15 August 2015
Diplomatic engagements between North Korea and Russia have raised the prospect that denuclearisation talks between the Pyongyang regime and the international community will resume. Russian envoy Grigory Logvinov pronounced in June 2015 that Moscow would not support any ‘behind the back’ agreement regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, but it could still play a significant role in getting Pyongyang to address the issue on a bilateral basis.
Two developments encourage this prospect. First, North Korea’s economic ties with Russia have witnessed significant growth. Both countries declared 2015 as the ‘Year of Friendship’. In April 2015 they organised a meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. Proposals are underway for cooperation in a variety of areas such as agriculture, energy, infrastructure and tourism.
Second, on 21 June, 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 (North) Korean Central News Agency, 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 state’s political economy.
… 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