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Rocky North Korea-US Dialogue

Posted May. 11, 2001 12:05,   


The Contour of the US`s North Korea policy that the U. S. administration will announce soon, emerged from Richard Armitage’s visit to Seoul. President George W. Bush said in a official letter to President Kim Dae-jung that he will support Korea`s `engagement policy` and will maintain NK-US Geneva agreement. Deputy U. S. Secretary of State Armitage also said that the dialogue with North Korea will resume in the near future.

Fortunately, the Bush administration’s policy toward North Korea was established in the same vein that South Korea has held on to. But Armitage did not suggest any possible shift in basic principles such as strict mutualism and thorough probe.

As long as the Bush administration still possesses skepticism about North Korea and the North Korea government does not try to resolve such skepticism, the future dialogue between North Korea and the U. S. is likely to bring about considerable tension and conflict. Currently, it is premature to expect optimism about NK-US relations or a speedy progress of South-North relations.

The Missile Defense issue that Armitage which brought, must be sizable burdens for us. Though President Kim expressed a neutral stance toward the missile defense plan, the U. S. seems to put considerable pressure. In particular, Armitage shared the U.S.`s new strategic framework containing nonproliferation, counterproliferation of mass destruction weapons, the missile defense, and unilateral reduction of nuclear arsenals, which drew huge attention.

The negative responses of countries around the Korean peninsular toward the MD plan have already surfaced. Armitage added to this negative atmosphere a new controversial agenda, the counterproliferation of mass destruction weapons. The Counterproliferation refers to an offensive strategy involving military strikes to stop proliferation of mass destruction weapons by the opponent countries. But the responses of North Korea and China are very obvious.

Furthermore, Armitage left Seoul not neither denying nor admitting to the report of foreign press, that the U. S. is planning to deploy two Aegis battle ships in the East Sea. It is easy to imagine how North Korea will respond to this plan.

While Armitage’s visit to Seoul partly relieved our worries about the Bush administration’s policy toward North Korea, he also left a massive burden. How to get over these burden will be the key issue of Korea’s diplomacy.