NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – Canada has joined the IMF, World Bank and several other countries in cutting aid to Mozambique over concerns about the country’s finances.

CTV News reported on May 9 that Mozambique had more than $1.3 billion in undeclared debts, which raised concerns among donors over its financial management. Fourteen donor agencies and countries, including the U.K., Portugal and Switzerland, are freezing a portion of their development assistance.

Canada’s high commissioner in Mozambique said on Twitter on May 9 that general budget support has been frozen – that’s aid that goes directly to Mozambique’s government. Development assistance provided to NGOs and multilateral organizations like the UN remains in place.

In the midst of freezing aid, banks that saw dollar signs in the developing economies of Africa are being blamed for a looming fiscal crash in Mozambique over so-called “tuna bonds”.

Emblematic of the easy lending by western banks, 24 fishing boats meant to be a modern tuna fleet are gathering rust in the port of Maputo.

- Photo: 2020

Forum Calls for New Approach to NE Asian Denuclearization and Economic Development

By Alan Gua

ULAANBAATAR (IDN) – Former Mongolian Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of Blue Banner NGO of Mongolia, Dr Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikhan, believes that “establishing a Northeast Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone (NEA-NWFZ) and providing North Korea with a joint, credible mini-Marshall Plan might be a win-win solution for the Korean Peninsula as well as for overall regional security and development”.

Both the U.S. and North Korea need to adopt “bold conceptual approaches to resolve security threats on the Korean peninsula, including deterrence that excludes nuclear weapons,” he told an international forum.

International Policy Forum co-sponsored by the Global Peace Foundation, Action for Korea United, One Korea Foundation and Blue Banner was held on September 30 in Mongolia’s capital.

< Dr Enkhsaikhan addressing the forum

The forum organized two parallel roundtables: one on considering the prospects of establishing an NEA-NWFZ that would include security assurances by Russia, China and the USA to the two Koreas and Japan, non-nuclear deterrence, development of a “post-Cold War framework” of regional security cooperation, providing international mini-Marshall Plan to the DPRK and on integrating the latter in the regional economic development.

“Russian and Chinese security assurances would be important in reassuring North Korea that the U.S. assurance would dependable and that NEA-NWFZ would be legally and politically credible,” Enkhsaikhan said, adding that a binding commitment to non-nuclear deterrence would also avert a possible regional nuclear arms race.

Former chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994 and former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Dr Robert Gallucci said that if the issue of NEA-NWFZ is to be pursued it should address the DPRK’s concern about the potential threat from U.S. weapons as well as the latter’s alliance commitments and its security interests. He added that clear understanding of the term “denuclearization”, the issue of fissile materials, their production facilities and some other issues needed to be duly addressed if there is to be any movement on this issue.

Dr John Endicott, President of Woosong University, a former proponent of limited NEA-NWFZ, said that any concept of a zone in Northeast Asia “must be a process where the building of mutual trust and friendship is realized over time”, and that he would support launching such a process. During the discussion issues of “no first use pledge” and “sole purpose” policies of nuclear-weapon states were touched upon, some supporting such policies, while others viewing that such approaches might undermine the efficacy of nuclear deterrence policy.

The view was also expressed that any progress on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula would need a radical change in approaches to the DPRK and developing a reliable regional security mechanism that would include an NEA-NWFZ. In order to improve the overall security environment, it was pointed out, jointly addressing non-military common security challenges, such as current and possible future pandemics, infrastructure development, fine dust pollution, marine pollution, etc. would be needed.   

The second roundtable considered economic opportunities, examining prospects for regional economic development, with the case study of Mongolia’s transition from a centralized command economy to a free market. Vietnam’s experience was also touched upon. “As governments and large multilateral institutions move slowly,” underlined John Dickson, president of the World Trade Partnership, “it is imperative that contingency plans be considered to enable a peaceful, mutually productive framework for the economic integration of the Korean peninsula.”

Yeqing Li, Senior Fellow on Northeast Asia Peace and Development at the Global Peace Foundation, noted that China was the largest trading partner of both North and South Korea and peaceful unification with the development of infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, mining and the service sector was “low hanging fruit” for Chinese and regional economic growth.

Some 35 security experts, economists and political scientists from South Korea, China, Japan, Great Britain, Finland, Russia, India, Mongolia and the United States examined these two issues in the context of contributing to ending the 74-year division of the Korean peninsula.

The forum concluded with an agreement by the organizers to establish a regional secretariat to continue in-depth consideration of NEA-NWFZ issue. [IDN-InDepthNews – 02 October 2020]

Photo: (top) Virtual International Forum; (second) Dr Enkhsaikhan addressing the forum. Credit: The writer.

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. You are free to share, remix, tweak and build upon it non-commercially. Please give due credit.

This article was produced as a part of the joint media project between The Non-profit International Press Syndicate Group and Soka Gakkai International in Consultative Status with ECOSOC on 02 October 2020.

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