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North Korea

With North Korea perilously close to becoming a nuclear-weapons state and Pyongyang declaring invalid the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, the already-fragile security situation in the region is hanging by a thread — hostilities have commenced on paper, even if no attack is actually undertaken. By now, the Obama administration must realize that the UN Security Council is unlikely to impose measures sufficient to change the thinking in the North, and a potential attack on the Korean Peninsula risks involving 27,000 US troops pledged to come to the aid of the South. It’s time for significant actions by the Obama administration to restore the region to stability and turn North Korea, which cannot open up and survive — as the Kim regime itself well knows — away from its current perilous trajectory.

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The North Koreans will likely expect something in return for the release of these American prisoners. Negotiations may already be in motion between the Obama administration and the North Korean government.

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North Korea, already under international sanctions for its nuclear and missile programs, has been on a diplomatic campaign to counter charges by U.N. that highlighted widespread human rights abuses. Then the country unexpectedly frees two Americans from captivity, which comes almost three weeks after another detained American was suddenly released. Why has North Korea decided to free those men at this time? The question remains open for speculations.

 

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North Korea may never before have been so completely dependent on the largesse of a single outside benefactor as it is on China today. As a result, Pyongyang can hardly help but focus on reducing the state’s fearsome current dependence on Beijing.

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Reuters

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North Korea has conducted two of its three nuclear tests during the Barack Obama presidency. Rumors of a fourth circulate constantly. Yet the White House has no apparent strategy, diplomatic or otherwise, to restrain Pyongyang’s continuing enrichment and weaponization activities.

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Where's Kim? North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks through a periscope of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang June 16, 2014.

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Once again North Korea is back in the news, and this time it did not secure global headlines by testing a nuclear device.

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What to make of the United Nations? It has a single criterion for membership: existence.

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Stephan (Flickr) (CC by 2.0)

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Image Credit: shutterstock

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