CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "United Nations"

How to Spot A Shadowy North Korean Business

by Scott A. Snyder
Workers are seen inside a North Korean flagged ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 16, 2013. Panama detained the North Korean–flagged ship from Cuba as it headed to the Panama Canal and said it was hiding weapons in brown sugar containers, sparking a standoff in which the ship's captain attempted to commit suicide (Carlos Jasso/Courtesy: Reuters). Workers are seen inside a North Korean flagged ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 16, 2013. Panama detained the North Korean–flagged ship from Cuba as it headed to the Panama Canal and said it was hiding weapons in brown sugar containers, sparking a standoff in which the ship's captain attempted to commit suicide (Carlos Jasso/Courtesy: Reuters).

The latest UN Panel of Experts report reveals that North Korean businesses connected with the illicit arms trade are most effective when they hide their North Korean colors and blend in to the international trading environment as nondescript entities. Their North Korean origins may be concealed by a web of false fronts, dizzying name changes, and layered ownership structures that distance them from their North Korean origins. In other cases, some North Korean companies may continue to operate openly despite having been sanctioned by the UN. Without sufficient due diligence, unwitting companies could be doing business with North Korean firms in violation of UN sanctions on North Korean nuclear, missile, and conventional arms traders. Read more »

Behind the Chong Chon Gang Affair: North Korea’s Shadowy Arms Trade

by Scott A. Snyder
uden-oh-snyder The United Nations Panel of Experts on North Korea released their final report on compliance with sanctions on March 6, 2014. CFR Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy Scott Snyder (far right) joined (from left) UN Panel of Experts on North Korea coordinator Martin Uden, Foreign Press Association president and panel moderator, David Michaels, and ROK Mission to the UN in New York representative Ambassador Oh Joon, to discuss the report’s findings and implications at a press conference on March 18, 2014, at the ROK mission to the UN in New York (Courtesy: FPA).

Buried within the annexes of the latest United Nations report by experts impaneled to investigate North Korean efforts to circumvent sanctions placed on the country following its 2009 nuclear test is a tale of subterfuge worthy of a Hollywood thriller. Read more »

New Attempted Bombings in Myanmar Could Be Prelude to New Disaster

by Joshua Kurlantzick
A man walks out from a destroyed mosque that was burnt down in recent violence at Thapyuchai village, outside of Thandwe, in the Rakhine state, on October 3, 2013. (Soe Zeya Tun/Courtesy Reuters) A man walks out from a destroyed mosque that was burnt down in recent violence at Thapyuchai village, outside of Thandwe, in the Rakhine state, on October 3, 2013. (Soe Zeya Tun/Courtesy Reuters)

The Positive That Might Have Come Out the U.S.-China Cybersecurity Working Group

by Adam Segal
(L-R) Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leave after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) Joint Opening Session at the State Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Courtesy Yuri Gripas/Reuters) (L-R) Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leave after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) Joint Opening Session at the State Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Courtesy Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The first meeting of the U.S.-China Working Group on cybersecurity has ended, and preliminary reviews are fairly positive. Xinhua reports that “the two sides held candid in-depth discussions” and that Washington and Beijing have signaled their intention to improve cooperation in cyberspace. A senior U.S. government official rolled out the old chestnut of “constructive discussions,” but also noted that both sides made “practical proposals to increase our cooperation and build greater understanding and transparency.”

The United States raised the issue of “cyber-enabled” espionage during the working group, and cyber espionage is on the agenda during the high-level meetings of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Read more »

UN Sanctions and North Korea

by Scott A. Snyder
Members of the United Nations Security Council vote to tighten sanctions on North Korea at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, March 7, 2013. In response to North Korea's third nuclear test, the U.N. Security Council voted on Thursday to tighten financial restrictions on Pyongyang and crack down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo in breach of U.N. sanctions. (Brendan McDermid/courtesy Reuters) Members of the United Nations Security Council vote to tighten sanctions on North Korea at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, March 7, 2013. In response to North Korea's third nuclear test, the U.N. Security Council voted on Thursday to tighten financial restrictions on Pyongyang and crack down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo in breach of U.N. sanctions. (Brendan McDermid/courtesy Reuters)

The unanimous passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2094 builds on prior UN Security Council resolutions 1695, 1718, 1874, and 2087 in opposing North Korea’s drive to expand its nuclear and missile delivery capabilities.  Each of the UN Security Council resolutions were passed following North Korean long-range rocket launches or nuclear tests.  These resolutions were designed to cut off flows of nuclear and missile technologies between North Korea and the outside world and to signal international disapproval of North Korea’s nuclear-related activities. Read more »

The Costs of North Korea’s Defiance

by Scott A. Snyder
A man watches a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013. North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, South Korea's defense ministry said, after seismic activity measuring 4.9 magnitude was registered by the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicentre of the seismic activity, which was only one km below the Earth's surface, was close to the North's known nuclear test site. (Kim Hong-ji/courtesy Reuters) A man watches a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013. North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, South Korea's defense ministry said, after seismic activity measuring 4.9 magnitude was registered by the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicentre of the seismic activity, which was only one km below the Earth's surface, was close to the North's known nuclear test site. (Kim Hong-ji/courtesy Reuters)

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) made good on a January 24, 2013, pledge by the National Defense Commission to conduct a nuclear test “of higher level” on February 12, 2013. The statement, which also pledged launches of “a variety of satellites and long-range rockets,” was North Korea’s defiant response to passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2087, which condemned North Korea’s December 12, 2012 launch of a satellite in violation of previous UN Security Council resolutions 1695, 1718, and 1874. Read more »

North Korea’s Successful Satellite Launch: Assessing the Impact

by Scott A. Snyder
The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket is pictured sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site. (Bobby Yip/courtesy Reuters) The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket is pictured sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site. (Bobby Yip/courtesy Reuters)

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea successfully launched a multi-stage Unha-3 rocket from its Tongchang-ri launch facility on December 12 at 9:51 a.m. KST. About ninety minutes after the launch, the Korean Central News Agency reported that “the launching of the satellite ‘Gwangmyongsong-3’ using the “Unha-3” rocket was a success and that the satellite has entered into its planned orbit.” North American Aerospace Defense Command reported that “initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit.” Read more »

North Korea’s Satellite Launch: Pyongyang Style Theater or Prelude to Crisis?

by Scott A. Snyder
A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters)

North Korea’s announcement of plans to pursue another satellite launch between December 10 and 22 may have been unwelcome, but it should not have been entirely unanticipated. North Korea defiantly stated that it would continue to test long-range multi-stage rockets on its April 17 response to a UN Security Council Presidential statement condemning North Korea’s failed April 12 launch. Another launch will likely have a disproportionate political impact since it comes prior to national elections scheduled in Japan on December 16 and in South Korea on December 19. Here’s a rundown of the challenges a North Korean satellite launch poses during this political transition period: Read more »

China’s Role in Syria: How Beijing Can Help End the Violence

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
U.N.-Arab League peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi before their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on October 31, 2012. U.N.-Arab League peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi before their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on October 31, 2012. (Takuro Yabe/Courtesy Reuters)

Will Piekos is a Research Associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently announced a “new” four-point peace initiative to solve the crisis in Syria. During a visit to Beijing by U.N. and Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in October, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stated that “political dialogue is the only correct way to tackle this issue,” and he added that he hoped the mediation discussions would promote “mutual understanding” and “the appropriate handling of the Syrian issue.” Read more »

The Underground Railroad from North Korea to Freedom

by Scott A. Snyder
Kim Han-mi watches her mother being dragged by Chinese policemen when her family attempted to enter into the Japanese Consulate in order to seek asylum in Shenyang. (Kyodo/courtesy Reuters) Kim Han-mi watches her mother being dragged by Chinese policemen when her family attempted to enter into the Japanese Consulate in order to seek asylum in Shenyang. (Kyodo/courtesy Reuters)

Former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal Melanie Kirkpatrick has written a compelling book describing the tortuous path North Koreans must undertake across China to freedom in South Korea and other countries in the West. The book captures the multiple paths that desperate North Koreans have taken upon their departure from North Korea through China and other countries to safety in South Korea and the West. It champions the sacrifices of a range of dedicated individuals outside North Korea who have risked their lives to assist North Koreans in their road to freedom and to provide information back to North Korea about the outside world. And it savages the policies of governments including China, the United States, and South Korea’s progressive administrations for turning a blind eye to the suffering of North Koreans who are victims of an uncompromising totalitarian political system. Read more »