IGOs

Ban Ki-moon Reveals His Sinister Plot

Colum Lynch fears the nauseating truth about U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: he’s old-school Korean, which means once he has a political job, he’ll never give it up without a bullet or a nudge from a superior.

The revelation was buried in an official U.N. readout of a New Year’s day exchange Ban had with South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak.


How the Old Hands Do It

Robert Koehler has some chuckles at U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s expense, but it seems even the ancient Middle Kingdom needs some schooling on diplomacy

Sha Zukang’s highly undiplomatic toast to Ban Ki-moon in the Alps last week raises questions about China’s diplomatic commitment to the United Nations, according to senior U.N. officials. Diplomats wonder whether the incident will spur Beijing to take the organization more seriously, and to send its best and brightest to serve at the world body.

“This raises questions about whether China is a mature power,” said a senior U.N.-based diplomat. “The Chinese need to think about this.”


A Reality Check Next for DPRK-US Relations

The Chosun Daily might understand that the Obama administration is skeptical about the Six-Party Talks format, but its perceived solution – it’s Beijing’s responsibility – is becoming more shibboleth than plan.

…some skeptics there argue that the six-party talks are useless and have only aggravated the situation while giving the North Korea breathing space to develop its weapons. This was reflected in a recent remark by former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who said the U.S. is interested in a “new way” that could generate more positive results than the six-way talks.


Where Can I Find An Honest North Korean?

It’s prudent for the US to tap American NGOs, to distribute flood aid to the DPRK, because UNDP appears rotten to the core.

In 2007, the U.S. mission to the U.N. shined a light on the U.N. agency’s record of gross mismanagement while operating in that rogue dictatorship, including large sums of money that vanished after being transferred to Pyongyang and dual-use technology shipped to the North without U.S. export licenses.


Selling What Japan, Inc. Has Left

It’s not that I don’t think geopolitical fears of Beijing’s rise are driving Tokyo’s drive to sign civilian nuclear deals with India, but that Joshua Keating talks about everything but Japan, Inc.’s pressure to compete against its foreign rivals. And, why make hay of anti-nuclear sentiment in Japan; can it really stop a deal?

Japan’s willingness to cooperate on nuclear energy with India is a pretty good indication of how China’s military and economic rise has changed the equation for its neighbors.

The very article Keating produces is mostly about international corporate competition in the nuclear industry, not about nukes.


Seeing the Benefits Even in a Pest

How should a country respond to a biological invader that reaches its shores via cargo shipped as international trade?

A host of international trade agreements address the growing problem of biological invasions, including those of the World Trade Organization.

The WTO, which was formed in 1995, promotes free trade among its 153 members. It acknowledges that its members may legitimately restrict trade for reasons that include protection of human, animal or plant health from pests, diseases, toxins and other contaminants.


Beijing Buys ROK Treasury Bonds

Here’s another reason to be cautiously optimistic this morning. China starts to change the game with a move into South Korean treasury debt.

The news that China has been buying South Korean treasury debt as a way of diversifying its foreign reserves will come as music to the ears of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The bank has been in the forefront of efforts to persuade Asian governments to invest more of their vast surpluses in Asian assets rather than accumulate ever more bonds US and EU bonds. The Asian Bond Fund which is traded in Hong Kong jumped nearly 1 percent on this news.


The Kind of Comedy That Makes for Cynicism

Brian Fung’s attention to the Korean peninsula is welcome, but not if crackpot campaigns, like a “Peace Forest” in the DMZ is all he can find to report about.

A 13-year-old American plans to visit North Korea this week and perhaps meet leader Kim Jong Il to pitch his idea for a “children’s peace forest” in the demilitarized zone.

(…)


The UNSC Cheonan Statement Is a Gift the US Doesn’t Deserve

I’m not surprised. Dismayed, yes. But, strangely I feel vindicated.

Friday’s U.N. Security Council statement condemning the March sinking the South Korean warship Cheonan, but not fingering the culprit, may look like another example of the grubby compromises required to close a deal here.

But it could have been a lot worse.

In the final stages of the closed door negotiations of the text, North Korea’s veto-wielding champion, China’s U.N. envoy Li Baodong, sought to gut the statement of any language that even hinted at North Korean responsibility, diplomats familiar with the talks told Turtle Bay.


Is the Lee Administration Its Own Worst Enemy?

This is how South Korean diplomats talk about each other:

A former high-ranking official jokingly said South Korea’s diplomats may look like they have been playing the piano for decades but they can’t manage a song as simple as ‘Chopsticks.’ South Korean diplomacy resembles a small and decrepit station in a remote village where trains no longer stop. In short, the isolation strategy is tantamount to diplomatic failure, even if officials of the Lee regime might not like to hear that.


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