[eDebate] NK Tests

Jason Jarvis debatekorea
Mon Oct 9 22:17:08 CDT 2006

Selig Harrison is my hero.  One of the most bizarre, and oft repeated 
statements I have read about Kim Jong IL/North Korea is that its actions are 
"erratic, irrational and unpredictable."  I can only conclude that this is 
propaganda in an effort to validate a failed policy with regard to the 

To the contrary, North Korea's actions in response to US isolation policies 
are 100% predictable.  I can honestly say that I have never, ever seen a 
Korean respond positively to harsh words or abuse of any kind, particularly 
when such things take place in public (or private for that matter).  
Confucianism is alive and well here, and subordinates never challenge their 
boss or an elder, even when those folks have dumb ideas.  Disagreement 
ALWAYS means disrespect, and the language contains so many subtleties that 
its possible to insult someone without even saying anything mean, just by 
using an inappropriate honorific ending to a sentence.

In every situation when a Korean is insulted, the Korean will respond with a 
more aggressive, more hostile act.  This is because to not do so is to lose 
face and act in a manner entirely inconsistent with Korean culture.  The 
North Koreans may seem "irrational" to the Western mind, but publicly 
questioning a Korean in a position of authority is exceptionally rude 
here...even in the South which is a developing democracy.

Take US policy and place it in the Korean cultural context: branding the 
North part of the "Axis of Evil", using John Bolton as your key negotiator 
here (he was in charge of Arms Control before the UN), the economic 
sanctions that started with the Macao bank, ending KEDO b/c oil shipments 
were stopped.  Honestly, what the hell did they think the North was going to 

Jimmy Carter as Clinton's envoy was successful because he understood Korean 
culture, talked to the Koreans privately and made sincere efforts to give 
them space to look as though the concessions they made were their idea.  The 
failure of the Bushies is that they have ignored Korean culture and 
Boltonized their foreign policy.  Direct, bilateral negotiations are the 
only option, everything else is doomed to fail and will only exacerbate 
tensions in this region.

For all of the failures in Iraq, US policy in Northeast Asia might actually 
be worse.  IMHO, it is remarkable that it took this long for NK to test 
their nukes.....lets hope that Japan doesnt decide to re-arm because then 
things will spiral out of control.

Jason L. Jarvis

Assistant Dean and Lecturer,
Korea Development Institute Graduate School of Public Policy and Management
OP: 82-2-3299 1031
Director, Asian Debate Institute
Korea Debate Listserv

----Original Message Follows----
From: Andrew Culp <acculp at earthlink.net>
Reply-To: Andrew Culp <acculp at earthlink.net>
To: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: [eDebate] NK Tests
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 09:48:11 -0700 (GMT-07:00)

These articles may prove to be some insight.  And no, sanctions or bombs are 
not productive responses.

North Korea: A Nuclear Threat
Is Kim Jong Il ready to provoke a regional crisis? An exclusive account of 
what Pyongyang really wants.
By Selig S. Harrison
Newsweek International
Oct. 16, 2006 issue - On Sept. 19, 2005, North Korea signed a widely 
heralded denuclearization agreement with the United States, China, Russia, 
Japan and South Korea. Pyongyang pledged to "abandon all nuclear weapons and 
existing nuclear programs." In return, Washington agreed that the United 
States and North Korea would "respect each other's sovereignty, exist 
peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations."

Four days later, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sweeping financial 
sanctions against North Korea designed to cut off the country's access to 
the international banking system, branding it a "criminal state" guilty of 
counterfeiting, money laundering and trafficking in weapons of mass 

The Bush administration says that this sequence of events was a coincidence. 
Whatever the truth, I found on a recent trip to Pyongyang that North Korean 
leaders view the financial sanctions as the cutting edge of a calculated 
effort by dominant elements in the administration to undercut the Sept. 19 
accord, squeeze the Kim Jong Il regime and eventually force its collapse. My 
conversations made clear that North Korea's missile tests in July and its 
threat last week to conduct a nuclear test explosion at an unspecified date 
"in the future" were directly provoked by the U.S. sanctions. In North 
Korean eyes, pressure must be met with pressure to maintain national honor 
and, hopefully, to jump-start new bilateral negotiations with Washington 
that could ease the financial squeeze. When I warned against a nuclear test, 
saying that it would only strengthen opponents of negotiations in 
Washington, several top officials replied that "soft" tactics had not worked 
and they had nothing t!
  o lose.

It was no secret to journalists covering the September 2005 negotiations, or 
to the North Koreans, that the agreement was bitterly controversial within 
the administration and represented a victory for State Department advocates 
of a conciliatory approach to North Korea over proponents of "regime change" 
in Pyongyang. The chief U.S. negotiator, Christopher Hill, faced strong 
opposition from key members of his own delegation at every step of the way.

It was particularly galling to Victor Cha, director for Asian Affairs in the 
National Security Council and to Richard Lawless, assistant secretary of 
Defense, that Hill agreed to conduct intensive bilateral negotiations with 
North Korea in Beijing prior to the six-party talks. In their eyes, 
bilateral talks amount to implicit diplomatic recognition, and the "steps to 
normalize relations" envisaged in the agreement would legitimize a rogue 
regime. When Hill hosted a dinner in Beijing for the chief North Korean 
negotiator, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, Cha and Lawless refused to 
attend. When a draft agreement was finalized, they held up final agreement 
for three days, unsuccessfully attempting to get the White House to insist 
on tougher terms. The issue was finally resolved only when China insisted on 
sticking to the draft agreement.

During six hours of intensive give-and-take with Kim Gye Gwan, both in his 
office and in two one-on-one dinners with only an interpreter present, he 
said over and over to me, "How can you expect us to return to negotiations 
when it's clear your administration is paralyzed by divisions between those 
who hate us and those who want to negotiate seriously? At the very time when 
we were engaged in such a long dialogue last year, your side was planning 
for sanctions. Cheney did this to prevent further dialogue that would lead 
to peaceful coexistence. So many of your leaders, even the president, have 
talked about regime change. We have concluded that your administration is 

At one point in our farewell dinner on Sept. 22, Kim leaned forward and made 
a pointed comment that clearly foreshadowed the Foreign Ministry's threat to 
conduct a nuclear test. "We really want to coexist with the United States 
peacefully," he said, "but you must learn to coexist with a North Korea that 
has nuclear weapons. You have learned to live with other nuclear powers, so 
why not us?" I replied, "That doesn't sound like you are really committed to 
denuclearization." "You misunderstand me," he said. "We are definitely 
prepared to carry out the Sept. 19 agreement, step by step, but we won't 
completely and finally dismantle our nuclear weapons program until our 
relations with the United States are fully normalized. That will take some 
time, and until we reach the final target, we should find a way to coexist."

North Korea is divided between hawks who favor nuclear weapons and 
pragmatists who are pushing for economic reforms and a denuclearization deal 
with the United States. Just as the engagement policy pursued by the Clinton 
administration strengthened the pragmatists, so the Bush shift to a 
regime-change policy has given the initiative to the hawks.

The financial sanctions are very severe. The United States has in effect 
asked all banks in the world not to deal with North Korea or to handle any 
transactions involving the country. The Bush administration says that it is 
enforcing laws against money laundering and counterfeiting, and seeking to 
stop transactions relating to weapons of mass destruction. But statements by 
Treasury Department officials have made clear that the goal is to cut off 
all North Korean financial intercourse with the rest of the world.

Undersecretary of the Treasury Stuart Levey told The Wall Street Journal on 
Aug. 23: "The U.S. continues to encourage financial institutions to 
carefully assess the risk of holding any North Korea-related accounts." I 
found instances in North Korea???confirmed by foreign businessmen and 
foreign embassies???in which legitimate imports of equipment for light 
industries making consumer goods have been blocked because banks would not 
handle the transactions. "If the U.S. is not ready to lift all of the 
financial sanctions, all at once," Foreign Minister Paik Nam Soon said, 
"then it should show us in other ways that it is ready to give up the 
regime-change policy."

Kim Gye Gwan spelled out what Pyongyang has in mind, calling for bilateral 
negotiations without preconditions leading to a package deal that would be 
followed by the resumption of the six-party talks. For example, he 
indicated, the U.S. would lift some or all of the sanctions in return for 
North Korean concessions such as a cessation of plutonium production at the 
Yongbyon reactor; a missile-test moratorium, or a commitment not to transfer 
nuclear weapons or fissile materials to third parties. Or Washington would 
offer incentives???such as energy aid and removal of North Korea from the 
State Department list of terrorist states???in return for a North Korean 
compromise on aspects of the financial sanctions, to be negotiated.

How much are the sanctions hurting? In Pyongyang's view, they are seriously 
impeding North Korean efforts to carry out economic reforms, because they 
are blocking foreign investment and trade. They are slowing down economic 
growth. But there is no sign whatsoever that the sanctions are undermining 
the Kim Jong Il regime.

North Korea is stable and there is more economic activity in Pyongyang than 
I have ever seen???more cars and bicycles, better-dressed people, more 
restaurants, more small mom and pop stores, and above all more interest in 
making money. That's the result of reform policies that give more autonomy 
and profit incentives to economic enterprises. Everything is still formally 
owned by the state, but enterprises are leased to managers who pay less to 
the state than they used to and can keep much more if they make a profit.

In contrast to Pyongyang, the countryside is stagnant and impoverished in 
many areas. But this has not affected the political stability of the regime. 
The belief that regime change is possible is rooted in the assumption that 
North Korea is an economic basket case. But the country does have 
significant natural resources like gold, iron ore and potential seabed oil 
and gas reserves.

China is a hot-button subject in Pyongyang. All of the seven officials I 
met, including Foreign Minister Paik Nam Soon and Vice President Kim Yong 
Dae, changed the subject when I asked about trade and investment relations 
with China or Beijing's pressure not to conduct a nuclear test. 
Significantly, however, several of them, speaking off the record, pointed to 
North Korea's "strategic geopolitical location" and emphasized that 
Pyongyang wanted close ties with the United States, a faraway power, to 
offset pressures from its neighbors. "It would be good for the United 
States," one of them said, "to have us as a neutral buffer state in this 
dangerous area. Who knows, perhaps there are ways in which the United States 
could benefit from our ports and our intelligence if we become friends."

South Korea, like North Korea, sees the United States as a counterweight to 
its powerful neighbors. In my view, long-term U.S. strategic interests would 
be served by an end to the sanctions policy, coexistence with the Kim Jong 
Il regime in return for its denuclearization and support for Seoul's 
conciliatory approach to Pyongyang as the prelude to a North-South 
confederation and, in time, a unified Korea.

Selig S. Harrison, who just returned from his 10th visit to North Korea, is 
director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy in 

N. Korea Pressures US to Accept Bilateral Talks

By Park Song-wu
Staff Reporter - Korea Times

North Korea's nuclear test was designed to force the United States to 
acknowledge Pyongyang as a nuclear power and to accept its demand for 
bilateral talks, in which it wants to negotiate nuclear disarmament in 
return for security guarantees, a North Korea scholar in Seoul said on 

``The nuclear test was conducted in the run-up to off-year elections in the 
United States,'' Professor Koh Yu-hwan of Dongguk University said. ``By 
pressuring the United States, Pyongyang wants to negotiate its future with 
Washington after being recognized as a nuclear power.''

North Korea has long tried to engage the United States in bilateral talks in 
the belief that such meetings would improve its international status and 
help it obtain bigger concessions.

In the six-party talks, which also include South Korea, the United States, 
China, Russia and Japan, North Korea has increasingly found its traditional 
allies _ China and Russia _ being critical of its nuclear ambitions.

Koh said the North might have decided to hold the nuclear test as the United 
States did not seriously react to its declaration in February 2005 that it 
is a nuclear power.

``Washington chose not to respond seriously,'' he said. ``Instead, 
Washington has kept intensifying pressure on the North through various 
means, including financial sanctions and U.N. restrictions. Under these 
circumstances, the North conducted the nuclear test.''

He described the test as the ``final card'' the North can play, following 
its test-firing of missiles in July.

``I also think the test led the decade-old nuclear crisis to a terminal 
phase,'' Koh said. ``It looks like the North is now waiting to see what kind 
of action the United States will take.''

He said there are two options left for Washington _ bilateral negotiations 
or much stronger sanctions.

``The North's nuclear test means the failure of the United States' 
non-proliferation policy,'' Koh said. ``Now Washington has to acknowledge 
Pyongyang as a nuclear power or begin negotiations for nuclear 

Meanwhile, North Korea experts in Seoul said Pyongyang could conduct 
additional nuclear tests in the coming days to raise tensions in Northeast 

They said Pyongyang's decision to go ahead with the test was made in the 
belief that its relations with Beijing and Seoul, the two biggest 
humanitarian aid providers, will return to normal after a cooling-off 

The crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions erupted in October 2002 when 
U.S. officials said Pyongyang admitted that it was working on a secret 
program to enrich uranium for weapons.

This was in addition to a separate program for producing plutonium, another 
type of nuclear fuel, that was frozen under a 1994 U.S.-North Korea accord 
but has since resumed.

Pyongyang may have at least one and perhaps as many as eight nuclear 
weapons, U.S. officials say.

im at koreatimes.co.kr
10-09-2006 17:50

Go roos!

Andrew Culp
Research and Advocacy Associate
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
PMB 121, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
aculp at napf.org
Phone: (805) 965-3443; Fax: (805) 568-0466

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