“Though the dog barks, the procession moves on!” - North Korean Propaganda Poster

“Though the dog barks, the procession moves on!” – A fitting statement, North Korean Propaganda Poster

Yonhap News Agency reports that North Korea will temporarily enact a moratorium on its uranium enrichment programs (UEP) at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. The DPRK will also halt both its nuclear and long-range missile tests. These steps come after last week’s meetings with US officials in Beijing and will be the some of the steps needed for 240,000 yearly metric tons of food aid from the United States.

While some in the media remain aglow with the news, ringing in a new era of US and North Korean relations and painting new leader, Kim Jong Un, as ushering in the mighty winds of change, it’s worth noting Ambassador Glyn Davies’ somewhat tepid comments after his time spent in Beijing negotiating with the DPRK delegation encountered there:

I wouldn’t point to any dramatic differences in how they presented their views, in how they dealt with the points that we made. And remember that this is the veteran first vice foreign minister mister Kim Kye Gwan, he’s been doing this for many years.

He’s one of the veterans of the Six Party process and many of the officials on his side had been involved previously in these talks – so, I didn’t have sitting across the table from me a new cast or a new set of officials. They’re very much the same men and women we have been dealing with in the past. No, I can’t say there was any dramatic difference in the conversation or how they presented their views at all. (Source: US Department of State)

Keep Ambassador Davies’ views in mind as the US pushes forward with the DPRK. The DPRK’s quick action to both meet with the US so soon after Kim Jong Il’s death and its agreement to move forward with the suspension of their nuclear and long-range missile programs speaks more to a dire need to feed its starving population than any potential new direction for the country. The DPRK will likely continue to wring food aid out of the US to satiate its people until going back to missile tests and uranium enrichment again suits the powers that run the show.

While the United States throws food at the issue, China will build up their influence inside the DPRK by pouring money into the emerging special economic zones on the Chinese/North Korean border.

Two go in, one comes out, game of thrones, there can be only one, and all that jazz…

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Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 88 post(s) on New Pacific Institute