Both China and Russia share borders with the North and are the key to any solution. They each have economic interests that favour stability in the region. North invests heavily in its military and advanced weapons programmes, spends an estimated 23.3 per cent on the military, in comparison to the South’s 2.6 per cent. The only reason for such high service numbers in both countries is the very palpable threat of renewed conflict. A key sticking point to any solution remains the American troop presence in South Korea. US military personnel are there currently, and multiple installations serve as deterrents to aggression by the North. America benefits in this case not only from the avoidance of nuclear conflict, but also from its continued strong commercial connections with an enlarged Korean market, and the military cost savings of withdrawal. The new reality also ensures greater geopolitical stability in the region (important to allies Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan), and serves as a confidence-building measure for further cooperation by the US with China and Russia on other issues.
The official media of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) today called on the international