How Russia Can Help Break the Deadlock with North Korea

Lyle J. Goldstein
Reuters

Lyle J. Goldstein

Security, Eurasia

A Putin-Kim summit will mainly be another photo-op for the North Korean leader. But Moscow has more cards to play in Pyongyang than is commonly realized.

How Russia Can Help Break the Deadlock with North Korea

One interpretation of the stunning victory of Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukraine elections is that Ukrainians are tired of serving as pawns in the New Cold War. On practically the other side of the world from Ukraine, many Koreans might justly feel the same way. While Americans frequently seem to want to divide up the world neatly into black and white camps, those on the actual front lines of these various battlefields are looking for a “third way.” They want peace and prosperity instead of perpetual and costly armed struggle that could end in a catastrophe for all concerned.

Currently, practically everyone is cynical when it comes to North Korea. Grand summitry has come and gone with little to show for it, other than a few days of pageantry. Most American experts are busy piling scorn on the Trump administration for giving Pyongyang the “legitimacy” of standing next to a U.S. President on two different occasions. Still, if we are able to put quixotic notions of a complete denuclearization followed by the opening of a Trump casino and resort in Pyongyang aside, it is still necessary to consider how to stabilize the Korean Peninsula.

The forbidding storm clouds of a looming clash of arms must be banished for the long term, allowing Northeast Asia its full measure of wealth and deserved harmony. To that end, it is worth taking a serious interest in the meeting that will take place in Vladivostok over the next couple of days between Russian president Vladimir Putin and North Korean president Kim Jong-un.

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