By George Friedman
The leaders of North and South Korea held talks last week, and that in itself is significant. But the talks should not be confused with a solution to the problem on the Korean Peninsula. There are five players involved in these negotiations: North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China and Japan. Each has very different imperatives forcing its hand, and each has varying amounts of influence over the situation. Some can be excluded from the deal but not all, and finding a common basis for an agreement among even three or four players is difficult to imagine. It can be done, but only with concessions that would undermine crucial interests for at least some. Let’s review what each country seems to need.
North Korea wants to secure its regime from outside forces. The outside force that most directly threatens North Korea is the United States. The presence of significant American forces in South Korea and the region is seen as a threat to the regime. The