Amb. Wadhwa will offer an overview of the issue and also explore in-depth, the China angle as also the perspective of Russia.
Ambassador Tayal: Since July this year North Korea’s (NK) missile and nuclear program has accelerated. After a few failures last year, NK has had a series of successful missile launches of Intermediate-range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM), and possibly Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The sixth nuclear test on 3 September 2017 has confirmed that NK is now a de facto Nuclear Weapons power with a credible strike capacity up to Guam. Despite nine UNSC Resolutions, sanctions and belligerent ultimatums from President Trump, it is evident that NK is on course to acquire credible capacity to strike at US mainland. Because of strong South Korean (ROK) opposition, a first strike by US is not an option for Trump. The stated objective of US, ROK and the international community needs to change from ‘de-nuclearization of Korean Peninsula’ to ‘containment of a nuclear North Korea.’ US and South Korea need to assess the long term targets of Kim Jong-un as NK attains credible nuclear deterrence against US. Does NK crave only ‘regime survival’ or it has goals to change the borders? Is unification by force or a change in Northern Limit Line (NLL) also in its sights? Is ‘extended nuclear deterrence’ by US still dependable? Should South Korea seek its own deterrence capacity against NK? The options before US and ROK in response to a nuclear NK would be discussed in the presentation.
Dr. Sandip Kumar Mishra: North Korea’s nuclear issue is considered to be an intricate issue which is posited in contemporary regional security dynamics as well North Korea quest for security and ‘bargaining tool’. In recent years, the issue has further flared up to a dangerous level. In recent months, there have been sharp exchanges of rhetoric between the US and North Korean leaders. News and reports about the North Korea’s nuclear issue are largely focused in its contemporary dimensions. It means that most of the debates talk about statements, policies, roles and policies of involved countries and more specifically about the intent and objective of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in last few years. Undoubtedly, these are very important dimensions of the issue. However, the debate would be more insightful, if a historical perspective of the issue is also given sufficient space in the contemporary debates. Actually North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons has a historical context, in which North Korea’s threat perceptions got shaped up. Thus, to comprehend and resolve the current nuclear issue in North Korea, it would be pertinent to keep informed about its moorings and course.
About the Speakers:
Ambassador Anil Wadhwa served as Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs between 2014 and 2016. He was India’s Ambassador to the Italy (2016-17), Thailand (2011-2014), Poland (2004-2007) and Oman (2007-2011). He handled the portfolios of Russia and Eastern Europe in the Ministry of External Affairs and also worked on disarmament-related issues for 14 years, including a seven-year stint with the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons in The Hague (1993-2000). He also served in China twice, at the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva and in Hong Kong. Ambassador Wadhwa has contributed several articles, mainly in the field of disarmament and international security to various publications.
Ambassador Tayal served in Indian Missions in Sofia, Warsaw, Geneva and Moscow, after joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1976. He was India’s Consul General in Johannesburg (1996-98) and Houston (2002-05), and Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan (2005-08). He was Ambassador of India to the Republic of Korea during 2008-11. Ambassador Tayal was Secretary of the Indian National Commission for UNESCO during 1991-95 and served briefly as the Director in charge of IITs in the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. He was Joint Secretary (Consular, Passport and Visa) in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Chief Passport Officer of India during 1999-2002. He is currently a guest professor in Delhi University and Vice President of India-ROK Friendship Society.
Dr. Sandip Kumar Mishra is an Associate Professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi. He writes a monthly column named East Asia Compass at the IPCS website. He completed his Master degree in International Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University and obtained his MPhil and PhD degrees from the same university working in the field of Korean Studies. He studied Korean Language in South Korea and has been a Visiting Fellow and Visiting Scholar at many South Korean research institutes and universities. He also had a unique opportunity to visit North Korea on a research trip in 2013. The areas of his research interests are Inter-Korea Relations, North Korean Nuclear Issue, International Relations of East Asia and Korea, East Asian Security, and India-Korea Relations.
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