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Ralph Cossa

For Ralph Cossa's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Oct 22, 2007

Potential for Korean progress

HONOLULU — "It could have been worse, a lot worse!" This was my initial reaction to the Oct. 2-4 summit meeting in Pyongyang between South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and North Korea's "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il. The summit went relatively smoothly. The worst ...

Oct 11, 2007

Six-party talks make progress

HONOLULU — The joint declaration from the recently concluded round of six-party talks in Beijing points to a significant step forward, provided Pyongyang follows through as promised with a significant series of denuclearization steps between now and the end of the year. As has ...

Sep 8, 2007

ASEAN at 40: coming of age?

KUALA LUMPUR — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations turned 40 this summer. Is it facing a mid-life crisis? Or is it on the verge of maturing into a more cohesive, more relevant organization capable of promoting peace and stability not only in Southeast ...

Jun 29, 2007

Hope for six-party talks lives

SEOUL — It's not exactly clear what Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Christopher Hill told (or promised) North Korean officials during his surprise visit to Pyongyang last week — or if the mere continuation of the long sought after one-on-one direct dialogue was sufficient ...

May 25, 2007

Fears of new 'Nixon shock'

HONOLULU — The U.S.-Japan relationship is on solid ground and growing stronger by the day. As a result of their recent Camp David summit, U.S. President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo have become each other's new best friend — perhaps ...

Apr 26, 2007

North Korean nuclear deal

HONOLULU -- (More than) a day later, but not a dollar short. That pretty much sums up what to Pyongyang is a perfectly reasonable negotiating position. It will honor its end of the Feb. 13, 2007, "action for action" denuclearization deal, once the money ...

Oct 26, 2006

N. Korea: Who's to blame?

SEOUL -- "It's all Bush's fault!" "No, it's all Clinton's fault!" Has anyone engaged in this increasingly counterproductive debate over who should be blamed for North Korea's nuclear test ever stopped to consider that it might actually be Kim Jong Il's fault? . . ...

Oct 14, 2006

Get tough with Pyongyang

HONOLULU -- Virtually every statement issued in response to North Korea's apparent first-ever nuclear-weapons test has included an admonition (or plea) for Pyongyang to return to the moribund six-party talks. But, are all parties prepared to take "yes" for an answer? Pyongyang's response, to date, ...

Oct 7, 2006

Pyongyang's nuclear threat

HONOLULU -- North Korea announced on Tuesday that it "will, in the future, conduct a nuclear-weapons test," promising that it will be done under conditions where "safety is firmly guaranteed." While Pyongyang did not say when this test would occur, it made it clear ...

Aug 25, 2006

Softening northern borders

MARIEHAMN, Finland -- It was cruel irony that the Aug. 16 killing of a Japanese fisherman by Russian security forces in the Northern Territories took place just as a group of Japanese and Russian scholars and former government officials were meeting with a group ...