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North Korea Needs to Grasp Seriousness of Summit
[Analysis] As term in office nears end for Roh, he may take tougher stance
Email Article  Print Article Lee Byong-chul (merrycow)   
"Lost in Translation?" View : 134 , 4, 3
ROK, 2007/09/13 11:52
" The problem w/ the press availability b/ Presidents Bush and Noh after their meeting in Sydney last week was not a glitch in interpretation that then led to a seemingly awkward moment as Noh asked Bush to clarify his point about ending the Korean war. Nor was the problem that Noh apparently tried to press President Bush for a more conciliatory public message to D.P.R.K. leader Kim Jong-il in advance of Noh's trip to Pyongyang next month.

The problem is that Noh's behavior during that press availabilty demonstrated a total LACK of APPRECIATION for how far the U.S. position has come on North Korea, and how allies should behave in public.

Multilateral meetings like A.P.E.C. and the U.N. General Assembly afford leaders the opportunity to hold several meetings on the side w/ key allies and partners. These "bilats" are often the object of intense internal jockeying w/in the U.S. government as the President has only limited time and every regional affairs office in N.S.C. or State wants the President to meet w/ their leaders. The R.O.K. usually ranks fairly high because they are a stalwart ally, w/ troops in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and because they are always pending issues to discuss including North Korea and the Six party talks.

After the bilats, no one, including designated public spokespersons for the two leaders, should discuss what is said b/ the two leaders in these private meetings. Discussions about longer-term strategy & diplomacy regarding Six Party talks or the upcoming inter-Korean summit need to be shared quietly b/ the two heads of State. A public message that characterizes the meeting is usually then carefully coordinated b/ the two sides.

The problem at Sydney is that Noh was unable to MAINTAIN THIS DISTINCTION b/ public message and private discussions. Noh probably did press the President in their private meeting to offer the prospect of a peace treaty to Kim Jong-il. I would not be surprised if Noh did not also ask Bush for a letter or even a verbal message that he could convey to Kim.

President Bush's public response was fully consistent w/ the September 2005 Joint Statement. A process of discussions on a PERMANENT PEACE regime to END the KOREAN WAR may start as the D.P.R.K. DENUCLEARIZES, but will NOT be completed w/out FULL and VERIFIABLE DISMENTLEMENT in the North. Noh's PRESSING Bush in public more than that is not at all consistent w/ R.O.K. national security interests. Did Noh want Bush to say that he would publicly offer Kim a peace treaty in advance of denuclearization?
Why would the R.O.K. want to sign a peace treaty that would EFFECTIVELY RECOGNIZE the D.P.R.K. as a nuclear weapons state?

Instead, the R.O.K. president might have used the press availability at A.P.E.C. to show some PUBLIC APPRECIATION for how hard the U.S. has worked to move the Six Party process forward. Just after the B.D.A. issue was resolved w/ U.S. officials working behind the scenes to support the return of the money, Noh was quoted in a speech in Korea saying that despite Washington hardliner's best effort to STOP the Six Party process, the R.O.K. government has PREVAILED in moving the
denuclearization process FORWARD. This statement showed NO APPRECIATION for the patience & political will exhibited by Washinton in the Six Party talks. It is BAD to TREAT ONE'S CLOSEST ALLY in PUBLIC as OCCURED in Sydney. It is WORSE to be UNAPPRECIATIVE of how much EFFORT the Bush administration HAS ALREADY put into MOVING the SIX PARTY PROCESS FORWARD. "

***The writer; Mr. Victor D.Cha, is Director of Asian Studies at Gorgetown University and was on the White House National Security Council from 2004 to 2007 and Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the Six Party talks.

- His comment was published on Jo-Seon Il Bo,
September 12, 2007
"Sex"Scandal [2007-09-14 11:33]
Thank God, Roh will be leaving the office soon... Hallelujah!! God Almighty !!!
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