The demise of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on December 17, 2011 has introduced a new dimension to the security situation in Northeast Asia. The future of East Asian security would largely be shaped by developments that unfold in the Korean peninsula.
The issue of “comfort women” continues to haunt Japan’s relations with its neighbour, South Korea. Koreans are unable to forget the atrocities committed by the Japanese military during the long colonial rule from 1910-1945 over the entire Korean peninsula.
Though India would be keen to expand defence cooperation on a one-to-one basis with Australia, especially on counter-terrorism and maritime security issues, it is likely to remain averse to joining any regional security grouping directed against China.
The people of Yeonpyeong Island remember with trepidation the devastating attack of November 2010. Since the Cheonan incident in March 2010 and chastened by the attack last year, South Korea has beefed up its military arsenal and strengthened its defence preparedness.
It is apparent that both Russia and North Korea are seeking diplomatic currency. But so long as North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme remains an unresolved issue, Russia’s plan for a trans-Korean gas pipeline, however mutually beneficial that may be, is likely to remain unachievable.