague, as nearly all of the previous UN SC resolutions were adopted unanimously). –
It is believed that North Korea is traditionally supported by the PRC and to some extent Russian Federation. These states would not tolerate the strengthening positions of the U.S. in the region, let alone military intervention. However, taking into account that neither Russia nor China exercised their right of veto when voting on the previous resolutions (moreover, both Russia and the PRC condemned the nuclear test held by DPRK in February 2013).
The U.S., Japan and European states members of NATO (Western world, in the wide sense) are, as usual, on South Korea’s side. There is no doubt that the international community should react to the events in order to prevent possible aggression on the part of North Korea. But the controversial thing is that the state of affairs can be exploited by some powers as a means of expansion of their influence in this part of the world.
As for other countries’ positions, it depends on their understanding of the situation and the ability to orientate themselves in the short term (they can enhance their international standing in this situation, maybe even earn definite economic benefits).
NPT (The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; signed July 1, 1968, entered into force March 5, 1970; main goal: to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament)
CTBT (The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; adopted by UN GA September 10, 1996, not entered into force yet; main goal: to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes)
Mutual Defense Treaty (between U.S. and Republic of Korea; signed October 1, 1953; The U.S. created an alliance with South Korea, and established the basis of South Korean adherence with U.S. Government consultations on North Korean policy)
The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan (between U.S. and Japan; signed January 19, 1960) The Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty (between North Korea and the People’s Republic of China; signed July 11, 1961, prolonged in 1981 and 2001)
Treaty on Friendship, Good-Neighborly Relations and Cooperation (between Russia and North Korea, signed February 9, 2000)
WHAT SOLUTIONS HAS THE UN PROPOSED IN THE PAST?
Resolution 825 (May 11, 1993) The Security Council adopted a resolution calling upon North Korea to reconsider withdrawing from the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The resolution urges North Korea to honor its non-proliferation obligations under the Treaty.
Resolution 1540 (April 28, 2004) Resolution 1540 affirms that proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The Security Council urges all States to take additional effective measures to prevent proliferation, including nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery.
Resolution 1695 (July 15, 2006) In this resolution, the Security Council explicitly condemns the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear weapons program. While calling for a diplomatic solution to the situation, the Council demands that the DPRK cuts back its missile launches, which jeopardize peace and security in the region. In addition, Resolution 1695 bans all member states from transactions with North Korean involving material, technology or financial resources transfer connected to DPRK’s missiles or weapons of mass destruction programs.
Resolution 1718 (October 14, 2006) The Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea, in reaction of Pyongyang’s nuclear test. After arduous negotiations, this softer version establishes an embargo on military and technological materials, as well as luxury goods, but does not
include reference to military intervention as the US proposed initially. Furthermore, the resolution demands the freezing of North Korea’s financial assets with the exception of funds necessary to meet basic needs.
Resolution 1874 (June 12, 2009) The resolution, passed under Chapter VII, Article 41, of the UN Charter, imposed further economic and commercial sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK, or North Korea) and encourages UN member states to search North Korean cargo, in the aftermath of an underground nuclear test conducted on 25 May 2009.
Resolution 1928(June 7, 2010) After recalling previous resolutions on the topics of North Korea and nuclear weapons, the Council extended the mandate of a panel of experts monitoring sanctions against the country until June 12, 2011. The Security Council determined that the proliferation and delivery of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons constituted a threat to international peace and security. Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council extended the mandate of the expert panel established in Resolution 1874 to monitor the newly-strengthened sanctions regime against North Korea, imposed after an underground nuclear test conducted in May 2009. The panel was requested to provide a report by November 12, 2010 and a second report 30 days prior to the termination of its current mandate with its findings and recommendations.
Resolution 1985 (June 10, 2011) After recalling previous resolutions on the topics of North Korea and nuclear weapons, the Council extended the mandate of an expert panel monitoring sanctions against the country until June 12, 2012. China had blocked the release of the previous report of the expert panel after it accused North Korea of violating the sanctions.
Resolution 2050 (June 12, 2012) This document extends the UN’s mandate to monitor nuclear, chemical and biological weapons possessed by North Korea.
Resolution 2087 (January 22, 2013) After recalling all previous relevant resolutions on the situation concerning North Korea, the Council condemned the December 12, 2012 rocket launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The new resolution saw the rocket launch as a violation of earlier sanctions imposed by the UN in 2006 (Resolution 1718) and strengthened in 2009 (Resolution 1874).
Research links Background 1. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Nuclear_Non-Proliferation_Treaty 2. http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/text/npt3.htm 3. http://www.ctbto.org/fileadmin/content/treaty/treaty_text.pdf 4. http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iaeadprk/index.shtml 5. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Mutual_Cooperation_and_Security_between_Japan_and_t he_United_States_of_America 6. http://www.usfk.mil/usfk/sofa.1953.mutual.defense.treaty.76 7. http://www1.korea-np.co.jp/pk/156th_issue/2001022105.htm
Special information 1. http://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/0511res825.pdf 2. http://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/0428res1540.pdf 3. http://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/0715res1695.pdf 4. http://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/1014reso1718.pdf 5. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1874 6. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1928 7. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1985(2011) 8. http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/NKorea%20S%20RES%202050.pdf 9. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2087(2013) 10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11813699 11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21438129 12. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/23/koreas.clash.explainer/index.html 13. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/world/asia/north-korea-vows-nuclear-test-as-threatsintensify.html 14. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/asia/south-koreas-park-geun-hye-warns-northagainst-nuclear-pursuits.html?_r=0 15. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/25/us-korea-north-idUSBRE90O0AJ20130125 16. http://thediplomat.com/2013/02/14/beijings-north-korea-problem/ 17. http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/north-korea-launches-rocket-20121212-2b90n.html 18. http://www.smh.com.au/world/defiant-north-korea-ups-nuclear-rhetoric-20130123-2d7as.html 19. http://www.eurasiareview.com/29012013-north-korea-an-all-out-confrontation-after-fresh-unscsanctions-analysis/ 20. http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/north-korea-conflict-north-korea-issues-causticmessage-to-us-military 21. http://mg.co.za/article/2013-02-23-north-korea-warns-us-forces-of-destruction-ahead-of-war-drills