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Former Top US Officials Attend Luncheon With Pres. Lee

Posted June. 19, 2009 04:56,   


A host of 11 experts specializing in the Korean Peninsula held a luncheon Wednesday at Blair House, the guesthouse within the White House, as the last event of President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Washington.

Center for Strategic and International Studies President John Hamre presided over the meeting and was joined by renowned experts in diplomacy, national security and trade. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski sat alongside on the opposite side of President Lee.

Kissinger also served as national security adviser under the Nixon administration and pushed reconciliation policies between the West and the Eastern Bloc. On the contrary, Brzezinski advocated a hard-line policy in the same position under the Carter administration, blasting Eastern Europe for human right abuses.

The two are leaders in realist political theory. Though their backgrounds are similar -- Kissinger is a German immigrant and Brzezinski was born in Poland -- a sense of rivalry has prevented them from appearing in the same venue, according to diplomatic sources in Washington.

George Shultz, a Stanford University fellow who was secretary of state under the Reagan administration, took a three-hour flight to attend the meeting.

Senior figures such as former Defense Secretaries James Schlesinger and William Cohen also joined the event to discuss the future of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Former U.S. Trade Representatives Carla Hills and Charlene Barshefsky also spoke on trade.

In the 90-minute conference, President Lee stressed the importance of a united voice among the parties to the six-way talks excluding North Korea to force Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear ambition. He emphasized the role of China and Russia in doing so.

“The strong alliance between (South) Korea and the U.S. and close cooperation among (South) Korea, the U.S. and Japan are the cornerstone in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue,” he said.

“If we recognize North Korea as a nuclear state, other non-nuclear states will be tempted to possess nuclear weapons. This will not be helpful in stabilizing Northeast Asia.”

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