South Korea - North Korea: Kaesong update. According to a South Korean official, cooperation in developing the Kaesong complex has halted.
"The Kaesong Industrial Complex North-South Joint Committee agreed to meet once every quarter, but this has not occurred," the official said. No progress has been made in bringing internet service to the complex. "There are currently no technical barriers to the establishment of internet within the complex. All that is required is a meeting where an agreement is reached," the official said.
The North also has not attempted to attract a greater international presence, such as holding an expo targeted at potential foreign investors.
Comment: This is another sign that the thaw in relations with the South is over for now. For the duration of the Allied exercises in South Korea, which end in late April, the North will keep frozen any cooperative ventures with South Korea. During the exercises, North Korean emissaries have been courting Japan, holding direct talks and inviting Japanese aid and investment. It will drop Japan and pick up with South Korea and the US mostly likely in May.
The North is engaging in its now shop-worn practice of trying to exploit differences among the Allies for its economic benefit. The tactics of trying to drive wedges between the Allies have never worked, but the North keeps trying. The repetition suggests a regime that is out of new ideas for helping itself and for getting help.
North Korea's sudden policy flip-flops and manipulations ensure that no serious foreign investor would be willing to accept the risks of such an inconsistent and mercurial economic environment. There is no certainty of a return on investment.
China - North Korea: A South Korean news outlet reported that China's Foreign Ministry summoned North Korea's Ambassador to China to warn North Korea that China would oppose any nuclear tests and medium- and long-range missile tests by North Korea.
At today's Foreign Ministry press conference, the spokesman said, "The Chinese side has elaborated on its position about the Korean nuclear issue on many occasions. The current situation on the peninsula is quite fragile. We hope that the parties concerned will keep the overall interest in mind, exercise caution in their statements and actions, and do more things that will help deescalate the situation and resume the Six-Party Talks."
In Other News: Can We Ask Al Qaeda for a Refund on the Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap? | Michael Schaus