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North Korea Update: Professor Stephen Nagy

Interview with Professor Stephen Nagy on the Trade War, China, Trump and Xi

The DPRK is facing severe economic pressure from sanctions and the border closures with China to prevent the import of COVID-19. Negotiations with the US have also gone cold since the Feb. 2019 Hanoi Summit leaving Pyongyang feeling diplomatically isolated. 
To bring the DPRK back into the spotlight, Pyongyang has recently cut off communication with Seoul, the destruction of the Joint Liaison Office, and now will likely engage military drills in the DMZ. Considered together, these are serious and highly symbolic. 
First, the destruction of the Joint Liaison Building nullifies the 2018 Joint Declaration to build inter-Korean dialogue.
Second, DPRK belligerence demonstrates strong dissatisfaction with South Korea’s inability to provide inter-Korean economic assistance and the Blue House’s inability to press President Trump for sanction relief and continued dialogue. 
Third and seen in light of the upcoming US election, the recent provocations are likely to increase on the Peninsula and in the region to tempt what the North Koreans see as a strategic window of opportunity, to lure President Trump into a “deal” that unwittingly favours Pyongyang. At the same, an escalating series of provocations is also meant to send a strong signal to the Biden Camp that without progress, i.e. sanctions relief at the minimum, that the North can and will complicate the US and her allies in the region through destabilizing brinkmanship. 

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