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					K INU insight
  North Korean Policy                                   inter-Korean relationship caused a fissure in
                                                        South Korea-U.S. alliance which promoted the
  of the Lee Myung-bak                                  deterrence of the North as well as security from
  Government                                            the North’s threat. The Roh government tried
                                                        to ‘readjust’ South Korea-U.S. relations with the
         Kim Sung-han (Professor, Korea University)     catchphrase of ‘what’s wrong with anti-American
                                                        sentiment?’ and obstinately requested Washington
  Resolving Nuclear Issues within                       to soften its hard-line policy toward the North in
  an International Cooperative                          return for sending troops to Iraq. Despite such
  Framework                                             sincere efforts, the North finally disappointed
      The North Korean policy that the South has        its counterpart as it conducted a nuclear test in
  adopted for the past decade could be defined          October 2006.
  as an ‘unconditional engagement policy toward             Looking back over the past decade, the
  the North.’ This indicates that the South Korean      incoming government should not have difficulties
  government has so far seen the North as one to        in understanding what the priorities are in the
  engage rather than be cautious of. Both Kim Dae-      North Korean policy: ‘denuclearization’ and
  jung and Roh Moo-hyun have advocated the              ‘openness.’ Without abandoning its nuclear
  ‘post-cold war mindset,’ embracing the North          programs, the North will face obstacles in
  as the responsible member of the international        carrying out inter-Korean economic cooperation
  community breaking from the ‘cold war mindset,’       projects and establishing a joint economic entity
  seeing the North as a threat. This theory is not      with the South. Engaging the North without
  totally wrong. Yet, the problem is that the two       strings attached before it opens its regime will
  governments have left us with only two simple         adversely affect South Korea’s security policy. Its
  choices: either a cold war mindset or a post-cold     identity as a productive and cooperative inter-
  war mindset. This ignores a more important factor     Korean relationship will be possible only when
  that is whether North Korea is fundamentally          the North abandons its nuclear programs and
  changing.                                             determines to open its door. Thus, the next
      In fact, the North Korean policy which is         government should place the nuclear issue as the
  based on the post-cold war perspective dates          top priority and induce the North to abandon
  back to the Kim Yong-sam government. He, in his       its nuclear weapons and to choose the paths to
  inauguration address of February 1993, declared       openness. Furthermore, the South should make
  that a “No ally, philosophy, or ideology can be       the North aware that a strong and prosperous
  more valuable than nationhood.” However, before       country can be constructed not with nuclear
  long, the inter-Korean relationship was frozen due    weapons but with an active, open policy just like
  to the North’s                                        South Korea.
  nuclear crisis and Kim failed to thaw such a              In mid-December 2007, the Secretary of
  relationship during his tenure. His hard-line         State Condoleezza Rice said that ‘North Korea’s
  stance toward the North has ‘collapsed’ with the      nuclear issue is currently at a critical point.’ The
  Asian financial crisis in 1997. That was a bitter     denuclearization process includes three phases
  experience for the South Korean government.           of shutdown, disablement, and dismantlement.
      The next president, Kim Dae-jung, had wiped       According to the current situation, the second
  away the clouds of the inter-Korean relations         phase appears to be at a stalemate. Seemingly, the
  with his ‘sunshine policy’ and successfully held      North determines to disable its nuclear facilities
  the inter-Korean summit in 2000. Since then,          yet remains unwilling to declare all of its weapons
  the North was ‘set free’ from the list of security-   programs. The North needs to completely disclose
  threatening nations. His successor, Roh Moo-          the current progress of its uranium enrichment
  hyun, who was inaugurated in February 2003,           program, which has caused the second nuclear
  took over Kim’s ‘sunshine policy.’ Yet, the smooth    crisis, the amount of the weapon-grade plutonium,
                                                                                                   No. 4 January 2008




the site of the nuclear test, and whether it             argument that the North would give up its nuclear
provided Syria with nuclear technology. Unlike           programs if three or four parties declared an end
nuclear disablement, which involves mainly               to a war. This argument is similar to the idea that
technical issues, nuclear declaration involves           the North would not give up its weapons programs
highly sensitive political issues and can be used as     until the U.S. Army was stationed in South Korea.
a litmus paper to indicate the North’s                   The next Korean government, based on the pride
commitment to denuclearization. It will clearly          of the liberal democratic system, seems to focus
display the North’s intention; whether or not            on seeking an international cooperation and a
it wants to be recognized as a transparent and           strong South Korea-U.S. alliance in dealing with
honest member of the international community.            the North’s nuclear issue as it considers that the
The president-elect, Lee Myung-bak, initiated the        denuclearization is a prerequisite in normalizing
‘Vision 3000: Denuclearization and Openness’             the U.S.-North Korea and Japan-North Korea
plan which stipulates that if North Korea                relations; concluding a peace treaty, achieving
undertakes verifiable and complete dismantlement         arms control, and ultimately bringing the peace
of its nuclear capabilities and chooses the path         on the peninsula.
to openness, South Korea with the international
community will help the North improve its                Vision 3000:
economy, education, finance, and welfare systems         Denuclearization and Openness
which will result in per capita GDP up to the                The ‘Vision 3000’ initiative encompasses three
$3,000 level within 10 years.                            strategic visions. First, it suggests a paradigm of
    Yet, the problem is the situation is not at a        a mutually beneficial inter-Korean relationship.
place to initiate this ‘comprehensive plan.’ In other    It shows the next government’s commitment
words, the North didn’t ‘declare’ and ‘disable’ its      to encourage the North Korean leaders in
nuclear programs by 2007-end. Unlike disabling           realizing that pursuing economic growth by
nuclear facilities which involve mainly technical        opening its regime is the only way to ensure the
issues, nuclear declaration will take some time to       regime security, as well as peace and prosperity.
be achieved as we need to identify the North’s           Second, the initiative will push for a strategic
real intention. By February 2008 at the latest,          North Korean policy. Lee has come up with a
Pyongyang should completely declare the current          ‘thorough and flexible’ approach: ‘thorough’ in
progress of its uranium enrichment program,              demanding North Korea’s nuclear dismantlement
which has caused the second nuclear crisis, the          and openness and ‘flexible’ in approaching the
amount of the weapon-grade plutonium, the site           realization of such goals. Third, the ‘Vision 3000’
of the nuclear test, and whether it provided Syria       policy is designed to prepare a foundation for a
with nuclear technology. If these issues are not         peaceful unification. When the North and the
cleared within the current government’s term,            South achieve the annual per capita income of
it seems that the incoming government will               $3,000 and $40,000 dollars respectively, both
send the North a clear message that the North’s          Koreas can minimize prospective social shocks
‘gives a little but takes a lot’ strategy is no longer   and budget in the case of unification. Raising the
acceptable. At the same time, it will step up efforts    North’s annual per capita income up to the level
to consolidate the South Korea-U.S. alliance and         of $3,000 dollars within 10 years will make the
to seek cooperative relationships with nations           North Korean economy ready for unification.
including Japan, China, and Russia.                          In large part, Lee’s foreign policy is based
    Roh’s North Korean policy has been based             on his doctrine, ‘economic aid only after
on the assumption that the nuclear issue will be         denuclearization.’ Then the question remains,
resolved once the peace regime on the Korean             ‘will the Lee government do nothing until the
peninsula is established. As a result, the issues of     North dismantles its nuclear programs?’ Lee
nuclear declaration and peace treaty were dealt          announced in September 2007 that ‘if the North
with separately. Some even developed a bizarre
K INU insight
  disables its nuclear facilities and enters the phase   North Korea, fostering 100 companies with an
  of nuclear dismantlement, two Koreas can have          export sales potential of over $3 million each.
  preliminary meetings to specify the ‘Vision            North Korea would then be able to utilize South
  3000: Denuclearization and Openness’ initiative        Korea’s overseas network, including the KOTRA.
  by establishing a ‘Joint Committee.’ Through           The education projects will include: educating
  preliminary meetings, both Koreas can conclude         300,000 economists, financial and technological
  the Korean Economic Community Cooperation              personnel in North Korea, opening up technical
  Arrangement (KECCA), encompassing the ways             training centers in 10 major North Korean cities,
  to promote inter-Korean economic cooperation,          establishing North Korean versions of KDI and
  to make trade and investment convenient, to            KAIST, and helping North Korean universities
  liberalize inter-Korean trades, etc. In summary,       develop curriculums of economy, finance, and
  the next South Korean government will first            trading. Concerning the financial field, the plan
  do what it can in accordance with the progress         includes the introduction of foreign capital from
  of denuclearization. Other remaining and core          the World Bank or ADB, an increase in the inter-
  projects will be implemented directly after the        Korean cooperative fund, cooperation in attracting
  denuclearization is verified.                          foreign direct investment, and security of Japan’s
     The ‘Vision 3000: Denuclearization and              financial support which will be followed with
  Openness’ initiative is conceived of a three-          progress in North Korea-Japan relationship.
  stage process. The first stage comes after the         To improve the North’s infrastructure, the
  completion of the North’s nuclear disablement          initiative envisages the inter-Korean cooperation
  and declaration. In the first stage, both Koreas       to overcome an energy crisis, connection of
  will theoretically organize a joint economic           communication network, maintenance of ports,
  committee, to have preliminary meetings in a bid       railways, and roads, construction of 400 km
  to specify the Vision 3000 plan, to conclude the       of new Seoul-Sinuiju express highway, and
  KECCA, and to prepare the legal and institutional      involvement of the North with the construction
  framework for inter-Korean economic cooperation.       project of a grand-canal. Lastly, to provide a
  The second stage includes the implementation of        decent life to the North Korean people, the
  nuclear dismantlement. At this point, the South        welfare project plans to alleviate absolute
  Korean government can embark on projects               poverty by resolving the difficulties of obtaining
  such as education and welfare, taken from the          food, dispatching medical staff members, and
  five key projects outlined in Lee’s comprehensive      improvement of medical facilities, housings, and
  package. The education and welfare projects            water supply and drainage systems, and to plant
  might include establishing the KDI or KAIST in         0.1 billion trees for foresting.
  North Korea, dispatching medical staff members,
  and improving medical facilities, houses, and          Establishing a Peace Mechanism
  water supply and drainage systems, etc. The third      on the Peninsula
  stage is to complete the nuclear dismantlement.            While discussing Korea’s security, the items
  When it is realized, approximately $40 billion of      of the North’s nuclear issue, South Korea-U.S.
  an international cooperative fund will be raised       alliance, and a peace mechanism can’t be excluded
  to support North Korea’s economy, education,           from the conversation. They are closely related to
  finance, infrastructure, and welfare systems           each other and form a type of a triangle. The issue
  through the five key projects.                         is which one should be at the apex of the triangle.
     Among the five projects, the specific plan          Currently, diplomatic experts are arguing between
  for North Korea’s economic growth includes             two different viewpoints. Some claim that the
  dispatching professional consultants (former           triangle should start from a peace mechanism,
  economic bureaucrats and former business               pass the second apex of North’s nuclear issue, and
  managers) in the fields of economy, law, and           finish at the last apex with the South Korea-U.S.
  finance. This will create five free trade zones in     alliance. Agreeing with the North’s position of
                                                                                                 No. 4 January 2008




developing nuclear weapons is attributable to the    of all, both nations need to agree on what should
United States’ hostile policy toward the North.      come first; denuclearization or a peace regime.
They argue that establishing a peace mechanism       After nuclear disablement and declaration, both
on the peninsula will resolve the nuclear problems   Koreas could possibly organize a peace forum to
and the roles of South Korea-U.S. alliance should    ‘discuss’ a peace mechanism on the peninsula.
be changed accordingly. On the other hand, some      However, it is desirable to ‘conclude’ a peace
people argue that the first point of the triangle    treaty after the verification of the North’s nuclear
should start from the South Korea-U.S. alliance,     dismantlement. A peace treaty itself doesn’t
pass the apex of the North’s nuclear issues, and     guarantee peace. Thus, rather than focusing on a
finish with a peace mechanism. According to          ‘declaratory peace’ such as peace declaration, it is
this theory, North Korea’s nuclear issue can be      necessary to pursue a ‘real peace’ by thoroughly
resolved only when Seoul and Washington work         managing the peace process. In such way, we can
together to deal with the issue and such concerted   expect and enjoy positive outcomes.
efforts will ultimately bring a peace on the             To sum up, the Lee government appears to put
peninsula. Roh’s North Korean policy was closely     the South Korea-U.S. alliance as the top priority
aligned with the former viewpoint.                   with nuclear issues and a peace mechanism
    A peace mechanism will contribute to settling    following after. It will try to resolve nuclear issues
permanent peace on the Korean peninsula by           through the close South Korea-U.S. alliance
ending the current armistice agreement, a legacy     and then establish a peace mechanism on the
of the Korean War, and military confrontation.       denuclearized peninsula. Furthermore, it is
To settle a lasting peace on the peninsula, both     believed that the ‘Vision 3000’ will contribute to
Koreas should work together for denuclearization,    create an economic community on the peninsula
arms control, normalization of the U.S.-North        and ultimately bring a peaceful unification of two
Korea and Japan-North Korea relationships, and       Koreas.
conclusion and guarantee of a peace treaty. Most

				
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