What happens in North Korea implicates all of East Asia. The United States may be the arbiter of the coming confrontation – so vested is it in the balance of power of the region, so threatened is it by the existence of a rogue nuclear weapons program, and so uniquely suited is it to do something about it. But it’s a confrontation in which Japan, China, South Korea and even Russia all have interests, so each is trying to shape the outcome to its benefit.
The way they will do so has little to do with ideology. After all, the conflict in North Korea has outlasted every administration of every country – no matter its political affiliation – that has tried to stop it. And it has outlasted them because their competing interests confound resolution. The following report identifies what these interests are and explains why they beget conflict and, at times, cooperation.
Ultimately, North Korea needs to survive, and its government believes a nuclear weapons program is essentia