Russia’s Asia “Pivot” with Focus on Energy

     In this broadcast,“Asia-in- Review” Host Hong Jiang explores Russia’s recent foreign policy and geopolitical shifts into Asia followed by its fascinating energy moves into the Region with international business lawyer & professor,  David Day.

     The program starts with the recent Russian foreign policy moves into the Middle East after the U.S. Syria debacle, followed by the new Russian military arms sales to Egypt, and some discussion of Russia’s client nuclear state, Iran. The Russian geopolitical moves into Asia are next, as Hong Jiang discusses with Mr. Day, Putin’s recent trip to Vietnam, along with Russia’s  (1) Kilo class submarine sales to Vietnam,(2)  mutual defense pact, and then (3), new joint venture operations between Vietnam’s PetroVietnam and Russian energy companies for joint oil & gas exploration efforts in both the South China (“East Sea” in Vietnam) and the Artic Seas.

     Next, the conversation turns to the critical and fascinating energy “pivot” that Russia is now engaged in, shifting its focus from its former European gas and oil pipeline customers to new pipeline developments with Japan, South Korea, and yes, even North Korea.

     Russia’s foreign policy regarding The Korean Peninsula is also probed.

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North Korea’s Refugees: Canary in the Coal Mine?

As this show is broadcast, there are a series of interviews being conducted in Seoul by a UN panel on human rights which is now hearing harrowing accounts of brutality in North Korean prisons.

Sunna An formerly, Office of Chief of Staff  Blue House  Republic of Korea, North Korean Refugee matters

Sunna An
formerly, Office of Chief of Staff
Blue House
Republic of Korea, North Korean Refugee matters

Witnesses have been testifying about being forced to watch the brutal executions of family members along with torture and other horrific human rights violations. The North Korean refugee numbers for South Korea are climbing. Is this issue the “canary in the coal mine” for Pyongyang? What is the situation really like on the ground? What actions are governments and international organizations undertaking to handle this horrific problem?

Hosted by David Day, this is a sobering and yet fascinating conversation with Ms. Sunna An, formerly with the Office of the Chief of Staff for South Korea’s Blue House working on North Korean refugee matters. Ms. An is now a Kelly Fellow with Pacific Forum, CSIS.

 

 

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American Eyes Inside North Korea’s Nuclear Facilities and Others

Nicole FinnemanFormerly, Korea Economic Institute, Washington, D.C.

Nicole Finneman
Formerly, Korea Economic Institute,
Washington, D.C

 

 

 

Hosted by David Day, this television program aired statewide in Hawaii and features, as its special guest, Ms. Nicole Finneman, formerly with the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Finneman, an American eyewitness inside North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility and other fascinating facilities and locations throughout the country, talks about those experiences.

The conversation turns from the Yongbyon visit to the potential business and commerce development in North Korea and references American firms now lining up to do business in North Korea in the future, including the Korean-American-owned, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (a private university).

Ms. Finneman talks about her visits to various commercial enterprises, the Koryolink mobile phone explosion in the country, and the market/commercial developments within the country. (Koryolink, a joint venture between the Egyptian company Orascom Telecom Holdings and the state-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation, is North Korea’s only 3G mobile operator.)

Nicole also discusses  her visit to the digital libraries at Kim Il Sung University and their remarkable high tech facilities which many universities in the U.S. currently do not have…but only connected to an intranet–no internet.

Finally, Ms. Finneman and David Day talk about the infrastructure for commerce and foreign investment that is now being put into place in North Korea and her crystal-ball view of the potential for change in that country.

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The Korean War & Its Armistice: Unfinished Framework for a Future

Hyunh-Oh Kim, Consul for Political Affairs Consulate, Republic of Korea

Hyun-Oh Kim, Consul for Political Affairs Consulate, Republic of Korea, Honolulu

               June 25, 1950 marked the beginning of the Korean War and in Hawaii, as well as in many other locations around the globe, ceremonies of commemoration were held. The ceremony in Hawaii is the starting point for this conversation that covers a brief overview of the Korean War, its decimation of South Korea, and the uneasy truce that punctuates the DMZ–all of which has served to create a framework for the unfinished future of Northeast Asia. Korean Consul Kim discusses the rise of South Korea, literally from ashes, to the global stage and credits that rise, in significant part, to the critical involvement of the United States in the war and its assistance to South Korea in the rebuilding process.

Seongho Hong  Kelley Fellow  Pacific Forum CSIS

Seongho Hong
Kelley Fellow
Pacific Forum CSIS

Seongho Kim, talks about the missing piece in the framework for Northeast Asia–North Korea. He also emphasizes that the Korean War Armistice froze the 2 Koreas in place, along the DMZ, and effectively blocked the Korean peninsula from developing economically to its full potential. Both Counsel Kim and Seongho drill down on the missing piece and the need to somehow get North Korea back to the bargaining table for not only nuclear talks but also the discussion of economic development (for North Korea) options.

 

Kerry Gershaneck, former US Marine Officer stationed in Korea and Senior Associate and Director of Governmental Affairs, Pacific Forum CSIS

Kerry Gershaneck, former US Marine Officer stationed in Korea and Senior Associate and Director of Governmental Affairs, Pacific Forum CSIS

Finally, the discussion between Consul Kim, Seongho Hong and Kerry Gershaneck looks at Mdme. President Park’s current visit to Beijing and the interesting language issued in the Joint Communique between China and South Korea directed at North Korea.

Host: David Day

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The Asia-Pacific Region’s Flashpoints: An Update

Brad Glosserman Executive Director Pacific Forum, CSIS

Brad Glosserman
Executive Director
Pacific Forum, CSIS

Pacific Forum CSIS’s Executive Director, Brad Glosserman, reviews with David Day the key tense and potentially dangerous security Flashpoints that the Asia-Pacific Region now faces.

 

Asia Pacific Region

Asia Pacific Region

The conversation places these Flashpoints in the context of the rising economic dynamism of the Region, the re-focus of the “whole of government and business” into the Region and its need for stability and security. Potential border spillover Flashpoints are considered with (1)  the ethnic violence in Myanmar,(2) the latest developments in the South China Sea disputes (including the possibility of China now dragging Malaysia into the fray, in addition to the Philippines and Vietnam), (3) China’s dispute with Japan over the Senkakus, and (4) the current situation with the enhanced bellicose rhetoric coming out of North Korea.

 

Hosted by David Day

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Chalk Up Yet Another Successful Round for North Korea

Kim Kyong Hui - The Auntie

Kim Kyong Hui – The Auntie

North Korea has done it again, but this time at the helm of its new, young leader, Kim Jong Un. Meaning what? The current round of enflamed bellicosity has served North Korea well. It has been a 24/7 infomercial for the country’s arms sales client states, including Iran and Syria, as well as other potential rogue countries and terrorist organizations. The infomercial continues to underscore the respect that the most developed nations in the world accord North Korean arms technology and weaponry. It also sends a strong message of encouragement for other would-be nuclear regimes to get into the nuclear club as quickly as possible (i.e. Syria and Iran) as a means of status, and more importantly, regime preservation.

            The nuclear option, North Korea teaches, makes even the most outrageous conduct acceptable and immunizes a regime from attack. It is a powerful message and demonstration by Pyongyang that does not serve the interests of peace and stability well. Secretary Kerry’s entreaty to North Korea that the U.S. is willing now to sit down and talk, provided Pyongyang will agree to give up the nuclear card is somewhere between silly and naive. Perhaps it is a good policy statement for the folks in Foggy Bottom, but it is just not going to happen.

            Despite another successful dictator encouragement/arms sales PR round, Pyongyang still needs the final offramp to get off the current bellicosity highway. The threatened missile test is one option—but a dangerous one. The rhetoric is been cranked up so high that a missile test will have to be executed in a direction certain not to arouse confusion or mistake and a possible retaliatory strike. Even a short range missile test is a risky move for Pyongyang under the current atmosphere that it has created. What then is the offramp option? Prepare for a second nuclear test. This will allow Pyongyang to pull off a move not likely to generate a retaliatory strike– plus it has the added propaganda and PR advantage of North Korea thumbing its nose to the United Nations, China and the U.S. in the face of the recent sanctions imposed on it for the country’s last nuclear test earlier this year.

            So when is such a test likely to occur? The best propaganda move for Pyongyang would be to execute the test on or around April 15, when a large celebration is planned for the country. April 15th is a significant date for North Korea. It is the birthdate of the current leader’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung. The deceased grandfather is known as North Korea’s “Eternal President” or “President for life.”

There is greater significance beyond just the office held between the former North Korean leader, Kim Il Sung, and their current leader Kim Jong Un. The link between the two comes by a rarely spoken of yet incredibly important female by name of Kim Kyong-hui.

Kim Kyong-hui is one of the last living “old guard” within North Korea’s communist dynasty. She is Kim Jong Un’s aunt and just so happens to be the daughter of North Korea’s “Eternal President.” Many intelligence analysts who focus on Asian affairs believe Kim Kyong-hui is the true leader in North Korea today as she is the one who specifically instructs Kim Jong Un on each decision he makes.

So how does all of this fit together? April 15, and the days around it, is the opportunity for Kim Jong Un to please his most important Aunt and mentor. He can do this with a major display of the country’s military might. A show of strength works wonders to show her that her father’s country is in strong, capable hands.

It all comes together in the coming hours and days. This round has been won and the offramps of a nuclear test and the more risky, missile test are in sight.

 

 

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Eastern Europe & Stability on the Korean Peninsula

A provocative discussion on North Korea’s relationship with the former Soviet Eastern-Block countries and their impact upon the stability on the Korean Peninsula. This interesting conversation examines the diplomatic history, the current ongoing trade and aid relationships, and examines the soft power that these Eastern European nations now have with North Korea and how that soft power might be utilized to assist North Korea to navigate a path of economic reform.

This program also proves the viewer with an unusual glimpse of recent European private sector company investments in North Korea.

This television show , aired statewide in Hawaii, features as its special guest, Petra Dunne, a Kelly Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS and a former member of the Czech Republic delegation to the UN. The show is hosted by David Day.

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Pacific Forum CSIS & Its “Diamond” Linkages for Business Executives in the Asia Pacific Region

David Day hosts Pacific Forum CSIS‘s President Ralph Cossa and its Executive Director, Brad Glosserman in this television broadcast which covers some of the key macro issues now facing the Asia Region. This program also unveils the “Best Kept Secret” among business executives dealing with Asia, Pacific Forum, and the show examines the “why” and “how” of mining Pacific Forum’s knowledge and relationship “Diamonds.”

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