美 Vox "對北제재는 사멸 중...한국이 곧 관(棺) 뚜껑에 못 박을듯"
美 Vox "對北제재는 사멸 중...한국이 곧 관(棺) 뚜껑에 못 박을듯"
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'5·24 제재 해제'는 미국의 비핵화 시도에 찬물 붓는 격
"이미 한미 균열 조짐 나타나고 있다"
"북한 김정은의 최대 목표가 한미 동맹을 끊는 것"
VOX 유튜브 화면 캡처
VOX 유튜브 화면 캡처

 

"한국이 대북(對北)제재를 해제하려 한다. 그렇게 되면 트럼프의 비핵화 계획은 끝난다." (South Korea wants to lift sanctions on North Korea. That could kill Trump's nuclear plan.)

미국의 대표적인 인터넷언론사인 Vox가 10일 (현지시간) 게재한 기사 제목이다. 부제는 "한국이 미국과의 관계를 손상하고 그 과정에서 북한을 도울 수 있다"이다. (What's worse, South Korea could hurt ties with Americaand help North Korea in the process.) 

미국내 언론매체 중 '진보' 또는 '중도좌파' 성향으로 분류되는 Vox는 한국의 강경화 외교부 장관이 9일 '5·24 제재 해제 검토'를 언급하며 대북제재 해제에 대한 시그널을 보냈다고 밝혔다. 이 매체는 한국이 실제로 그렇게 할지는 분명치 않지만, 만약 그렇게 한다면 한미관계는 두가치 측면에서 손상되게 된다고 경고했다. 

첫째로 이는 한미가 지금까지 북한의 비핵화를 위해 시도한 방식에 '막대한 파열'(massive rupture)을 야기한다고 밝혔다. Vox는 트럼프 행정부가 김정은과 외교적 관례를 주고받은면서도 '최대압박'을 통해 북한의 자금줄을 말리려 하고 있다고 설명했다. 그렇게 함으로써 북한이 핵무기를 포기할 수 밖에 없도록 시도하고 있다는 것이다. (First, it would underscore a massive rupture in how America and South Korea approach ending North Korea’s nuclear program. The Trump administration wants to keep squeezing Pyongyang financially as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign, so that it has no choice to but to give up nuclear development, even as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un share diplomatic niceties. 

한국이 이 시점에서 '대북제재 해제 시그널'을 보내는 것은 미국의 비핵화 시도에 찬물을 붓는 격이라는 설명이다.

Vox는 둘째로 한국의 이러한 움직임은 폭넓게는 한국정부와 미국정부간의 단절로 이어질 수 있다고 지적했다. 그리고 수십년간 유지돼온 끈끈한 한미 관계를 약화시키는 것은 북한의 최대목표라고 경고했다. 만약 한미 두 나라가 공동의 전선을 형성하지 않으면 정치적 갈등은 불가피하다고 밝혔다. (And second, the move could more broadly lead to a break in Washington-Seoul ties. One of North Korea’s greatest goals is to weaken the decades-long bond between the US and South Korea. If both countries don’t form a united front, it could cause political tension.)

이 매체는 이미 분열조짐이 나타나고 있다며, 폼페이오 美국무장관이 남북군사 합의에 대해 강한 불만을 표출했던 것을 강경화 장관이 시인했음을 언급했다. 또 이것이 작지만 점점 벌어지고 있는 한미관계의 균열을 인정한 사건이라고 평가했다. (Thera are already signs of a split. Kang told South Korean lawmakers on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is upset with the military pact Seoul and Pyongyang made in September. It was a rare admission of the small-yet-widening rift between the US and South Korea.)

Vox는 트럼프가 김정은과의 관계에 대해 "서로 사랑에 빠졌다"고 평한 것에 대해서도 언급했다. 수개월간의 외교를 통해 미국이 기존의 강경한 방식에서 다소 유화적으로 변했다며, 이로인해 중국과 러시아가 북한에 대한 제재를 완화할 틈이 만들어 졌다고 분석했다. 

이 매체는 끝으로 미국이 '선(先)비핵화-후(後) 제재완화'를 고수하고 있지만 '경제제재'는 사멸의 길로 접어든 것 같다고 평가했다. 그리고 "한국이 곧 관(棺)뚜껑에 못을 박을 것 같다"고 밝혔다. (North Korea’s economy is by no means free of pressures, and Washington still says it wants to see the end of Pyongyang’s nuclear program soon before lifting any sanctions. But the economic pain plan appears near death — and South Korea may soon put the final nail in the coffin.)

김민찬 기자 mkim@pennmike.com

 

*다음은 Vox 전문 

"South Korea wants to lift sanctions on North Korea. That could kill Trump’s nuclear plan."

-What’s worse, South Korea could hurt ties with America — and help North Korea in the process.

 

For years, South Korea has imposed punishing economic sanctions on its neighbor, North Korea. But on Wednesday, South Korea signaled it’s willing to lift some of those sanctions. If it does so, it’s a growing sign that the US-led campaign to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear arsenal is falling apart.

According to South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Seoul may consider lifting some sanctions to incentivize North Korea to stop developing its nuclear program. South Korea has placed financial penalties on the North, in part because of the improving nuclear program and also because North Korea killed 46 South Korean sailors in 2010.

Kang somewhat walked back her comments later in the day.

“The issue of lifting sanctions should be reviewed considering the situation of inter-Korean relations as a whole,” she told lawmakers.

However, Kang said nothing about nixing the broad financial penalties imposed on North Korea by the United Nations. But many of Seoul’s sanctions on Pyongyang overlap with the UN ones, South Korean officials told the New York Times on Wednesday, so reversing them would be more of a symbolic gesture.

As of now, it’s unclear if South Korea will actually act. But if it does, this move could actually harm the country’s relationship with the US in two ways.

First, it would underscore a massive rupture in how America and South Korea approach ending North Korea’s nuclear program. The Trump administration wants to keep squeezing Pyongyang financially as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign, so that it has no choice to but to give up nuclear development, even as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un share diplomatic niceties.

And second, the move could more broadly lead to a break in Washington-Seoul ties. One of North Korea’s greatest goals is to weaken the decades-long bond between the US and South Korea. If both countries don’t form a united front, it could cause political tension.

The US, for example, may not see South Korea as a trustworthy partner if it breaks ranks. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s administration, meanwhile, might view Trump’s team as overly aggressive against North Korea and continue on its more dovish path without American support.

Thera are already signs of a split. Kang told South Korean lawmakers on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is upset with the military pact Seoul and Pyongyang made in September. It was a rare admission of the small-yet-widening rift between the US and South Korea.

So South Korea’s announcement about potentially lifting sanctions probably makes North Korea happy for a variety of reasons.

“Kim Jong Un has masterfully followed the North Korean playbook to try and drive a wedge between the US and South Korea,” Robert Manning, a Koreas expert at the Atlantic Council think tank, told me. “This means that US and South Korean leverage is eroding and it would be extremely difficult to reimpose maximum pressure.”

South Korean progressives have acted like this before

Sung-Yoon Lee, a Koreas expert at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, told me this is how South Korea has previously dealt with sanctions toward North Korea.

“South Korea views itself an exception to international law and norms,” he said. “What [South Korean Foreign Minister] Kang said, as clumsy and undiplomatic as it was, was not revelatory.” Rather, he said, Seoul finds ways to flow money into North Korea despite crushing sanctions — thereby helping Kim’s regime in the process.

Here’s just one example: Despite myriad sanctions on Pyongyang, Seoul gave $8 billion in aid to its northern neighbor from 1998 to 2008. About half of that money came from former South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun’s administration from 2003 to 2008, Lee told me.

Roh, a South Korean progressive who advocated for closer ties to North Korea as part the so-called “Sunshine Policy,” was the current President Moon’s boss. South Korean conservatives, on the other hand, prefer a harder-line approach toward Pyongyang.

It seems Moon is continuing a longstanding progressive policy of trying to improve bilateral ties between Koreas. It hasn’t worked yet — and it’s unclear if it will work now.

“Maximum pressure” is failing

Even before Seoul’s announcement, Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign — isolating North Korea economically and diplomatically until it dismantles its nuclear program — has started to crumble.

Trump met with Kim, North Korea’s somewhat reclusive leader, in June in Singapore. That’s led to months of diplomacy between the two countries during which both leaders “fell in love,” according to Trump.

That improved relationship, in part, has led the US to soften its hardline approach toward North Korea. That’s given China and Russia, two of North Korea’s top allies, the space to relax their sanctions and kick-start trade with Pyongyang, giving North Korea an economic lifeline.

And on Wednesday, Beijing said Moscow and Pyongyang would soon advocate for removing some of the UN sanctions on North Korea. They must sense an opportunity to get Pyongyang a little relief.

North Korea’s economy is by no means free of pressures, and Washington still says it wants to see the end of Pyongyang’s nuclear program soon before lifting any sanctions. But the economic pain plan appears near death — and South Korea may soon put the final nail in the coffin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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