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U.S., "We Have Different Timeframe for N. Korean Pennisula Policy"

U.S., "We Have Different Timeframe for N. Korean Pennisula Policy"

Posted January. 18, 2005 23:03,   


The remark of Steven Hadley, the national security advisor-designate, was most specific among the U.S. North Korean policies mentioned by dignitaries nominated as the core diplomatic lineup in the second Bush term.

The Korean Assembly delegation, which visited Washington in December last year, quoted Hadley as saying, “The United States demands regime transformation, not regime change of North Korea.”

This remark greatly resembles the “Sunshine Policy.” Would this mean the attitude of South Korea and the U.S. toward North Korea has converged into one?

A high-ranking official in charge of the Korean Peninsula policy, from detailed North Korea policy agenda as well as the realignment negotiation of U.S. Forces in Korea, was asked, “What does ‘regime transformation’ imply?”

Answering the question, he asked back, “Could you have mistaken it for ‘leadership transformation’?” This sounded as if leadership transformation had to precede regime transformation. Also, the phrase did not seem to be a widely used concept. He continued after a short silence.

“If National Security Advisor-designate Hadley mentioned regime transformation, he might have referred to an ‘evolution.’ This implies the necessity of a paradigm shift in running a regime.”

-The “regime Transformation” is reminiscent of the Sunshine Policy

“The ultimate goal of regime transformation is denuclearization. In other words, the incumbent North Korean regime must be induced to make a strategic choice of dismantling its nuclear program. On the other hand, the Sunshine Policy focuses on the economic sector (encouraging the North to open up for exchanges). The time frame (time table) also differs. The Sunshine Policy requires a huge amount of patience to take time and encourage the North’s change. However, the nuclear issue is an urgent one.”

-Another high-ranking official reportedly mentioned the possibility of five-way talks excluding the North as a way to pressure the nation.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of five-way talks. Still, the consensus must be reached among the rest of the parties other than the U.S. Would they show up for the talks? North Korea could instead think, ‘Go about your way. All of you talk whatsoever, and then talk with us.’”

-If the six-way talks fail, what direction will the U.S. North Korea policy follow?

“In the third round of talks last June, the U.S. put up a very specific and ambitious proposal on the table. The North must have participated in the fourth round talks agreed to be held in September to give specific questions had it been curious about the details. However, the Stalinist state did not appear at the table, which remains a mystery. There is growing consensus on the need for change in approach if the North refuses to show up at the negotiating table. The scope and details as to what ‘sticks’ will be given have not been decided yet. Diplomatic solution, of course, is preferred, but all the available options are on the table.”

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com