14 July 2015
Recent diplomatic engagements between North Korea and Russia have raised the prospect of a resumption of denuclearisation talks between the Pyongyang regime and the international community. Although Russian envoy Grigory Logvinov pronounced a month ago that Moscow would not support any “behind the back” agreement regarding North Korea’s nuclear programme, it could still play a significant role in getting Pyongyang to address the issue on a bilateral basis.
Two developments encourage this prospect: Firstly, North Korea’s economic ties with Russia have witnessed significant growth. Both countries declared 2015 as the “Year of Friendship”. Last April they organised a meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Science and Technology, with proposals underway for cooperation in a variety of areas such as agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and tourism. Secondly, on 21 June 2015 Choe Thae-bok, Speaker of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, travelled to Moscow, presumably to ask for aid. Recent reports from the KCNA, substantiated by South Korean scientists, suggest that North Korea is gripped by a severe drought – a development that is bound to have a major impact on the political economy of the state.
… Akanksha Sharma is a research analyst at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015