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Switzerland

Exclusive: North And South Korea Together At Swiss Summit

Amid extraordinarily high tensions on the Korean peninsula, Switzerland managed to get diplomats from Pyongyang to sit down with counterparts from Seoul.

Glion, Switzerland
Glion, Switzerland
Simon Petite

GENEVA — Did the view on Lake Geneva favor a rapprochement between the two Koreas? Representatives of the two sworn enemies took part in a three-day closed door meeting organized by Switzerland in a hotel in Glion, near Montreux, Le Temps has learned. This comes amid extreme military tensions on the peninsula after North Korea's fifth nuclear test, carried out on Sept. 9.

Switzerland, together with the foundation Geneva Center for Security Policy, has been organizing a yearly roundtable on security in the North Pacific since 2012. Past meetings have included experts and diplomats from China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States. But according to a source close to these discussions, "North Korea has, for the first time, sent a delegation."

Pyongyang's participation is seen as a small but important sign of openness from the totalitarian regime of North Korea, which nonetheless continues to develop its nuclear arsenal despite the reinforcement of international sanctions.

The Geneva Center for Security Policy has declined to give more details on the meeting's content. Exchanges lasted for three days, but only the final day (Wednesday) was dedicated to the Korean Peninsula. The program says conversations were focused on "assessing the risks of confrontation." Because, it said, the risks of a new war in Korea, after the 1950-1953 conflict that ended in the peninsula's division into two countries, "have never been higher."

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Geopolitics

One By One, The Former Soviet Republics Are Abandoning Putin

From Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tajikistan, countries in Russia's orbit have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war. All (maybe even Belarus?) is coming to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the Soviet empire.

Leaders of Armenia, Russia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan attend a summit marking the 30th anniversary of signing the Collective Security Treaty in Moscow on May 16.

Oleksandr Demchenko

-Analysis-

KYIV — Virtually all of Vladimir Putin's last remaining partner countries in the region are gone from his grip. Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war, because they've all come to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the empire, where their own sovereignty is lost.

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Before zooming in on the current state of relations in the region, and what it means for Ukraine's destiny, it's worth briefly reviewing the last 30 years of post-Soviet history.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was first created in 1992 by the Kremlin to keep former republics from fully seceding from the former Soviet sphere of influence. The plan was simple: to destroy the local Communist elite, to replace them with "their" people in the former colonies, and then return these territories — never truly considered as independent states by any Russian leadership — into its orbit.

In a word - to restore the USSR.

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