Major powers have been reassessing their positions after the death of North Korea’s leader.
A new man at the helm of the maverick state could provide opportunities to re-engage Pyongyang over the nuclear issue. But the US and Japan remain cautious.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke alongside her Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba.
“We both share a common interest in a peaceful and stable transition in North Korea, as well as in ensuring regional peace and stability. We reiterate our hope for improved relations with the people of North Korea, and remain deeply concerned about their well-being,” she said.
Russian expert Mikhail Titarenko, Director of Russia’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies, sees an opportunity for Moscow to reach out to North Korea through trade and says:
“This regime is stable at the moment. There will not be any fight for power in the near future. North Korea, you might say, is concerned about becoming much too dependent on China. And this as a counterbalance, means they will be developing relations with Russia.”
Indeed Russia was one of the few countries that the late Kim Jong-il visited. Although Moscow has been a critic of the Kim dynasty, that has not prevented cooperation; Russia has already said it is ready to work with the new regime.