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Korea-U.S. Urgently Need Dialogues

Posted February. 23, 2008 05:30,   


Leading American scholars recommended that Korea and the U.S. immediately begin holding high-level talks to prepare for potential internal change in North Korea following an unexpected military emergency.

In addition, they pointed out that South Korea’s new government should handle the North’s humanitarian issues on the basis of international standards and norms instead of providing special assistance on the basis of it being Korean.

U.S.-based Mansfield Foundation released a project report entitled, “Understanding New Political Realities in Seoul: Working Toward a Common Approach to Strengthen U.S.-Korean Relations” (125 pages) on Feb. 21.

With the support of the Korea Foundation, 25 experts on the Korean Peninsula contributed to this report.

This book presents how the U.S. and South Korea might forge a common approach to several issues such as North Korea policy, denuclearization, the Korean Peninsula’s peace and security mechanism, trade and economic relations, and the ROK-U.S. military alliance. The report also recommended that the new presidents of the two countries meet swiftly to reconfirm the value of the ROK-U.S. alliance and to declare the beginning of a new process to form a common vision for the two countries.

The scholars advised that the two countries should formulate four cooperative frameworks: ideological cooperation through common core values; military and technological cooperation; cooperation through intelligence exchange; and earmarked financial assistance including a national defense budget distribution.

The report also proposed the preparation of a comprehensive roadmap to narrow the gap between South Korea and the U.S. over issues related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the six-party talks, and inter-Korean economic cooperation, which lie at the heart of Korea-U.S. discord.

The report mentioned the necessity to resume Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) for the six-party talks, and to come up with a joint metric for the North’s denuclearization and dismantling process.

The study points out that the Korean government should resolve the U.S. beef import problem quickly for ratification of the KORUS FTA. For the U.S. government, businesses, labor unions, and the administration should cooperate to eliminate barriers towards ratification of the Korea-U.S. FTA.

Washington-based scholars including L. Gordon Flake, executive director at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation; David C. Kang, associate professor at the Center for International Business at Dartmouth College; Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., professor of International Relations at Marine Corps Command and Staff College; Scott Snyder, senior associate at the Asia Foundation; Michael Green, former Asia director for the National Security Council. Several officials from the Korean government also contributed to this report.