Go to contents

South Korean Plan Receives Mixed Response from U.S. and Japan

South Korean Plan Receives Mixed Response from U.S. and Japan

Posted July. 14, 2005 02:07,   


Regarding the government’s announcement of an agenda that it will provide North Korea with two million kilowatts of electric power on July 12, the U.S. showed a relaxed attitude, while the Japanese government displayed its anxiousness that it might be estranged from the six-way talks.

Easygoing U.S.-

On July 12 when the contents of an agenda became known, the U.S. government in Washington didn’t show an immediate response. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, “North Korea should make a strategic decision to give up its nuclear ambitions,” but concentrated on answering the issue of “Leak Gate” throughout the briefing.

The reaction from the U.S. government came from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who left Korea.

Concerning the agenda, Secretary Rice said that it is a creative plan.

There is the possibility that the relaxed response of the U.S. was because it was inwardly glad at the plan in which the Korean government solely supported North Korea. It’s because unlike the last measure in which the U.S. was troubled over the issue of paying for the cost for supplying a reactor for several years, the Korean government has taken the bullet with its plan to solely support North Korea this time.

However, it appeared that in the broader framework of North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, think-tanks in Washington view the Korean government’s agenda as not a factor that is capable of making North Korea change its position.

A senior researcher, Michael O’Hanlon, of the Brookings Institution forecasted that as long as North Korea thinks that South Korea will provide it with something, the agenda won’t have an influence on the North’s decision to give up its nuclear program.

Prudent Japan-

The Japanese government showed a cautious response at the Korean government’s statement that it would support North Korea with electric power.

On July 13 at a press conference, Japan`s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said that South Korea’s electric power support to North Korea means nothing unless it’s done on the assumption that North Korea abandons its nuclear program and verifies it.

Some say that a sense of crisis was reflected in Japan’s cautious attitude that it could well play a smaller role in the six-party talks if the Korean government takes a leadership role with its support of electric power for North Korea, and the U.S. and China play a key role.

An official of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluated the agenda, saying that it could lead to North Korea making a concession, but noted that it was necessary for South Korea, the U.S., and Japan to adjust as to how to set conditions for North Korea to meet in order to get the electric power support.

Won-Jae Park Seung-Ryun Kim parkwj@donga.com srkim@donga.com