'저는 그들의 땅을 지키기 위하여 싸웠던 인디안들의 이야기를 기억합니다. 백인들이 그들의 신성한 숲에 도로를 만들기 위하여 나무들을 잘랐습니다. 매일밤 인디안들이 나가서 백인들이 만든 그 길을 해체하면 그 다음 날 백인들이 와서 도로를 다시 짓곤 했습니다. 한동안 그 것이 반복되었습니다. 그러던 어느날, 숲에서 가장 큰 나무가 백인들이 일할 동안 그들 머리 위로 떨어져 말과 마차들을 파괴하고 그들 중 몇몇을 죽였습니다. 그러자 백인들은 떠났고 결코 다시 오지 않았습니다….' (브루스 개그논)





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8월 24일 및 이후 제주도 강정 마을 긴급 관련, 계속되는 영문 업데이트 및 국문 사이트, 링크들은 여기(클릭)를 보세요!

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강정 마을회 까페 사이트(클릭) 강정 마을회 웹사이트(클릭)


Friday, July 9, 2010

Text Fwd: [Wooksik Cheong] Cheonan sinking and New Cold War in Asia

Peace Network
Cheonan sinking and New Cold War in Asia
2010. 06. 30
Wooksik Cheong, the Representative of Peace Network.
En Hye Lee, Peace Network Intern, contributed to translation Korean into English.

While there was a huge impact on Cheonan ship sinking on March 26th, there is also a significant impact on Northeast Asia as well. “The flapping of butterfly’s wing in Brazil can bring about a disastrous tornado in Texas.” Like the butterfly effect, the Cheonan incident has the danger to trigger the new cold war in Northeast Asia.

The relations between the North and South which returned to the Cold War era after President Lee took office are getting towards a fierce confrontation after the Cheonan incident. South Korean allies, the US and Japan, are actively supporting Lee administration and trying to raise the level of pressures and sanctions on North Korea. However, North Korea’s long-time friends, China and Russia which also took equal distance diplomacy towards both North and South Korea after the Cold War, have quite different responses. They raise questions on Lee administration’s results of Cheonan investigation, expressing awareness to South Korea, US, Japan which are attempting to push North Korea into the corner on account of the Cheonan incident. Ostensibly, it can be said that the confrontational structure is reemerging.

Unbalance in six party talks can be explained with different perspectives of geopolitics in Northeast Asia. The Obama administration’s ambition of making allies with Northeast Asian countries in order to restrain and contain China was capitalized on the Cheonan accident and succeeded in restoring US-Japan alliance. The US has realized the original bill of Futenma’s relocation, which was the ‘hot potato’ between the US and Japan. Though Japanese Prime minister Hatoyama resigned, the Cheonan incident was used as a method to calm down the oppositions in Japan caused by accepting US demands. Also, the US has got the “bond” and this will lead US-South Korea alliance to the way the US wants.

In addition, South Korea-US joint naval exercise, which is expected to kick off in West Sea, is seen as military restraint against China as well as armed protest toward North Korea. So China is seriously responding to this issue. One of the Chinese national newspaper editorials, titled “Yellow Sea no place for US carrier” mentions that “the deployment of a carrier off of China’s coast is a provocation that will generate hostility among the Chinese public toward the US.” China’s perspective is well presented in this part. It is a warning sign toward the US-led Northeast Asia alliance system, which seem to become strong and rigid on account of the Cheonan incident.

The fundamental problem is that even if the six parties say they want “peace and stability in Northeast Asia”, there is a huge difference in ways and methods. US, Japan, and South Korea which are the 3 nations that concluded North Korea as a suspect of the Cheonan incident claim that taking strong actions to North Korea will help both Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia have peace and stability. On the other hand, China and Russia, nations having huge doubts on the results of the investigation, are demanding “calmness and restraint” mentioning that retaliation against the North will cause the increasing tension including military confrontation. These responses from China and Russia, adjacent to North Korean border, are based on the concerns that the imminent state in Korean peninsula could lead to the damage of their critical interests. Unlike Japan, which is between the Korean peninsula and East sea, or the US near the Pacific, China and Russia are considering geopolitically factors. This is why China and Russia are keeping eye on the conflict in Korean peninsula. Surprisingly, however, South Korean government, which is right next to the demarcation line close to the North, does not care about this imminent situation much more than the US and Japan do and it is getting ready to fight against North Korea. This attitude is based on a significantly dangerous ‘strategic miscalculation’ that is recognized as the ‘reunification through absorption’.

US is on two tracks, South Korea is on one track?

Cheonan accident has a critical impact on the six party talks as well. First, North Korea, China and Russia are generally positive with the earliest resumption of six party talks, however, South Korea, US, and Japan are taking passive attitude relating six party talks to the Cheonan incident. Of course there is a difference. South Korea is going towards one track of Cheonan diplomacy, which is under the strong basis of ‘No need to resume six party talks without solving the Cheonan incident’. On the other hand, the US is trying to approach this with two tracks. It is trying to reach the conclusion that the North is guilty and to push forward with denouncement and sanctions against North Korea. Furthermore it is expecting denuclearization on Korean peninsula through six party talks. The US’ diplomatic dogma against hostile nations, dealing with both ‘sanctions and dialogues’, can be confirmed in the Cheonan incident.

However, it can be said that not only South Korea’s one track but also US’ two tracks cannot be successful. The two tracks which are referred to the theory of ‘carrot and stick’ and ‘sanctions and dialogues’ will definitely cause the similar reactions from the North. North Korea has been steadily dealt South Korea, US, Japan with the slogan of “Confrontation as confrontation, dialogue as dialogue”. Moreover, North Korea has been demanding for lifting sanctions on condition of resumption of six party talks. In this situation, if there are some additional sanctions on the North, which argues its innocence, or if a statement denouncing North Korea is adopted from the UN Security Council, we can hardly expect the possibility of resuming six party talks. Once the UN Security Council adopts the statement of denouncing North Korea again, it is likely for North Korea, which gave us a warning of ‘ultra hard line actions’, to counter with launching long range rockets or with the third nuclear test.

The concerns that the Cheonan tragedy might lead to new cold war in Northeast Asia is just an idle fear, and it is better to remain as an idle fear. There are 3 things that need to be resolved. First is to reinvestigate the cause of the Cheonan sinking. Not only North Korea but also China and Russia are raising questions on the results of the Lee administration’s investigation. In this situation, the matter will get worse if the US, South Korea and Japan force North Korea with denouncements and stringent sanctions against the North. Some say that it is more realistic if there is a joint investigation team among North and South Korea, US, and China. Second is normalizing inter-Korean relations as soon as possible. Demarcation line is the ‘divided line’ of Korean peninsula and ‘the line of the balance power in Northeast Asia’. In this sense, it is geopolitically impossible to say that peace and stability in Northeast Asia can be maintained without getting rid of unstable inter-Korean relations. Third is the resumption of six party talks within the earliest possible time. There has to be continuous investigation for the truth of the Cheonan incident, and it is obvious that it will take a huge amount of time to get the true result even though the joint investigation team of 4 nations works together. In this sense, dealing investigation of Cheonan first and six party talks afterwards is not an appropriate approach.

There has to be new ways of thinking that the Cheonan sinking is emphasizing the necessity of constructing peace regime and denuclearization on Korean peninsula with the earliest resumption of six party talks. Now is the time to find the way to prevent the confrontation on Korean peninsula and the new cold war in Northeast Asia.

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