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Tag: North Korea

From Kyiv to Korea. How the shockwaves of war reverberated across Eurasia

The war in Ukraine is encouraging geopolitical change across the world. This is particularly true with regards to the Korean Peninsula, with Russia growing closer to its traditionally quiet ally in Pyongyang. Both North and South Korea are now faced with navigating an uncertain geopolitical climate with no end to the war in sight.

“Akin to identical twins” is how one academic expert in Seoul described the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine in 2022, as both occupy locations on the Eurasian landmass where the geopolitical interests of great powers intersect. Other Korean commentators have noted similarities between the 1950-53 Korean conflict and the current war in Ukraine insofar as battle lines have barely moved throughout much of the fighting. Yet while parallels between Korea’s yesterday and Ukraine’s today abound, the arc of geopolitics runs directly between Kyiv and Korea.

November 19, 2023 - Anthony Rinna

Long live Kim Jong-un: how Russia helps the dictator thrive

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there is an estimated 40,000 North Koreans working in Russia today, with some assessments indicating that this number will continue to grow. Human rights activists describe these workers as modern slaves, whose working conditions are harsh under the pressure to complete preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Kim Jong-un's North Korea is now at the centre of international news with its nuclear tests and reported preparations for more missile launches. Last autumn Kim Jong-un promised to complete his nuclear programme, despite new sanctions imposed by the West. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has rejected US calls for new sanctions on Pyongyang, claiming that it would be a counter-productive “road to nowhere” and may trigger a “global catastrophe”. This statement could be interpreted as an act of solidarity with the North Korean regime, since Putin's friends and senior officials are also under western sanctions.

However, upon closer examination this is not the only explanation. One of the major proposals of the sanctions package against North Korea is to cut off sources of foreign currency, limiting its ability to continue developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. This would signify a major shift for Moscow, as it would have to stop employing cheap North Korean labour.

January 2, 2018 - Artem Filatov

Pyongyang’s Russian sentiment

North Korea continues to play on a one man team as its nuclear tests only deepen the country’s isolation. South Korea, the United States and Japan are actively involved politically on the Korean peninsula but their goals rarely focus on issues other than international security. However, there are countries for which Kim Jong Un's regime is not only a target for international sanctions and criticism, but also an economic partner. China and Russia are part of that club. Paradoxically, maintaining good relations with Kim’s regime is important for Moscow as any potential dominance in Asia partly depends on Pyongyang’s support.

June 23, 2017 - Grzegorz Kaliszuk

The North Korean Embassy in Belarus. Diplomatic symbolism, economic horizons

Belarusian state media recently reported that the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry's Asia-Pacific Department, Andreya Grinkevicha, discussed opening a North Korean embassy in Minsk with an official from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea's foreign ministry. The North Korean official named as Oh Seung-ho was in Belarus on a working visit. The opening of an embassy was mentioned as part of a boarder plan for increased Belarus-North Korea cooperation.

September 27, 2016 - Anthony Rinna

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