South Korea's growing isolation
Aug 4, 2006
South Korea is becoming increasingly marginalized in Northeast Asian policymaking because of the collapse of inter-Korean talks and its growing estrangement from the United States, Japan and China.
Washington and Tokyo have regained the initiative and will be able to push a harder line against Pyongyang, while Seoul's engagement policy faces dwindling domestic support.
The deterioration of relations with Washington is fueling rumors of additional drawdowns in US troop levels, which could cause public and market trepidation
over a perceived degradation in Washington's commitment to South Korea's defense.
Chinese and Russian acquiescence to stronger language in United Nations Resolution 1695 than first indicated left South Korea nearly as isolated as Pyongyang.
Seoul had expected China and Russia to toe the line against US and Japanese advocacy for restrictions on North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
The Roh administration has frequently lowered the bar for North Korean compliance and maintained deliveries during previous provocations.
Seoul provided 500,000 tonnes of food and 350,000 tonnes of fertilizer in 2005 and was expected to provide similar levels this year.
It is estimated that during 1995-97 about 1 million to 2 million North Koreans died of starvation and starvation-related diseases out of an overall population of 23 million.