Posted November. 16, 2004 22:59,
The Korean government showed a normal response to the news of the resignation of State Secretary Colin Powell and the unofficial arrangement of White House National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice to succeed his position, stating, It was expected to a degree.
At the same time, the government paid keen attention to the future Korean Peninsula policy of Rice, who has served as the eyes and ears of President George W. Bush. In particular, concerning the North Korea nuclear issue, it was reported that Rice preferred the Libyan solution of renunciation of nuclear programs first. Accordingly, finding a convergence on the resolution for the North Korea nuclear issue, which President Roh made clear in Los Angeles on November 13, arose as the diplomacy and security teams main subject.
Libyan Solution Versus Roh Moo-hyun Solution
Although Rice has never made specific remarks on her version of the solution for the North Korea issue as an advisor of President Bush, she expressed such in her own way during her visit to Korea on July 9.
During her interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Ban Ki-moon, Rice said, The time for North Korea to make a strategic decision in the six-party talks has come. Pyongyang will be surprised by how much it will receive as compensation when it aborts its nuclear programs and truly dismantles them under international surveillance.
It was a remark which placed weight on the dismantlement first method of North Korea. She even said, North Korea should look at Libya (which dismantled first). In addition, concerning the highly enriched uranium (HEU) nuclear programs, which caused the Norths second nuclear crisis, she stressed, It is important that Pyongyang acknowledges and makes it clear.
Such a remark by Rice is the basic position of the Bush administration as well.
However, this has a rift of perspective compared with President Rohs idea which urged the U.S. to accept North Korea as a dialogue partner, guarantee the regimes security, and make the decision whether to give the chance to overcome the current impasse through reforms and opening up or not.
Crisis and Chance at the Same Time
There are quite a few forecasts that Rice will be less friendly than Secretary Powell to Korea. A core authority of the government said, Some mistake Rice for a neo-conservative (Neo-Con) who maintains a hard-line on North Korea, but such a view results from the relative comparison with Secretary Powell who is an example of a moderate.
Yet, there are expectations within the government that the North Korea policy could gain more elasticity than it did during Secretary Powells time in terms of policy implementation once it enters the trajectory of peaceful resolution to the North Korea nuclear issue through dialogue. It is because there have been quite a few cases in which hard-liners belatedly twisted agreements made by moderates in the six-party talks. In other words, it means that it will be easier, rather, to work with Rice, who has a lot of confidence from President Bush.
Rice and the Six-Party Talks
Up to now, some signs were sensed within the Korean government that it will be preferable for Secretary Powell to continue his term for a year or two longer. It was because of the six-party talks which cannot extricate itself from a stalemate. The Korean government decided that the maintenance of the Secretary Powell-Deputy Secretary Armitage-Assistant Secretary James Kelly of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs line would be advantageous in various ways as Korea and the U.S. have been actively pushing for the fourth six-party talks to be held within this year. It seems that some delays to the promotion of the six-party talks schedule are inevitable with the unofficial appointment of Rice to Secretary of State.