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Two Koreas–One Road: The future of cooperation between North Korea, South Korea and Russia

Vladimir Putin has proposed multilateral economic projects which would involve both Korean states and Russia.

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There is a real possibility that in spite of US attempts to resolve the Korean crisis though economic warfare and the threat of renewed military action, that a totally different approach is being taken about regional powers.

While it has received little media attention, the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok has been the first major international event outside of tense UN meetings where representatives from North and South Korea have been present in the same room in recent years.

Moreover, the meeting has seen the presence of South Korean President Moon Jae-in who held one to one talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is hosting the event.

President Putin proposed joint Russian–South Korean–North Korean economic initiatives as the most positive and mutually beneficial manner to bring peace, reconciliation and increased prosperity to Korea and the wider region.

The proposals were met with the following positive response from President Moon,

“We have arranged to strengthen the base for implementing trilateral projects involving both Koreas and Russia. The projects aim at consolidating the Korean Peninsula and Russia’s Far East.

Both nations realise a free trade agreement between South Korea and the EAEU will boost cooperation not only between Moscow and Seoul but also between Russia and members of the union”.

Moon further stated that his country is in talks with Russia over purchasing liquefied natural gas from Russia as well as in discussions over further joint participation in oil exploration projects on Sakhalin island.

At the same time, North Korea’s Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Kim Young-jae held discussions with Russia’s Far East Development Minister Aleksandr Galushka on the best ways to pursue economic cooperation.

Galushka stated,

“Our Korean partners seek to develop trade and economic relations. But we drew their attention to the fact that missile and nuclear activities suppress the opportunity to develop trade and economic ties, severely damage the trade and economic aspect of our relations.

We asked them to refrain from such actions in the future, as they bring to naught the efforts of the (Russia –North Korea) intergovernmental commission”.

The Russian approach to trade with North and South Korea, something which would almost certainly involve cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul, appears to be a far more tenable approach to the present situation than America’s proposals which are based on threatening North Korea into compromise as opposed to the Russian plan which is essentially the classic carrot and stick model. Russia seeks to use the prospect of material gain to woo North Korea into a position of de-escalation.

In many ways, the most realistic first step would be the construction of a Russia-Korean Economic Corridor which would necessarily traverse both Korean states.

With Donald Trump stating his desire to pull out of the free trade agreement between the US and South Korea, a free trade agreement between South Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union, a free trading bloc founded by Russia, could be an obvious substitute. In this sense, Donald Trump has helped to push South Korea closer to Russia on the key issue of trade.

Such a reality would necessitate overland shipping routes between South Korea and Russia, in addition to existing maritime routes. Such a land route, whether rail based, truck based or both, would have to go through North Korea.

President Putin hinted at the presence of not only a transport corridor but also of trans-Korean gas pipelines emanating from Russia. He stated that Russia is currently considering projects involving Korea that would include, “piping Russian gas to Korea, and integration of the electric grids and railway systems of Russia, South and North Korea”.

He went on to say,

“Implementation of the initiatives will not only have economic benefits, but will also contribute to strengthening trust and stability in the Korean Peninsula”.

It is obvious that the Korean Peninsula’s problems cannot be solved only with sanctions and pressure. One should not give in to emotion and drive North Korea into a corner”.

While Russia continues to call on North Korea to pause its weapons tests, Vladimir Putin has conceded that trying to get North Korea to give up its weapons in total at this point in time, is an unrealistic goal due to the examples of Libya and Iraq which were destroyed by a US invasion, one that could not be defended because neither country had a WMD deterrent.

The Russian President stated,

“They (in North Korea) view the possession of atomic weapons and missile technology as their only means of protection. Do you think they’ll give it up now?

The build-up of some military atmosphere, of hysteria, is counter-productive, in my opinion. It will lead to nothing, because what is happening now, of course, is a provocation from North Korea. This is quite obvious. They are provoking the situation, but if they are doing it, they are not stupid people, believe me. So, they expect the corresponding reaction from (their) partners, and they achieve it”.

Putin then referred to the last time Pyongyang and Washington had direct talks. In 2005, both sides were on the verge of agreeing to a nuclear deal wherein North Korea would disarm if allowed to build nuclear power stations. Washington refused the offer and tensions continued to build thereafter.

Vladimir Putin clearly saw this as a lost opportunity and without naming the part responsible for the failure of the 2005 talks,clearly blamed the US for failing to capitalise on the 2005 would-be deal.

He said,

“We almost agreed on everything in 2005. Agreements were reached, according to which North Korea assumed the obligation to curtail the nuclear missile program, and all the other participants in this process promised to contribute to this process, and spoke of the need to restore normal, good relations between the North and the South, on the possibility of implementing tripartite Russia-North-South projects.

But then, unfortunately in my opinion, someone demanded from North Korea what it did not promise, and gradually this situation deteriorated to the current level”.

Russia’s plan presents the world with a genuine opportunity to bring peace to the Korean peninsula. By capitalising on Russia’s historic good will towards the Korean people and the new economic realities which will require deeper trans-Asian cooperation, there is a golden opportunity to turn a tense Korean peninsula into one where economic cooperation could alleviate decades of tension and distrust.

China would almost certainly welcome such measures, not least because of China’s close trading relationship with Russia and the stated desire of Beijing to foster peace on the Korean peninsula.

As for the United States, if the United States was truly concerned with de-escalating Korean tensions, Washington too would support the initiatives. In reality Washington may have an interest in prolonging the situation for two reasons.

First of all, tensions in the region allow the US to promote and justify the sale of further weapons to South Korea and Japan.

Secondly, the crisis allows America to attempt and justify a perpetual military presence in a region near to China which helps complete America’s long-term strategic goal of disrupting China’s One Belt–One Road on all sides. Even Steve Bannon admitted that this was the real reason for America’s ‘concerns’ over North Korea.

READ MORE: America uses North Korea as a transparent excuse for meddling in South Korea and provoking China

In spite of America’s peculiar and somewhat open economic/logistical war with China, there is little the US could do could prohibit a tripartite economic/trading/infrastructure partnership between Russia and the two Korean states.

Such a reality is not only preferable to a state where nuclear war constantly looms, but it is a genuinely postie opportunity for all parties involved.

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JNDillard
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JNDillard

An excellent move by Putin. Will South Korean puppet masters permit it? Unlikely.

BobValdez
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BobValdez

Well, if it IS possible, Russia just might make it happen.

Steve
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Steve

An act of cowardice…. Trying to pet that little pig heard is tantamount to the proverbial saying…. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

Aussie battler
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Aussie battler

Basic common sense, a commodity in short supply
These days,a win win but not for the warmongers!.

GeorgeG
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GeorgeG

Things are moving fast, very fast. — The US has called for a new UNSC meeting Monday next week where they want a vote on a new reslolution against NK and new sanctions. Lavrov in conversation with Tillerson promised to “consider” the US resolution “under certain (publicly unspecified) conditions”. Putin is against new sanctions. Putin’s meeting with Moon and he presence of NK representatives at the EFF not only indicate that Russia and china — of course — will not go along, but there will no simply block the US. Instead, they will be sidestepping the US, navigating around it… Read more »

GlennaMDelp
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GlennaMDelp

until I looked at the bank draft which was of $6661 , I be certain that my brother could truley taking home money in their spare time from their computer. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only 13 months and recently paid the mortgage on their cottage and got a great new Mini Cooper . view it now
http://www.GoogleFinancial523CashJobsFinderLoad/Home/Wage….

LeslieWShaw
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LeslieWShaw

Google is paying 97$ per hour! work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
!sr54d:
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Putin's baby
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Putin's baby

Chess Master Putin smiles as his yank “partners” play pick-up-sticks.

aorpheous
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aorpheous

I disagree with Putin stating that DPRK is provoking the US. To the contrary DPRK responds to the US’s provocations, and militaristic aggression conducting joint military drills with the Sout Koran puppet. It is absurd when there are more than fourty US Military bases in South Korea, and where the Defense budjet of North Korea is only a fraction of that of South, to go berserk about North Korea’s buildup of its nuclear and missile technology, when the US, Russia, and China, that’s all they do: building their nuclear strike capabilities. It is really asinine to demand from a nation… Read more »

Walter Dublanica
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Walter Dublanica

Putin does not want war in his neighborhood so he will work both Korea to come to a sensible settlement. Putin is a diplomat.

S.M. De Kuyper
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S.M. De Kuyper

What Russia is proposing is an excellent solution that by-passes the USA demands for atomic WW111, iron control of China. THAAD will have to be removed!

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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