Entradas

STEPS FORWARD

The new appointment between political and military leaders of the two Koreas in the border area of Panmunjom is far from anecdotal. In the midst of the uproar and propaganda actions, the fact that the two countries keep their agenda and move forward on bilateral issues is good news, even though they are closely supervised by China and the United States. And we must keep in mind that this tutelage is never absolute, and that each country has a margin of autonomy that, in turn, conditions the strategies of its backers.

The current bilateral relationship, unthinkable a few months ago, although not without risks and shocks, has probably opened some irreversible processes. In this case, it is South Korea who assumes greater responsibility. It must give answers and explanations to its citizens like any democratic country, it must maintain serenity and firmness with an erratic United States president from whom they shouldn´t distance themselves very much and, at the same time, build better regional alliances.

The agenda is not exactly known, but undoubtedly the denuclearization, the opening of new processes of commercial exchange, the study of the problem of separated families and new gestures to visualize that there is a credible project in progress will be on the table. These bilateral advances are not going to solve the problem, but they can be an anchor for the great process to be consolidated. (Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)

向前迈进

来自板门店边境地区的朝鲜和韩国政界和军方领导人之间的新任命非常重要. 在一片哗然和宣传行动, 两国保持自己的议程和进展双边问题, 虽然中国和美国的密切监督其实是个好消息. 我们不能忘记, 这种监护并不是绝对的, 每个国家都有自治权, 而这反过来又影响了其赞助者的策略.

 

几个月前, 目前的双边关系是不可想象的.  尽管存在风险, 它可能已经开启了不可逆转的过程. 在这种情况下,韩国承担更大的责任.韩国 必须像任何民主国家一样给予公民答案和解释, 也必须与一个不稳定的美国总统保持平静和坚定, 同时建立更好的区域联盟。

 

议程尚不清楚, 但毫无疑问, 无核化, 商业交流新流程的开放以及离散家庭问题的研究, 将摆在桌面上. 这些是新的手势, 可表明有一个可信的项目在运动. 这些双边进展无法解决问题 但是他们可以为巩固这个伟大的过程做好准备.

INTERREGNUM: Three summits, three questions. Fernando Delage

In less than a week, three different meetings have shown the end of an era in Asia (and in Europe). The G-7 meeting in Canada, the summit between the president of the United States and the North Korean leader in Singapore, and the annual forum of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao (China), reveal the accelerated transition towards a new regional and global order.

In Charlevoix, by refusing to sign the joint statement with its G-7 partners, Trump explicitly rejected the basic pillars of the post-war international order. Moreover, he has not hesitated to challenge his partners by imposing new trade tariffs. The question was imposed: can we continue talking about a Western political community?

The contrast with the treatment given by Trump to Kim Jong-un only two days later could not be greater. “We have an extraordinary relationship ahead of us”, American president said about Kim, with whom he hopes to establish formal diplomatic relations soon. His avowed intention to abandon the US military presence in South Korea ended up aggravating the concern of his Asian allies, already surprised by what happened in Canada.

Trump’s words mark the effective end of a war that began just 68 years ago – on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded the South – and that has been the determining factor of Asia’s strategic balance. It is important to keep in mind that the Korean War was the decisive turning point in beginning of the Cold War, and -through the famous document NSC68- the start of the implementation of the policy of American containment. The support of Beijing and Moscow to Pyongyang made the conflict a central front against communism. The implosion of the Soviet Union several decades later solved the ideological competition, but the Western structures designed to compete with the rival powers did not disappear: NATO, far from dissolving, expanded, as the West also increased its economic relations with China, facilitating its ascent.

A second question is therefore inevitable: what will happen with the order of the Cold War in Asia when its last vestige -the Korean War- definitely passes into History? When the president of the United States seems to feel more comfortable with the North Korean dictator than with his European allies, can his Asian partners continue believing in the guarantee of security that Washington has offered them since the end of the Second World War?

China and Russia attend with undisguised satisfaction to this rapid disintegration of the liberal order. While the West loses strength as a bloc, Eurasia consolidates as a strategic space. This has been highlighted by the first summit of the SCO in which India and Pakistan have participated as new partners, and to which Iran was invited as the next candidate for accession. The cohesion of the group should not be overestimated, but the contrast is significant, especially when China replaces the United States as the main defender of a multilateral system. Self-absorbed in their unilateralist preferences, Washington does not propose an alternative order to the dismantling of the post-war order, but what about Europe? This is the third question incited by the events of the week: what will the European Union do when the transatlantic relationship loses steam and its interests are directly affected by the geopolitical reconfiguration of Eurasia? (Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)