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更新时间:2018-1-5 20:11:48 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

North Korea’s Overture Raises Hopes, but Huge Obstacles Loom

SEOUL, South Korea — On both sides of the divided Korean Peninsula, the timing seems right.


The New Year’s Day proposal by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, for direct talks with South Korea came as sanctions appear to be biting, with reports of shortages in the North and new pressure by Washington to intercept ships engaged in fuel smuggling.

朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong-un)在新年致辞中提议与韩国进行直接谈判。此时,朝鲜似乎正在遭受制裁的折磨,有报道称朝鲜出现物资短缺,而且华盛顿正在施加新的压力,打算拦截走私燃料的船只。

The initiative was quickly embraced by South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, who sees his first concrete chance to carry out his campaign agenda of engaging with the North, while also easing tensions as Trump’s warlike threats have rattled his country.

这项提议立刻受到韩国总统文在寅(Moon Jae-in)的欢迎,在他看来,这是他实施与朝鲜建立联系的竞选议程,缓解紧张局势的第一个切实机会——特朗普的战争威胁引起了他的国家的不安。

But if this is a potential opening for a thaw, it is a small one. Skepticism abounds not only in Washington but also among South Koreans.


Many in the country are mindful of how the so-called sunshine policy of two previous progressive leaders, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and remain wary of its revival. As Moon learned from his predecessors’ experiences, any South Korean leader accused of risking the alliance with Washington in trying to improve ties with the North could become a lightning rod of conservative ire.

很多韩国人还记得两位前进步派领导人金大中(Kim Dae-jung)和卢武铉(Roh Moo-hyun)的“阳光政策”未能遏制朝鲜的核野心,所以他们依然对朝鲜的复兴保持警惕。文在寅从前任们的经历中了解到,一个领导人如果被指责冒着牺牲与美国盟友关系的风险,试图改善与朝鲜关系,势必引起保守派的愤怒。

“If there are still those who think they can solve the North Korean nuclear problem and problems between the South and the North through dialogue, they must be crazy,” said Yoo Dong-ryul, a right-wing director of the Seoul-based Korea Institute for Liberal Democracy.

“如果还有谁认为可以通过南北对话解决朝鲜核问题和朝韩问题,那么他一定是疯了,”首尔的韩国自由民主研究所(Korea Institute for Liberal Democracy)的右翼所长柳东烈(Yoo Dong-ryul,音)说。

While most South Koreans today favor dialogue and peaceful accommodation with North Korea, many also fear that hastily engaging and granting the North economic concessions would throw a lifeline to Kim just as sanctions are squeezing his government.


In his New Year’s Day speech, Kim offered to send an Olympic delegation to the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month. But he also boasted that his country was now a nuclear power capable of thwarting a U.S.-led war on the peninsula, and he urged the South to abandon Washington’s campaign for sanctions and to work with “fellow countrymen” for peace — an opening Moon seized on.


“The Pyeongchang Olympics and the Paralympics there will become a clarion of peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said on Wednesday, the day Kim also restored a cross-border telephone hotline that could facilitate such negotiations. “We must move through the crisis and toward peace like an icebreaker.”


South Koreans have grown increasingly nervous over the past year about Kim’s nuclear brinkmanship. But they have also begun questioning the implications of their alliance with a Washington led by an often unpredictable Trump, who has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and this week talked of his power to wage nuclear war against Kim.


Moon insists that dialogue has become more urgent than ever because the South would bear the brunt of any war on the peninsula. South Korean officials privately say that the next several months may be the only opportunity to use negotiations to halt the North’s nuclear weapons program before it acquires a functional intercontinental ballistic missile.


While many South Koreans support a peaceful resolution to the tensions, many also question Moon’s approach — and Kim’s sincerity.


Analysts say Kim’s strategy is to make his nuclear weapons a fait accompli, while seeking a way to weaken the choking sanctions.


“In 2018, North Korea will likely launch an aggressive dialogue and peace offense and use the improvement of ties with the South to head off the sanctions and pressure,” the South’s government-run Korea Institute for National Unification said in an analysis of Kim’s New Year’s speech. “It is using the Pyeongchang Olympics to start to implement its approach.”

“在2018年,朝鲜可能会发动积极的对话与和平攻势,并利用同韩国改善关系来抵制制裁和压力,”韩国政府开办的韩国统一研究院(Korea Institute for National Unification)在对金正恩新年贺词的分析中说。“它利用平昌奥运会开始实现向韩国靠近。”

In his New Year’s speech, Kim acknowledged his country faced “the harshest-ever challenges” because of the sanctions. And the Olympics offered an opening.


“Kim Jong Un knew that South Korea was desperate for the North to join the Pyeongchang Olympics and resume inter-Korean dialogue,” Chun Yung-woo, a former South Korean nuclear negotiator, said in a Facebook post. “Recognizing the South’s weakness, he is using it to try to undermine the South’s alliance with Washington, drawing it away from the United States and using it as a shield against possible American military action.”

“金正恩知道韩国急于让朝鲜加入平昌奥运,并恢复朝韩对话,”韩国前核谈判代表千英宇(Chun Yung-woo)在Facebook上发表文章称。“他认识到韩国的弱点,利用它来破坏韩国与华盛顿的联盟,把韩国从美国身边拖开,并利用韩国作为盾牌,对抗美国可能的军事行动。”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that his tough approach was working, saying that it brought North Korea to the negotiating table and that talks “are a good thing.”


Also on Thursday, Moon talked with Trump and said that he promised to consult fully with Washington during South Korea’s talks with the North, adding that they would help induce dialogue between the North and Washington, the South Korean president’s office said.


According to the statement from Moon’s office, Trump said the United States supported Moon “100 percent.” Trump also accepted Moon’s proposal that the allies postpone their joint annual military exercises during the Olympics, the statement said.


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down the significance of the decision to delay the joint military exercises, saying that it was simply a matter of logistical timing and not necessarily a sign of a lessening of tensions.

美国国防部长吉姆·马蒂斯(Jim Mattis)淡化了推迟联合军演这一决定的重要性,声称这只是组织管理方面的时间安排问题,并不一定是紧张局势得到缓和的标志。

“I would say for us it’s a practical matter,” Mattis told reporters Thursday during an impromptu press briefing at the Pentagon. He said the military exercises would be held sometime after the conclusion of the Paralympics, which end March 18.


Mattis also said it was too soon to know whether Pyongyang’s recent diplomatic overture to South Korea would bring about broader talks.


“I wouldn’t read too much into it, because we don’t know if it’s a genuine olive branch,” he said.


Analysts say the North views its participation in the Olympic Games as a favor to Moon, and would most likely demand major concessions from Seoul.


Signaling his demands, Kim urged South Korea to stop annual joint military exercises with the United States. North Korea is also likely to demand that the South reopen a joint factory park in the North Korean town of Kaesong that the South shut down in 2016. It could also insist that South Korea lift a trade embargo it imposed in 2010 while accusing the North of torpedoing a South Korean Navy ship.


Lifting such sanctions without clear North Korean movement toward denuclearization would open a crack in the U.S.-led international campaign to pressure the North and cause a fissure in the alliance between Seoul and Washington. It would also prove unpopular in South Korea, especially among its older and conservative population, whose emotions over the ship’s sinking remain raw. The South is set to hold elections for mayors and governors in June.


 In a telephone message delivered through the restored cross-border hotline on Friday, North Korea accepted the South’s proposal that the two sides begin talks on Tuesday, South Korean officials said. The talks, to be held in the border village Panmunjom, will be the first high-level inter-Korean dialogue in two years.