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North Korea Building Bridges

VIEWS: 185 PAGES: 71

									North Korea – Building Bridges
Tim Beal and Don Borrie
VUW Asian Studies Institute & NZ Institute of International Affairs Wellington, 21 July 2004

Building Bridges
• Building bridges between NZ and NK
• Democratic People‟s Republic of Korea

– SK – ROK
• Republic of Korea

– Don Borrie
• NZ-DPRK Society
– Delegation of April – photos, video, discussion

Setting the scene
• Bridge connects two separated entities
– Don – bridge building between NZ and NK

• Bridge also defines and illustrates separation
– Other bridges to be built

• Focus on two • 1: Different perceptions of reality • 2: Different political positions

Different perceptions of reality
• Donald Rumsfeld
• Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know

What Rumsfeld didn‟t mention
• Things we think we know, but we don‟t • NK is much demonized – reality is more uncertain and complex • Four letter words
– Not Cheney to Leahy

• Two come to mind

Iraq and Lies
• WMD, links to El Qaeda…. • Blair admitted Sunday that claim that 400,000 mass graves had been found in Iraq was false
– They found 5,000

• So many lies about Iraq – what about NK?

• Two recent incidents in SK • Ask – Is Bush policy based on a lie?

Two incidents
• Many cases where doubts arise about portrayal of NK
– Focus on two which have surfaced in past week

• 1 - KAL 858 bombing of 1987 • 2 – naval clashes

• General Chun Doo-hwan under increasing pressure to step down • Decides to transfer power to „younger brother „ Gen Roh Tae-woo
– Nominated him for presidency

• Veteran US journalist Don Oberdorfer notes that
– Nomination caused biggest demonstrations since 1960 – Roh was not expected to win

Prelude to election
• 29 Nov 1987 KAL 857 blows up over Andaman Sea – all killed • Two „NK agents‟ apprehended
– One commits suicide – Other – Kim Hyon-hee - brought to Seoul days before election

• Roh wins

Doubts arise
• NK denied involvement • No NK motive – Roh benefited
– 1.5 million votes

• Kim Hyon-hee‟s sentence commuted and she was freed
– Married her chief guard

• Problems with investigation procedures

Doubts continue
• Doubts have continued over the years
– Some suggest it was a private killing
• Others have deeper suspicions

• Recently ruling party called for it to be probed by Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths
– Set up by Kim Dae-jung to investigate deaths during military dictatorships

• Opposed by conservatives

One Seoul newspaper
• There has been a suspicion that some spy agents loyal to Roh and his predecessor Chun Doo-hwan had plotted the bombing to bounce back the popularity of the then ruling camp in the lead up to the 1987 presidential election. It was common for the past regimes in the South to use the North's potential military threat as a bait for the public to vote for the ruling party candidates, who argued they had strong and stable power to protect the country. The Supreme Court sentenced Kim Hyon-hee to death in March 1990. But Roh, the then head of state, gave her a special pardon the next month. In December 1997 she married a secret agent who had guarded her. Many domestic media, including The Korea Times, had tried to contact her for an interview, but she declined. Her testimony is considered a key to solving the current controversy over the truth of the KAL accident because there has been a strong argument that Kim was not a North Korean spy at all.

Other implications
• The KAL bombing caused NK to be put on the the US government „terrorism list‟
– That effectively debars NK from access to international financial agencies – Removal from list is key NK demand

N-S Naval clashes
• Naval clashes a recurring issue • Most frequent in West Sea in summer – crab fishing
– Northern Limit Line (NLL)
• Unilateral US/SK demarcation line not negotiated with NK

Incident 29 June 2002
• Southern boat sunk, loss of life • NK expresses „regret‟ • Assumption that it was NK‟s fault
– Many said a deliberate provocation
• Anger over success of World Cup

• Other stories circulated in South suggested
– Southern fishing boats were being chased out of Northern waters – SK naval boat rammed NK one which then opened fire and sank the SK warship

Continuing source of friction
• N and S agree 15 June 2004 on 6 measures to prevent reoccurrence
– Radio communication with each other – Refrain from physical actions – Cooperate against third country (i.e. Chinese) poachers

14 July incident
• SK navy claims
– NK boat crossed NLL – SK fired warning shots when NK ship ignored warnings – NK boat retreated

NK belligerence?
• Yet another NK incursion and provocation? • Yet another example of NK belligerence? • Further proof that US needs to keep forces in SK to deter northern invasion? • Pyongyang sent a telegram to Seoul
– Claimed NK ship chasing Chinese fishing boat – It had sent three radio messages to Southern side

President Roh Moo-hyun furious
• SK navy admitted a cover up • They had received radio messages • Pres Roh orders investigation
– Why had navy acted in defiance of government policy?

Korea Times (Seoul)
• How the military could have made a false report on an incident that could have escalated into further armed clashes defies understanding. • Particular emphasis should be placed on revealing whether this accident was intentionally caused by individuals disgruntled with the currently amicable military relationship between the two Koreas as some suspect

Healthy skepticism
• None of this proves that NK is in the right, or SK in the wrong
– Rangoon bombing of 1983 and Japanese abductions might be examples of NK security acting at odds with government policy

• Merely that we have to dig beneath the surface with healthy skepticism • Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken”
– letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 1650

The second bridge
• Different political positions
– Focusing on nuclear confrontation between US and NK

• Sketch background

Nuclear power in East Asia
• SK and Japan both heavily dependent on nuclear power
– US forced SK to abandon weapons programme
• How long to resume?

– Japan can weaponise very quickly

• NK also needs nuclear power
– And nuclear weapons?

NK and nuclear weapons
• Three major questions
– When did programme start? – What technologies are used? – Has it/ Can it develop a deliverable nuclear weapon?

• Answers to all three very uncertain

First ethics and Proliferation
• No God-given reason why one country should have nuclear weapons and not another
– Practical and contingent reasons, not moral ones

Proliferation – an absolute evil?
• No – use, or danger of use, is the problem, not proliferation as such
– Proliferation may lessen the chances of nuclear weapons being used

• John Bolton, top US anti-proliferation official has long experience in opposing proliferation
– Worked with Jesse Helms to „ counter a voter registration drive on behalf of blacks and organized labor‟

• Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has two legs
– Non-nuclear states forgo nuclear weapons in exchange for help with nuclear power – Nuclear-weapons states move towards disarmament
• Do not threaten NNWS with nuclear weapons • Negative Security Assurances
– US position ambiguous

NK and NPT
• NK signed NPT under Soviet pressure in late 1980s • Early 1990s the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), using US information, concluded that NK might be extracting plutonium, which could be used for weapons
– Never been any direct evidence that any weapons have been, or can be, produced

Crisis of 93/94
• Clinton contemplating airstrike against NK reactor
– NK (conventional) relation would cause immense death and destruction in SK (and Americans there) – SK opposition

Carter intervention June 1994
• Carter goes to Pyongyang • He and Kim Il Sung draft agreement • Carter out-manouevres White House by announcing this in CNN interview from Pyongyang • WH has to accept principle >>Agreed Framework

Agreed Framework
• NK mothballed plutonium reactor • US promised to arrange supply of two Light Water Reactors to replace it
– Funded mainly by SK, Japan..NZ – When that happened plutonium reactor would be dismantled

• Provide heavy fuel oil to compensate for energy forgone • Lift sanctions, move towards normalisation of relations. Formal security assurances

Postscript on Agreed Framework
• US negotiator Bob Gallucci and team just published defense of AF
– Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis
• by Joel S. Wit, Daniel B. Poneman, and Robert L. Gallucci Brookings Institution Press, 2004 • Publishers blurb: • Extract: • Review:

Clinton to Bush
• Clinton lost control of Congress and much of AF was not implemented • But AF still in existence, relations did move ahead under pressure from Kim Dae-jong • Bush administration did not like AF • ABC policy
– Anything But Clinton

Axis of Evil to HEU
• Axis of Evil speech, Nuclear Posture Review ratcheted pressure • Oct 2002 – Kelly visits Pyongyang
– Two allegations
• NK has an enriched uranium programme
– Indirect violation of AF

• Claims NK admits this

• NK has denied both
– Tends not to be reported in media

Collapse of AF
• US suspends HFU, thus abrogating only part of AF which had life • NK withdraws from NPT
– Legal right to do that under clause X – Reactivates reactor

• When US refuses to negotiate NK declares it will build a nuclear deterrent

Six Party talks
• China, SK, Russia and Japan all want a negotiated end to crisis
– China for one does not believe HEU allegations

• So central ostensible reason for abandoning AF may not be true

• NK wants
– Security assurances – Lifting of sanctions, removal from Terrorism List, and end to US constraining SK and JP developing relations with SK – Oil, LWR…

• Basically a variant of the AF

US position
– complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of nuclear programmes (CVID)
• Before it will allow SK and JP to provide energy assistance

– Slight cosmetic softening of position under pressure from
• Other Five parties • Criticisms within US political system
– Pritchard to Kerry

– NK response cautious but not dismissive

Unbridgeable differences?
• Next round due in September but probably no substantial movement until after election
– However many factors
• Kerry, Iraq, NK progress on weaponisation…

• World opinion
– Important to raise awareness of issues, lies, uncertainties, and confusions

• Bridge building
– Raise NK knowledge and understanding of outside world – Our knowledge and understanding of NK

NZ-DPRK Society
• Since mid –seventies • Liaison with NZ and NK governments
– Aid – bridge building

• Pyongyang Report
– Website at

• Delegations and visits

Delegations and visits
• July 2001 – Hon Graham Kelly • April 2004
– Don Borrie
• Pyongyang Arts Festival • Photos

• May 2004
– Rev Stuart Vogel – Coordinator, Aid and Cooperation

Building Bridges
• Impact of international NGOs
– Hazel Smith: Overcoming Humanitarian dilemmas in the DPRK

– Our videoed meetings with World Food Programme, Red Cross

• Korean Christian Federation

NZ Engagement, current and potential
• Emerging partnership between NGOs and Government
– February 2004 $370,000 to World Fod Programme

– April 2004 - $540,000 to UNICEF
• Irish NGO headed by NZer Rose Dew


June 2004 – Amb David Taylor allocates his Head of Mission Fund, $15,000 to Concern

• Political, developmental and aid, and personal relationships can be – must be – enhanced for the mutual beneift of DPRK and NZ
– Also benefits the people of both Koreas, and the region

North Korea in April
Photos Economic reform and marketization
But some other things as well

Big billboards for the „whistle car‟, a joint venture product are noticeable in many parts of Pyongyang. People now have dreams and aspirations. A mobile telephone or a trip abroad top the wish list. Although, many people are facing even bigger difficulties in coping with the changes as the cradle-tograve security fades away. Kathi Zellweger, Caritas

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