Peace Regime on the Korean Peninsula and in the Northeast Asia:
Views of a Russian Woman
                                                                                          Nina Lebedeva,
                                                                                          Ph.D., Lead Scholar at the Institute of
                                                                                          Oriental Studies, the Russian Academy
                                                                                          of Sciences, Moscow, the RF,
                                                                                          Member of the Women`s Union of 

                   Dear Chairperson! Dear Colleagues! Dear Friends!
 Exactly one Yearis past since we, representatives of the North East Asian (NEA) women   met in Washington in the walls of the famous George Washington University. There we discussed very urgent and complicated problems of stability, reconciliation and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula (KP) and in the NEA. Participants at the "2009 Northeast Asian Women`s Peace Conference" entitled "Negotiating Regional Peace, Reconciliation and Cooperation" adopted a special joint statement. In this document we emphasized the importance of comprehensive approach to fostering peace on the Korean Peninsula, urged the U.S.A. Government to include women`s Track II initiatives in support of the official Six-Party Talks (SPT) etc.
 What recent noticeable events and shifts in the world have happened in the sphere of security and peace? How did they impact on the situation in the NEA and the North (NK) and South Koreas (SK)? Did this region become more peaceful and harmonious? What perspectives can we expect in near future? Of course,I can not give you all answers of full value to these questions. I will tryto note the most alarming and sorest points and express my opinions.
                  The External factors at the Global LevelOn one hand, we witness the ongoing financial crisis, which has highlighted the fragility and overall imbalance in global economic governance. At the same time, rising and powerful members of the global system have yet to take their place at the table of wide range of international forums managing regional and multilateral relationships in the sphere of "old"and "new", non-traditional security issues. Concepts of "security" and "peace" are becoming broader than before. They arevery close and interdependent in practical policy and human being realm.
 It is very disturbing fact of recent times that non-military "new threats"often arise at the interface between military security and "human security" under the conditions of climate change and ecological cataclysms, especially dangerous in 2010. We must remember about mass victims and consequences of such disasters not only as wars and conflicts but also as an earthquake on Haiti, an eruption of the volcano in Iceland, an ecological oil catastrophein Mexican gulf, forest fires in Portugal and Russia, enormous floods in Pakistan, Europe and China etc. We must remember about particular fragility of peace and security of mankind not only because of military and conflict reasons, but also because of violation of ecological balanceon the Earth.
 Recovery from the global crisis, the impact of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion, the sharp rise in military exports, and the surge in military spending after September 11, 2001 have all contributed to making the last years hard times for many states.
 Moreover challenges from "new" key powers (China, India, Brazil etc.), other global risks, G.Bush world war on terror influenced on the status and prestige of the USA as a hegemonic superpower. Therefore Washington tried to strengthen its existing bilateral coalitions, further expanded and deepened its cooperative relations with its allies everywhere more vigorously than before
From a military standpoint, a variety of measures (for example, "revolution in military affairs" (RMA), new nuclear doctrine, Barack Obama administration "overseas contingency operations" etc.) and flexible response-strategies can strengthen Washington` s deterrent.
But in sum, for long-term outlook of global politics, the U.S. predominant power relative to other future "great powers" can actually decrease.Therefore the frequency, intensity of conflicts among the key powers will rise considerably. This confrontationwill be built under new circumstances, where competing and conflicting powers among the hegemonic and rising to higher status states will become more apparent. This will induce a greater possibility of negative changes in international relations and politics.
On the other hand, in 2009-2010 we witness new positive trends in field of security. I remind you some facts - the initiativeof B.Obama in Prague in April 2009 on nuclear weapon banning (the first presidential administration did so) warming of Russian-American relations; the signing of Russian-American new agreement on Comprehensive offensive arms in 2010 in Prague (it is needed in final ratifying)  B.Obama order not to deploy Missile Defense installations in Poland and Czech Republic the international summit on nuclear security, which held in April 2010 in Washington etc.  It isnoteworthy that 47 participants of the summit were unanimous in supporting the principles of Non-proliferation etc. Regrettably, that neither Iran nor the North Korea were invited to Washington.
However, all these trends give us some hopes for better in the NEA and on the KP. But we must admit that to build a durable peace regime in the region is a difficult task. Since the division of the Korean Peninsula, the cold-war structurehas continued for six decades. The NEA and Korean peace regime cannot be accomplished overnight through one political leader`s strong resolve or through one-time diplomatic negotiation or declaration. Moreover, a peace regime is harder to realize when we stand still with arms folded and allow an arms race to be pursued in parallel with the strengthening of respective security alliances in the region, the existence of foreign bases, strained confrontation and misunderstanding between regional states. 
             Peace regime in the NEA ? reality or myth?
Whether this question is just or disputable? I will try to examine the main features of the situation here. The region is a mosaic of divergent cultures, religion and political regime types, historical estrangements, today misunderstanding, contradictions and suspiciousness, shifting power balances and rapid economic changes. In my view, the NEA is in transition. The key questions concern the character, the pace and directions of such transition. Basically they are following:
-      The post-cold war regional structure is eroding. Meanwhile the NEA is becoming the world`s largest weapon market. It is still a home to enormous US military presence. For instance, in addition to old bases, U.S. and Japan are planning the relocation of American air base in Futenma and construction of a new base at Henokoin Okinawa, the relocation of training facilities for US Air Force fighter planes and the relocation of marines to Guam. At the same time, new challenges and risks, such as a nuclear NK, a changing Japan, difficult-to-solve territorial disputes in the region and perhaps, most importantly the "security dilemma" arising from a power shift in the NEA emerged as potentially destabilizing factors.
-      One, the most evident factor of them is Chinese-American relations. It is well known that great-power rivalry has been one of main drivers of destabilization in international relations and arms race in past decades. Some American experts consider China as a global trade and economic partner, investor. The Pentagon has identifies China as the only potential rival or hegemon on the horizon that stands a chance of challenging the unipolar power of the United States in the future. In some degree this view relies on the Chinese military budget. It is the true (want we or not) in near future China will rise to the second great-power status economically with a military that may be equal of its economy. To maintain a measure of stability along its enormous border and with its numerous, often unstable neighbors and inner problems it needs a sizable military.
 China needs it also to defense its territorial integrity, access to markets and natural resources that feed its economic growth. In recent years, however, China has spentconsiderable sums to beef up capabilities of its military forces. It is interesting whether China canoverstep the thin edge of defense reasons and power projection over distance ? only time will show. This uncertainty regarding China military modernization leads to hot debates in the U.S., Japan and other states onhow best to interpret and respond to Chinese economic and military rise.
-      The uprising military spending in the NEA is unarguable.  It is paradox, but the states-members of the Six-Party Talks (SPT) are responsible for the lion`s share of world military spending. In the past 10 years military expenditures in the whole East Asia have increased by 55%.  The U.S., launching two wars in the last decade along with a global war on terror, was responsible for 42% of world military spending in 2008. Of course, not all of them had much with the NEA. 
         China, N. and S. Koreas, Japan expressed different external and internal reasons for the recent modernization of their military potentials. Some of them had to increase its spending simply to keep up with the modernization of U.S. forces. Another fears of falling behind an adversary`s capabilities or behind new standards of modern sophisticated weapons and technological advances in networked warfare. The post-September 11 era impacted also on the new wave of military budget increases in the region.  China became the second leading military spending in the world in 2008. South Korea increased spending by 20% and may be more as part of its Defense 2020 program. Japan is developinghigh-tech military technology and BMD (in collaboration with the US). Over the last years Japan spent around $150 million this joint project. As a whole, the large surge in such dangerous tendency reflects the vulnerability and instability of regional security in the NEA.
-      I have to say a few words about Russia. Itincreased its military budget by 25% in 2009 to make up for deterioration of its capabilities during the economic crisis of the 1990-safter the collapse of the USSR. As I think, Russia has no longer any ambitions beyond its near abroad and near regions. Russia is concerned with NATO expansion, but to restart arms race with anyone is notin its national interests. That was bitter experience.
     Russia observes the situation on the KP and the NEA very attentively because of its security, economic and political interests in the region.Presidents D. Medvedev and B.Obama discussed several times the NK nuclear issues - in Moscow in July 2009, at different world forums and summits, in the "G20". This year Russia and the South Korea celebrate the 20-th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. I believe that during the forthcoming official D.Medvedev visit to the ROK in autumn 2010, Presidents of both states - D.Medvedev and Lee Myung-bak will discuss not only the most urgent problems of the RF and the ROK interactions, but also global issues, including the NK nuclear program, principles of NPT, peace regime and stability in the NEA and on the KP.
-      In order to strengthen American position Washington is expected to expend its coalitions, developing global coalition network. In short, Pentagon intents to intensify interchanges with strategically significant allies and restrain the influence of challenging powers. From its regional allies - Japan and the SK -Washington requires alliance readiness N1, modernization of their forces, contribution to the U.S. wars, access to territory for bases and deployment of American forces, etc and etc. The alliance is a heavy burden. Spending for keeping U.S. forces and bases on own land has gone up and up recently. It is very dangerous also, that the U.S., Japan and the SK make every effort to restore the Three Part Sides mechanism of military coordination.
        But some experts consider that in responseto larger responsibilities of Japan or the SK Washington gives to them a "nuclear umbrella" as a powerful defense weapon. But it is a two-edge weapon and a dangerous weapon.It is well known that both Japan and the SK are crammed with nuclear power stations. Comments are unnecessary.
The Korean Peninsula ? hard way to peace and reconciliation
  It is evident that the creation of peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and new security architecture in the NEA may well prove to be some of the most consequential for the regional order in the 21st century.
The Lee Myung-bak government who won the presidential election on a conservative platform in the end of 2008, took hard line towards the NKand its nuclear program, put aside the idea of the gradual national rapproachement process envisioned by his two predecessors, demonstrated new priorities in his politics. In result, the inter-Korean relations were deeply transformed from productive cooperation to threshold of new "cold war". Achieved with such difficulties and obstacles economic (with the exception of Kaesong industrial zone), trade, cultural, social interactions, exchanges between women organizationsand even human visits between families were weakened or stopped (all of you know better numerous details).
 According to some Korean scholars`opinions,President Lee policy preference lay in the principle - inter-Korean ties must be changed from an "intra-national" relationship into an "inter-state" one, from Korea as one people with one aspiration for reunification to Korea as two states with different objectives. It made the achievement of many goals of rapproachement much more difficult. Meanwhile, as a whole, it is needed to take into account the following factors:
1. Two states are antipodes economically, politically, ideologically, with respect to human rightsand so on, although the Korean nation is homogeneous, it lived on the KP as one and indivisible people for more than 13 centuries.
2. Both states make great prior conditions and demands to each other on solution of urgent problems, as in field of security, so in inner and foreign politics.
3. Politicians of the highest rang of both Governments do not want to share power as such with a rival.
4. There are steady fears from the near neighbors in the NEA that a unified Korea can turn into a potential new Asian giant. According one of a Goldman Sachs analyst, a united Korean economy would leave behind Japan after reunification in several decades.
5. The U.S. and Japan fear to lose the exclusive control on one of two Koreas. Besides American or Japanesesecurity and economic interests may be touched on in that case not in their advantage.
But the most sensitive core of security problems on the KP is a military realm ? nuclearization of the NK, probable "effect of domino", wave in military spending, modernization of weapon, atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust, endless military provocations etc. For example, the Cheonan fregatesinking incident last March (more than 40 sailors were lost) demonstrated the possibility of easily escalation of tensions to a dangerous crisiseither on the KP or in the West (Yellow) Sea Northern Limit Line. To our sorry, but it is not the last incident in such strained atmosphere. In past provocations from both sides and responses to them were quite enough.
Reflecting on the threats of the NK nuclear program everyone can put a question to himself ? how and why did it appear in such poor and underdeveloped state? The NK decision to go nuclear appears to be affected by its threat perception of American nuclear and combined ROK-US conventional forces, as well by the need to seek the most economic way of dealing with these threatsand coping with its inferiority in conventional forces. The NK leaders use it as a tool in the adopted doctrine of "military-first politics". Either this doctrine or the NK nuclearization help to keep safe the Kim family regime, to provide for the security of the state and to get larger foreign aid to sustain militarized command economics, to bargain (to blackmail sometimes) with its adversaries. With their logic - the "stronger nuclear card" means the broader space for manoeuvring in their demands for aid etc. It is true that most of former donors solved this "mystery" and practically stopped their aid to the NK (with the exception of China, the SK cut its aid too).
Not all experts believed in effectiveness of the NK nuclear testing for long time. However,  2009 test was quite successful, although in sum the NK has not yet developed long-range missiles capable of threatening the U.S. land. But it does have ability to cause damage to the SK and Japan with its short and medium-range missiles.
The SK has rapidly increased its defense budget in recent years. Spending of 26.6 trillion won in 2008 represented a twofold increase from ten years ago. Now the Ministry of National Defense plans an annual average increase of 7.6% to 53.3 trillion won by 2020. Defense Reform 2020 Plan noted that the Korean army required transforming not only into modern forces but into a futuristic force structure with developed information-science technology of the 21st century.
In August 2010 President Lee offered to the NK leaders to stop military provocations, to reestablish peaceful interactions and create the community of national unity. Some days later the NK leaders said "no".
 Whether two Koreas can be reconciled and can find their way to reunification? Million and million of the Koreans put this question to themselves for more than a half of a century. They have different answers, own vision of future destiny, own opinions. I feel that far from everybody in the SK agrees for reunification in near future. Some of them will be afraid of association with such a poor and hungry country(there is no famine now, but systematic under-nourishment). This joining can reduce habitual standards of life, effect on social atmosphere and so on. There is a lot of trouble in store for the Koreans…I think that at present the task № 1 is fostering peace coexistence and reconciliation of the North and South. We should not lose our heart, our head, our nerve, our hope.
 The development of innovative mechanism of cooperation for peace regime and disarmamentis now urgently needed. At this critical juncture in history and region, only a cooperative-security approach can lead the way to the creation of stability and a new order of international relations. 
 1. All of us aware quite clearly that failure to block NK`s nuclearization could set off nightmarish nuclear domino effect in the region, which no one wants. Consequently, all nuclear ambitions should be thwarted. Reducing the threat environment through a peace regime on the KP and in the NEA is the surest way to a nuclear-free zone here. 
 2. A peace regime could start with essential steps such as inter-Korean military confidence-building measures, arms control, reduction in conventional forces, and transformation of armistice agreement into viable peace architecture. Efforts to dismantle the cold-war structure prevailing in the region should be undertaking in tandem. US-NK and Japan-NK diplomatic normalization are the most critical elements. Simultaneously, a new page should be opened in other inter-Korean interactions ?in trade, economic cooperation, culture, "people-to-people" exchanges, especially between women and women`s organizations  etc.
 3. The formation of a multilateral security cooperation mechanism in the region can facilitate such a process. Many provocations and real threats, increased defense budgets, and futile conventional and nuclear arms race can no longer be justified. The Six Power Talks have to play specific role not only to control the nuclear NK program and denuclearization on the KP but also to create the permanent security mechanism in the NEA. The SPT have already mandated a working group to consider these ideas. The NEA states have to stir up the SPT and urge the NK to return into the regime of the SPT. In addition to the SPT other innovative structures of negotiations can be brought forward, such as the US ? the NK, China ? the NK ?the US. The American new democratic administration is inclined to more active dialogue with the NK. This circumstance gives the hope to overcome some problems and deadlocks.
 4. Discouraging great-power competition is one of the best ways to avoid the worst-case scenario of out-of-control arms race in region. Why do states of the NEA are spending gigantic sum of money for piles and piles of arms? Let governments spend money for health, development and prosperity of women and their children! In 2010 Russia celebrated 150- anniversary from the birthday of the world-known outstanding Russian writer Anton Chekhov.To him belong very wise words, stated in one of his genius plays "The seagull" ? "If a rifle is hanging on the wall, some time it should certainly fire". We must urge governments of all NEA states if not to stop but to limit military spending in the NEA. 
 5. Some nations and first of all the NK view the realignment of US bases in Japan and SK as a threat. If the relocation of US bases leads to the construction of new bases within Japan or elsewhere, and increases expenses to that end, a key opportunity for removing these threats will have been lost. In order to serve the purpose of regional peace, the realignment of US bases must be used to close redundant bases and promote their withdrawal. 
 6. I would like to attract your attention to the next world summit on nuclear disarmament in Seoul in 2012. I am convinced that the SK will do itsbest to use such a global platform to discuss and solve urgent problems of denuclearization on the KP, to stop effect of "nuclear domino" in the region. Undoubtedly, this conference can attract very broad world and regional audience which issincerely concerned about stability, denuclearization, disarmament and cooperation on the KP and in the NEA.
 7. The most important and energetic role in this event of world significance must be played by women and peace Non-government Organizations of the South Korea, such as Korean Women`s Association United, Women Making Peace, Women`s Council of Korean Committee for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC)and affiliated organizations (Center for realizing peace on the KP, Center for resolving conflicts, the Korea Women`s Institute for peace Studies etc).The Korean women peace activists have already made every effort to support inter-Korean dialogue, practical system work in numerous directions, to organize two NEA peace conferences. They have got a broad public resonance and echoes in the media. Now we must demand the implementation   of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which urges on the broaderparticipation of women in peace and post conflict reconstruction, in discussion on security and defense affairs. 
 As the first practical step, we must establish a special Women`s Council for the Six-Party Talks.After that, as the second step, we must demand concretely to include the NEA women - peace leaders in the Six-Party Talks. Within the framework of the SPT, its subcommittees or working groups women-leaders can discuss regional alarming problems of nuclear threats, conflicts, limitation of military budgets, problems of peace regime creation, urgent humanitarian issues etc.
Thank you very much for your attention.  My best and sincere wishes to you a great success in all your noble ideas and practical activities!
                                              Nina Lebedeva

1. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 2007-2009, The SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 2008-2009, Stockholm.
2. International Institute for Strategic Studies,  Military Balance (various issues), London
3. Foreign Affairs, (various issues), 2007-2010.
4. Asian Survey, University of California Press, Berkley, Ca., vol. XLVIII-XLIX, 2007-2010.
5. East Asian Review, Seoul, (various issues), 2008-2009.
6.  Strategic Analysis, Bimonthly Journal of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi, (various issues), 2007-2009.
7. Key  "actors" in the "Great play" in Asia in the beginning of the XXI century, Papers, Moscow, 2008  (in Russian). 


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