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U.S.-Cuba détente points to N. Korea’s way

Posted December. 19, 2014 05:46,   


The United States and Cuba have agreed to restore diplomatic ties, ending 53 years of hostility. Cuba, along with North Korea, has been cited as the last remaining vestiges of the Cold War. The Washington-Havana reconciliation is an historic event heralding the shift from the Cold War to an era of dialogue and cooperation.

The animosity between the U.S. and Cuba is deep-rooted. The 1961 U.S. invasion of Cuba and the 1962 U.S.-Cuba nuclear missile crisis drove the two countries just 140 kilometers away from each other into more than half a century of hostility. The breakthrough was made by the leaders of the two countries. U.S. President Barack Obama set diplomatic normalization with Cuba as one of his major policy goals after his re-election and ordered secret negotiations with Havana in June last year. Cuban leader Raúl Castro, who took over power from his brother Fidel Castro, paved the way for improving ties with the U.S. by opening up to foreign investment and liberalizing travels. Attention is now drawn to whether Raúl Castro’s decision will put an end to the tragedy in which thousands of Cubans risk their lives to sail across the sea to the U.S. every year.

With the U.S.-Cuba reconciliation, most countries once labeled as “axis of evil” or “rogue states” by Washington have made historic reversal of mending fences with the U.S. Libya, Iran and Myanmar have successfully improved ties with the U.S. Excluding civil war-stricken Syria, North Korea is the only country that has not been able to make peace with the world`s most powerful nation. Pyongyang will probably in a state of shock.

Cuba and North Korea have maintained close relations to the extent that they call each other “brotherly country.” The two have similar dictatorial systems. The North’s Kim Il Sung family will mark the 70th anniversary of its rule through hereditary power successions. Similarly, the Castro brothers have been reigning in Cuba since the 1959 revolution. Cuba voted against a U.N. committee’s resolution on the North Korean human rights situation on Nov. 18. However, Havana has chosen a separate path at a crucial moment. The Cuban leader has already announced that he will step down in 2018 when his term ends.

Both South Korea and the United States leave the door open to North Korea for dialogues. Daniel Russell, U.S. assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told a recent seminar that Washington had never hesitated to hold dialogues with North Korea. The North should seriously contemplate on how long it will be able to exist as the only hermit kingdom on earth.