In Middle East, Asia Peaceful Negotiations Seem Out Of Reach

Middle East Peace Process Hits Another Stumbling Block
Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled his plans to return to the Middle East after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas moved to join 15 United Nations bodies, a sign that the Israeli-Palestinian talks may end before their scheduled end of April deadline. However, Kerry said the talks haven’t broken down irrevocably.

The petitions to join those bodies must first go through several procedural steps before consideration.

“The Palestinian leadership has unanimously approved a decision to seek membership of 15 UN agencies and international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention,” said Abbas, who added that the effort was “not a move against America, or any other party — it is our right, and we agreed to suspend it for nine months.”

he signing occurred as U.S. and Israeli negotiators were working on a broad outline for a bold plan to extend the talks, which would require Israel to slow settlement construction in the West Bank and release hundreds of additional Palestinian prisoners, reports Anne Gearan of The Washington Post.

Recent North-South Tensions May Be New Normal In Asia
When North Korea fired approximately 500 shells into the water near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), South Korea responded by stating it would not sit idle as North Korea engaged in what it felt was aggressive behavior, which Zachary Keck says should be a cause for concern.

“This should be deeply concerning to everyone, not only because of the dangers of this particular incident but also because this is likely the new normal on the Korean Peninsula. As is well known, in 2010 North Korea sunk a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, and shelled the Yeonpyeong islands, which is near where North Korea’s artillery landed on Monday,” he writes.

South Korea also recovered from its shores what appeared to be remnants from a North Korean drone, which has raised speculation in the South about Pyongyang’s intentions.

“The discovery sparked fears that Pyongyang is using drones for spying on our key facilities or launching terrorist attacks in Seoul and other cities. Given this, it’s no exaggeration to say that a number of North Korean unmanned vehicles have already penetrated into our airspace over the last few years,” says an editorial in The Korea Times.

“In other words, South Korea is planning on preemptively striking North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites, which will inevitably lead Pyongyang to adopt a “use it or lose it” nuclear doctrine and/or expand the size of their nuclear arsenal. This is an inherently unstable situation and could prove truly disastrous during tense crises like the one currently engulfing the Korean Peninsula.”

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