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Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia
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Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia

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Date: Dec. 6th 2013 ...

Date: Dec. 6th 2013
Session: Northeast Asian Peace: Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia

A unified Korean peninsula is directly linked to stability and security cooperation in Northeast Asia. Without achieving a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula, there will be no unification process on the Korean peninsula. This panel discussed Asian perspectives on the future vision of Korean unification and Northeast Asian peace and security.
Distinguished scholars from China, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia and S. Korea presented five scholarly papers.
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Chair: Tae-Hwan KWAK Eastern Kentucky University/ Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies
Papers:
1. The One Korea Unification Vision: What Should Be Done? Tae-Hwan KWAK, Eastern Kentucky University/ Kyungnam University

2. China's Role in Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building, Xiaohe CHENG, Renmin University of China

3. Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building: A Japanese View, KASEDA Yoshinori, University of Kitakyushu

4. ASEAN’s Role on the Korean Peninsula: An Opportunity for the Future?
Er-Win TAN, Geetha Govindasamy, and Chang Kyoo Park (all three, University of Malaya)

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    Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia Document Transcript

    • 1
    • Global Peace Convention 2013 'UNITY IN DIVERSITY' BUILDING SOCIAL COHESION FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE THROUGH UNIVERSAL ASPIRATIONS, PRINCIPLES, AND VALUES December 5-8, 2013, in Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 2:00-3:30 pm. Concurrent Session V: Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia A unified Korean peninsula is directly linked to stability and security cooperation in Northeast Asia. Without achieving a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula, there will be no unification process on the Korean peninsula. This panel will discuss Asian perspectives on the future vision of Korean unification and Northeast Asian peace and security. Distinguished scholars from China, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia and S. Korea will present five scholarly papers on panel titled "Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia. Chair: Tae-Hwan KWAK Eastern Kentucky University/ Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies Papers: 1. The One Korea Unification Vision: What Should Be Done? Tae-Hwan KWAK, Eastern Kentucky University/ Kyungnam University 2. China's Role in Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building, Xiaohe CHENG, Renmin University of China 3. Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building: A Japanese View, KASEDA Yoshinori, University of Kitakyushu 4. ASEAN‘s Role on the Korean Peninsula: An Opportunity for the Future? Er-Win TAN, Geetha Govindasamy, and Chang Kyoo Park (all three, University of Malaya) 2
    • <GPC Concurrent Session V Panelists’ Email and Profiles> 1. Dr. Tae-Hwan KWAK Dr. Kwak, currently Chair-Professor at Kyungnam University and Chairman, Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies (IKFS), Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University, former President of KINU (Korea Institute for National Unification), a think tank, former Director of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES), Kyungnam University, is a specialist on Northeast Asian affairs, inter-Korean relations and Korean peace and unification issues. He taught international relations and East Asian politics over thirty years in 1969-1999 at Eastern Kentucky University and Korean universities. He received his Ph.D. in International Relations from Claremont Graduate University in 1969. Dr. Kwak is a recipient of Global Peace Foundation's 2012 Innovative Scholarship for Peace Award. He is also very active in NGO in Korea. He serves as executive advisor of the Northeast Asian Community Studies Institute (Seoul, Korea). He is now Chairman, Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies (Seoul, Korea). Dr. Kwak is the author of In Search for Peace and Unification on the Korean Peninsula (1986) and The Korean Peninsula in World Politics (1999, in Korean). He is editor and co-editor of 31 books, including North Korea and Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia (Ashgate, March, 2014),Peace Regime Building on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian Security Cooperation (Ashgate: Hampshire, England, June 2010); North Korea’s Foreign Policy under Kim Jong Il: New Perspectives (Ashgate: Hampshire, England, 2009); North Korea’s Second Nuclear Crisis and Northeast Asian Security (Ashgate: Hampshire, England, 2007), and The United States and the Korean Peninsula in the 21st Century (Ashgate: Hampshire, England, 2006), etc. He has authored over 200 book chapters and scholarly articles in Korean, Japanese and English. He is also active in NGO organizations in Seoul, Korea and Los Angeles, U.S.A. Email: thkwak38@hotmail.com Tel: +82-2-3217-2105 (Seoul, Korea); +1-310-729-8383 (LA, USA) 2. Dr. CHENG Xiaohe Email: chengxiaohe@ruc.edu.cn Tel: 86+1+82500769. 3
    • Dr. Cheng serves as an Associate Professor at the School of International Studies and Deputy Director of Center for China’s International Strategic Studies, Renmin University of China. His main research focuses lie in the fields of China’s foreign relations in general and China’s Relations with the United States and some neighboring countries in particular. Dr. Cheng once worked for China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations for some years and served as a visiting research fellow at the Fairbank Center of Harvard University (1997-1998). He also taught China’s Politics & Foreign Policies in Dublin College University (2007) and China’s Foreign Relations in University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (2009). His recently published articles mainly cover China’s relations with the Korean Peninsula and the Indian Subcontinent. Dr. Cheng did his undergraduate works in international politics at Fudan University, Shanghai, and earned his Ph.D in political science from Boston University. 3. Dr. KASEDA Yoshinori Email: ykaseda@kitakyu-u.ac.jp; ykaseda11@yahoo.co.jp Tel:+81-93-964-4072 Dr. Kaseda is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Kitakyushu in Kitakyushu, Japan. He has taught at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Miyazaki International Collage (MIC) in Japan. He received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Kumamoto in Japan in 1993 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from NIU in 1996 and 2005 respectively. His research areas include Japan’s relations with the two Koreas and Japan’s security policy. He published articles in journals such as World Affairs, Pacific Focus, International Journal of Korean Unification Studies, and Journal of Political and Military Sociology. He contributed a chapter to such books as Korea in the 21st Century (Nova Science, 2001), The Korean Peace Process and the Four Powers (Ashgate, 2003), North Korea's Second Nuclear Crisis and Northeast Asian Security (Ashgate, 2007), North Korea's Foreign Policy under Kim Jong Il (Ashgate, 2009), Peace Regime Building on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian Security Cooperation (Ashgate, 2010), and North Korea and Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia (Ashgate, 2013). 4. Dr Er-Win TAN (& his associates) Email: erwintan@um.edu.my Tel:603-7967-5665 Dr Tan is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Department of International and Strategic Studies at the University of Malaya. He holds a PhD in International Politics at the 4
    • Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University and a MA (with High Distinction) in Strategic Studies from the Australian National University. He has research interests in Security Dilemma Theory, Deterrence Theory, Confidence and Security Building Measures, US-North Korean Interaction, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and Security and Diplomacy in the Asia Pacific Region. He is the author of The US Versus the North Korean Nuclear Threat: Mitigating the Nuclear Security Dilemma (Routledge, 2014). Personal website: https://sites.google.com/site/erwintanphd/ Dr. Geetha Govindasamy is Senior Lecturer at the Korean Studies program in the Department of East Asian Studies at University of Malaya, Malaysia. She earned M.Phil. in Oriental Studies from Queens' College, Cambridge University (UK), M.A from the International University of Japan in Niigata, and Ph. D. from Monash University, Australia. Her research and publications are predominantly focused on Inter-Korean relations, foreign policy, and regionalism. Dr Govindasamy is a Research Adjunct at the School of Politics and Inquiry, Monash University, a Korea Foundation Fellow, both an alumna of the 2007 Women in International Security Summer (WIIS) program and the United States’ State Department. Currently, Dr Govindasamy is the Project Director for a Korea Foundation funded project entitled, “Impact of Globalization on Korean Society:Korean, Malaysia and Singaporean perspectives on Multiculturalism.” Dr. Park Chang Kyoo is Visiting Professor at the Korean Studies program in the Department of East Asian Studies at University of Malaya, Malaysia. He is a graduate of Moscow State University. Dr Park has authored numerous articles and books on Korea’s relations with Central Asia and the Russian Federation. His articles have appeared in international journals such as Peace Studies, Acta Russiana, Central Asian Studies and Ethnic Research. In 2010, Dr Park received an award from the South Korean Ministry of Culture for publishing an academic book on “Understanding of Central Asia.” Currently, Dr Park is involved as a co-researcher in a Korea Foundation funded project entitled, “Impact of Globalization on Korean Society: Korean, Malaysia and Singaporean perspectives on Multiculturalism.” 5
    • One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization: What Should Be Done? Tae-Hwan Kwak, Ph. D. Professor Emeritus, Eastern Kentucky University/Chair-Professor, Kyungnam University/ Chairman, GPF Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies Email: thkwak38@hotmail.com Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Global Peace Convention 2013 Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 5-8, 2013 6
    • One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization: What Should Be Done? *** Tae-Hwan Kwak, Ph. D. (Professor Emeritus, Eastern Kentucky University/ Chair Professor, Kyungnam University/ Former President, Korea Institute for National Unification) <Contents> I. Introduction II. Conflicting Unification Formulae of the Two Koreas III. One Korea Formula through Neutralization Regime Building IV. Strategies for Implementing a Five-Stage Neutralization-Unification Formula V. Conclusion <APPENDIX> Abstract Koreans wish to achieve Korean unification as a long-term goal, but it is regrettable that many obstacles hinder the Korean unification process. This paper attempts to evaluate conflicting unification formulae of the two Koreas and to propose one Korea unification formula through neutralization as an alternative to the two Koreas‟ existing formulae. The rationale for one Korea neutralization-unification formula is provided, and a five-stage unification formula is proposed. The Korean people as key players must work together for a neutralization-unification formula and persuade four major powers to support a neutralized, unified Korea, which will be in their best interests. A unified Korea through neutralization will never be easy and smooth. It will take many years of preparation and patience to achieve a unified, neutralized one Korean state. It is argued that a neutralization-unification formula could be an alternative to the existing unification formulae because of conflicting approaches to Korean unification between the two Koreas. Keywords: DFRK unification formula, KNC unification formula, one Korea unification formula, neutralization regime building, rationale for neutralization, five stages of neutralizationunification formula. ***This is a substantially revised version of my earlier paper, titled “The Future Vision for a Unified Korean Peninsula: Two Koreas’ Perspectives,” originally presented at Global Peace Leadership Conference Korea 2012, Grand Hilton Hotel, Seoul, Korea, August 17-19, 2012. The author wishes to express his sincere thanks for his colleagues’ invaluable comments on his original paper. 7
    • I. INTRODUCTION Sixty-eight years have passed since the division of the Korean peninsula in 1945. In reality, there exist two sovereign U.N. member states: the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) and the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). The DPRK is a nuclear armed state, threatening peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia. The road to a peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula appears to be getting bumpier and far from reality. With the inauguration of Lee Myung-bak‘s presidency in February 2008, Lee took a hardline policy toward the North, renouncing the Sunshine Policy, suspending many interKorean economic projects, and linking inter-Korean cooperation with Pyongyang‘s denuclearization process. Lee‘s hard-line policy combined with North Korea‘s missteps and aggressive behavior in 2010 rapidly brought deterioration to inter-Korean relations, heightening tensions and mutual distrust between Seoul and Pyongyang. But President Park Keun-hye in February 2013 adopted a new policy toward North Korea known as ―the Korean Peninsula trustbuilding process,‖ to improve hostile inter-Korean relations. Because of Kim Jong-il‘s sudden death on 17 December, 2011, the DPRK was unstable and uncertain, but it has now gradually been stabilizing under the Kim Jong-un regime. With new leadership changes in South Korea in 2013, inter-Korean relations in the future are expected to improve. A unified Korean peninsula may be achieved under peaceful conditions. Therefore, conditions for the peace and unification processes on the Korean peninsula do not exist and need to be created. The ROK and the DPRK have different unification formulae: the ―Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo‖ (DFRK) formula of North Korea and the ―Korean National Community‖ (KNC) unification formula of South Korea. The DFRK formula requires the abolition of the ROK‘s National Security Law, U.S. troop withdrawal from the South, and other such points as preconditions for implementing the North Korean unification formula. In the meantime, the KNC unification formula has no preconditions for implementing the plan. Because of conflicting unification formulae, an alternative to the existing unification formulae of the two Koreas is thus desirable. The ROK and the DPRK agreed in the second paragraph of the June 15 Joint Declaration (2000) to work together to construct a unified Korea: Seoul‘s KNC unification formula proposal for an inter-Korean confederation and Pyongyang‘s proposal for a low-level federation have common elements, and the two governments can thus work together toward achieving national unification. No discussions on this issue have been held by the two Koreas for the past 13 years. This means that the two Koreas lack political will to unify the Korean peninsula. The two Koreas need to agree on a common unification formula. The author has proposed that a common Korean unification formula through neutralization be considered as an alternative to the conflicting unification formulae of the two Korean states. In this paper the author attempts (1) to evaluate conflicting unification formulae of the two Koreas and (2) to propose one Korea unification vision through neutralization based on a neutralized peace system on the Korean peninsula as an alternative to the two Koreas‘ existing unification formulae. II. CONFLICTING UNIFICATION FORMULAE OF THE TWO KOREAS One of obstacles to the Korean unification process is that the ROK and the DPRK have conflicting unification formulae, and they thus need to work together sincerely to find a mutually 8
    • acceptable unification formula for constructing one Korean state. Let us first take a brief look at the DPRK‘s unification formula which the ROK cannot accept. The DPRK’s unification formula: Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo (DFRK) Kim Il Sung set forth the DFRK plan in his report to the Sixth Congress of the Workers‘ Party of Korea on 10 October, 1980.1 Kim claimed that the DFRK plan was ―the most realistic and shortest way to realize Korea‘s reunification on the basis of the three principles of independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity.‖ Kim spelled out the basic features of the DFRK‘s formula, its composition and functions, and the ten-point policy that should be carried out by the federal government. He further stated that ―Our party holds that the country should be reunified by founding a Federal Republic through the establishment of a unified national government on condition that the North and the South recognize and tolerate each other‘s ideas and social systems, a government in which the two sides are represented on an equal footing and under which they exercise regional autonomy respectively with equal rights and duties‖ (Kim 1980, 60-70). The DFRK‘s formula is a federal (originally translated as confederate in English) system in which the two regional governments can coexist under one roof, i.e., a Supreme National Federal Assembly (SNFA) and a Federal Standing Committee (FSC) are the unified government of the federal state. The SNFA should be formed with an equal number of representatives from the North and the South and an appropriate number of representatives of overseas Koreans. The FSC, a permanent organ of the SNFA and a unified government, would guide the regional governments in the North and the South and administer all affairs of the federal state (see Kwak 1986, 29-39). Kim Il Sung, spelling out the operation of the SNFA and the FSC in a speech on 9 September, 1983, said, ―It would be reasonable that as the unified government of the federal state, the supreme national federal assembly and the federal standing committee elect their respective co-chairman both from the north and south, who will run these bodies in turn‖ (Korea Today 1983, 15).2 The DFRK‘s formula appears to be persuasive, but it has several structural deficiencies. First, North Korea claims that the DFRK is a complete form of federation, not an interim step to the final federation form in the unification process. In fact, if the DFRK is a final form, the problem is that the ROK cannot accept it primarily due to the preconditions for implementing it. Second, given incompatible ideological, political, economic, and social systems, how long can such a federal state survive? There was no mention about power distribution in a federal state and power sharing between the two regional governments and a central government in a unified Korea. Third, there are at least five preconditions for establishing the DFRK: (1) resignation of the current ROK government, (2) abolition of anti-communist policy in the South, (3) elimination of National Security Law in the South, (4) U.S. troop withdrawal from the South, and (5) release of political prisoners, including communists in the South. The ROK must accept these conditions for establishing a federal state under the DFRK‘s formula. Needless to say, Seoul cannot accept these conditions and the DFRK‘s formula, because it perceives the DFRK as a means to communize the South (Kwak 1986). 1 The Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo (DFRK), which was originally translated as the Democratic Confederate Republic of Koryo (DCRK), was based on Kim 1980, 59-81. 2 For historical developments of the DPRK‘s unification proposals in Korean, see Kim 2001. 9
    • The ROK’s Korean National Community (KNC) Unification Formula During the late 1980s, the Soviet Union and East European socialist states went through a rapid process of disintegration, as the Cold War was rapidly dismantled. In the midst of such changes, President Roh Tae-woo, who was inaugurated in February 1988, promoted a new North Korea policy in the changing international security environment. Roh, in a special declaration on 7 July, 1988, acknowledged North Korea as a partner in good will. Based on this premise, he proposed that Seoul and Pyongyang develop a joint national community in which the two Koreas would enjoy co-prosperity. Subsequently, to achieve this common goal, the Roh government passed an Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act on 1 August, 1990, thereby opening a new era of exchange and cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang (Peace and Cooperation: White Paper on Korean Unification 1996). In an address to the National Assembly on 11 September, 1989, Roh presented his original Korean National Community (KNC) unification formula, which has been the official unification formula of the ROK (Roh 1989). Thanks to such efforts, Seoul and Pyongyang reached a set of historic agreements, including the Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression and Exchange and Cooperation (referred to as the Basic Agreement), the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the Agreement on the Creation and Operation of Joint Commissions, which came into effect on 19 February, 1992. Subsequently, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed on the creation of a Joint Military Commission and an Economic Exchanges and Cooperation Commission, as well as the establishment of a South-North liaison office. An agreement on the creation and operation of a South-North Reconciliation Commission, along with supplementary agreements in each area, was adopted in September 1992. Roh‘s initial ―engagement policy‖ toward North Korea was remarkably innovative and constructive for improving inter-Korean relations. President Kim Young Sam in his speech on the 49th anniversary of national liberation on 15 August, 1994 presented a modified version of the Roh‘s KNC unification formula, clarifying basic philosophy, unification process, and procedures for unification as well as the future of a unified Korea. Kim‘s modified KNC unification formula proposed a national community as a new paradigm in unification policy. A national community provides a communal society where all the members share common values and a common ethnic heritage. Seoul has long maintained that the two Koreas should eventually create a single national democratic welfare community by restoring the sense of common heritage through inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation.3 The ROK‘s unification formula, based on the three principles of independence, peace, and democracy, is designed to establish a unified, democratic republic through the inter-Korean confederation as an interim step under the principles of peace, non-use of military force, and grand national unity through democratic procedures. The ROK proposed a blueprint for a unified Korea through an inter-Korean confederation by drafting and finalizing a unified constitution, holding general elections, and forming a unified legislature and a unified government. President Roh Tae-woo suggested the creation and operation of a Korean National Community as an interim stage pending the establishment of a unified Korea, proposing the establishment and 3 For details of President Kim‘s KNC unification formula, see Peace and Cooperation: White Paper on Korean Unification, 1996, Ministry of National Unification, ROK, 45-55. 10
    • operation of a Council of Presidents, a Council of Ministers, a Council of Representatives, and a Joint Secretariat as the organizations of the interim system.4 The Lee Myung-bak and Park Keun-hye governments officially supported the KNC unification formula. In short, the ROK has supported a three-stage unification formula based on three principles of independence, peace, and liberal democracy. The Korean unification process is based on a three-stage gradual approach to a unified Korea: first stage, inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation; second stage, South-North Korean confederation; and third stage, establishment of a unified Korea. The ROK‘s unification vision is to achieve one nation, one state, one system, and one government through the KNC unification formula. The ROK hoped that the DPRK would pursue reform and openness under conditions of stability and abandon its ambitions to communize the South, and it clearly reiterated that it had no desire to unify the Korean peninsula by absorbing the North. A unified Korean peninsula no longer remains wishful thinking. It has now become a realistic goal. This calls for greater preparedness on the part of the South for unification, including the buildup of its capabilities to accomplish the task, as well as its more active efforts to improve inter-Korean relations. Paragraph Two of the June 15 (2000) Joint Declaration President Kim Dae-jung and Chairman Kim Jong Il had a historic summit meeting in Pyongyang on 13-15 June, 2000 and signed the June 15 Joint Declaration, opening a new era of reconciliation, cooperation and peace between the two Koreas. Since the first inter-Korean summit in June 2000, inter-Korean relations substantially improved until the advent of the Lee Myung-bak government in February 2008. The second inter-Korean summit between President Roh Moo-hyun and Chairman Kim Jong Il contributed to changes in North Korean perceptions of South Korea and the outside world. But North Korea‘s nuclear issue has been a key obstacle to the Korean peace/unification processes. Inter-Korean relations under the Lee regime went back to the hostile inter-Korean relations prior to the June 15 Joint Declaration. (1) DPRK’s Proposal for a Low-Level Federation Why is it so important for the two Koreas to discuss the second paragraph of the fivepoint June 15 Joint Declaration? It states, ―Acknowledging that there are common elements in the South‘s proposal for a confederation and the North‘s proposal for a federation of lower stage as the formulae for achieving reunification, the South and the North agreed to promote reunification in that direction in the future‖ (Peace and Cooperation: White Paper 2001, 39). This joint declaration is a departure from the past, symbolizing the end of ideological arguments.5 Let us turn to discuss differences and similarities between the two proposals and take a brief look at the key problems in the declaration. As discussed above, Pyongyang has maintained that its DFRK‘s unification formula is a complete form in which a federal state will exercise national defense and diplomatic rights, while the South and the North will exercise their respective rights over regional affairs. But since 1991, Pyongyang has maintained the basic structure of one nation, one state, two systems, and two 4 For details of the Special Address Made by President Roh Tae Woo at the 147th Regular National Assembly, see Korean National Community Unification Formula: Basic Explanatory Materials. 1989. Seoul: National Unification Board. 5 A North Korean version of the second paragraph in the Joint Declaration reads, ―The north and the south, recognizing that the low-level federation proposed by the north and the commonwealth system proposed by the south for the reunification of the country have similarity, agreed to work together for the reunification in this direction in the future‖ (http://naenara.com.kp/en/one/nation.php?1+koryo; search: 12 March, 2012). 11
    • regional governments, while each regional government will take charge of national defense and diplomatic rights. The DFRK plan tactically changed in the early 1990s. It appears that the DFRK plan sees a gradual approach to unification and a federal state remains a symbol and each regional government will be in charge of economics, culture, national defense, and diplomacy. This plan is similar to that of the South‘s confederation proposal at the second stage of its unification formula. Kim Il Sung wanted to keep his system intact through temporary coexistence with the South in a hostile international environment following the end of the Cold War. The DPRK‘s proposal for a low-level federation symbolized peaceful coexistence between the two Korean states. One argues that North Korea has changed its unification formula strategically, but this argument is not persuasive. Nevertheless, it appears that the DFRK plan still remains alive. An Kyoung-ho, Director of Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, explaining the DPRK‘s proposal for a low-level federation at the 6 October, 2000 meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the proposal for founding a Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo (DFRK) as a unification formula, stressed its low-level federation as a unification formula under which the two regional governments in Korea will retain political, diplomatic, and military rights as they now do, without handing over sovereign power to a federal government called a ―national reunification council.‖ Under the council, the two regional governments will enjoy sovereign autonomy before establishing a DFRK (Rodong Sinmun, 7 October, 2000; Pyongyang Times, 14 October, 2000; Vantage Point, November 2000, 26-27). The DPRK argued that the shortest way to Korean unification was to establish a national unified state with a federation formula based on ―one nation, one state, two systems and two governments.‖ The federal formula is based on the three principles of national reunification -independence, peaceful reunification, and great national unity -- and this low-level federation was initially proposed by President Kim Il Sung in his 1991 New Year message. The concept of the federal republic was first introduced by Kim in August 1960, and formulated in the form of a proposal to the South under the name of the ―Democratic Confederate (originally Confederate in English, later changed to Federal) Republic of Koryo‖ (DC (F) RK) on 10 October, 1980. The DC(F)RK formula was a complete form for national unification, while North Korea‘s proposal for a low-level federation is an interim form for eventually establishing the DFRK. Kim Il Sung in October 1980 emphasized, ―the most realistic and reasonable way to reunify the country independently, peacefully and on the principle of great national unity is to draw the north and the south together into a federal state, leaving the ideas and social systems existing in the north and south as they are.‖6 Pyongyang‘s proposal for a national (re)unification council was not spelled out in detail in term of functions and roles in a low-level federation. In my view, its low-level federation should be understood as an interim stage to the high-level federation, i.e., a DFRK formula; namely, the DPRK maintains a step-by-step unification plan through a low-level federation to establish the DFRK. (2) South Korea’s Proposal for Inter-Korean Confederation The ROK‘s proposal for an inter-Korean confederation in the June 15 Joint Declaration is, 6 For a new English version of Kim Il Sung‘s Report to the 6th Congress of the Workers‘ Party of Korea on the work of the central committee (excerpt),10 October, 1986, see http://naenara.com.kp /en/one/nation.php?1+koryo (search: 24 June, 2012). 12
    • in fact, the second phase of the ROK‘s unification formula. The first phase of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation in the KNC unification formula will follow the second phase of the national community (particularly, economic and social community), which is an interim stage to a unitary unified Korea. Therefore, the ROK‘s proposal for inter-Korean confederation assumes one nation, one state, two systems, and two governments, and the two Koreas will possess their respective defense and diplomatic rights. Further, the two Koreas will have an interKorean summit meeting, an inter-Korean parliamentary meeting, and an inter-Korean cabinet meeting. Similarities and Differences between the Two Formulae What are common features of the Seoul‘s confederation proposal and the Pyongyang‘s low-level federation proposal in the June 15 Joint Declaration? First, the two proposals are based on a principle of peaceful unification. Second, the two proposals have an interim stage in the unification process, not a final stage of Korean unification. The loose form of federation proposed by Kim Il Sung in his New Year address in 1991 appeared to establish a state under one roof, recognizing the existence of two regional governments. In short, North Korea appears to promote a loose form of the DFRK plan under the different term, ―a low-level federation‖ in the June 15 Joint Declaration. Third, North Korea‘s proposal for a low-level federation granted diplomatic and defense rights to two regional governments. The two regional governments would participate in the central government on an equal basis. But the national (re)unification council the North Korea mentioned is not yet spelled out in detail. The differences between the two Koreas‘ unification formulae are: First, North Korea‘s DFRK plan aims at achieving one nation, one state, two systems, and two governments, while South Korea‘s KNC unification formula is designed to achieve one nation, one state, one system and one government. Second, Pyongyang‘s proposal for a low-level federation was designed to prevent unification through absorption by Seoul. Third, the DFRK unification formula has preconditions for implementing the plan, while Seoul‘s formula does not. Fourth, the DFRK plan has a central government, while Seoul‘s inter-Korean confederation plan is an interim stage to a unified Korea. Hence, it does not have a central government (Namkoong 2001, 59-80). As shown below in Table 1, the differences between Pyongyang‘s DFRK formula and Seoul‘s KNC formula are remarkable, such that a unified Korea would have different structures and identities. The KNC formula is to establish a unitary, democratic unified state based on nationalism, democracy, freedom and a welfare state, while the DFRK formula is to establish a federal state with one nation, one state, two systems, and two regional governments. Further, the DFRK plan attached at least five preconditions for establishing a federal state, which the ROK cannot accept. Thus, there has been no progress in moving forward to the Korean unification process since the June 15 Joint Declaration in 2000. <Table 1> A Comparison of the Two Koreas‘ Unification Formulae ROK Name Basic DPRK Korean National Community Democratic Federal Republic of (KNC) Unification Formula Koryo (DFRK) Formula Liberal democracy Juche (self-reliance) ideology 13
    • Ideology Unification Key Body All people Proletariat class Unification Principles Independence, peace, and democracy Independence, peaceful reunification, and great national unity Unification Process Three phases: (1) Gradual completion of a federal Reconciliation/cooperation(2) state. Low-level Inter-Korean confederation(3) federationDFRK A unified single state Interim Stage Inter-Korean confederation Low-level federation Procedures for General, democratic election in a Unified the South and the North under a A series of political negotiations Korea unified constitution One nation, one state, two Format of a One nation, one state, one systems, two regional Unified Korea system, one government governments Future Vision Freedom, welfare, human dignity of a Unified guaranteed, advanced democratic A neutral state Korea state Source: Author‘s Data Collection The ROK and the DPRK need to do joint research on a common unification formula acceptable to both sides. For the past 13 years, the ROK and the DPRK have not even discussed the second paragraph of the June 15 Joint Declaration. The common unification formula should begin with joint research on the second paragraph in order to implement this agreed provision in the future. As we have seen in our discussion of the two Koreas‘ unification formulae, the two Koreas cannot accept the each other‘s unification formula. The two Koreas should therefore work together in designing a common unification formula. Let us now turn to an alternative to the existing unification formulae of the two Koreas. III. ONE KOREA FORMULA THROUGH NEUTRALIZATION REGIME BUILDING The ROK and the DPRK have insisted on their own unification formulae. Seoul cannot accept Pyongyang‘s DFRK formula, while Pyongyang cannot accept Seoul‘s KNC formula either. Hence, the author proposes a new Korean unification formula through neutralization as an alternative. Peace through Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula (PNKP) The author would like to propose a unified Korea through neutralization regime building based on the concept of peace through neutralization on the Korean peninsula (PNKP). Its concept is relatively easy to understand. If the two Koreas make all efforts to neutralize the extreme thinking, hard-line policy and behavior, then national reconciliation, harmony of interest, and peace between them will ensue. In that direction, there will be a smooth road to a peaceful unification of Korea. A unified Korea will remain a non-aligned, neutralized state, seeking a 14
    • balanced security and foreign policy. The concept of PNKP should be considered at three levels: (1) the South Korean domestic level, (2) the inter-Korean level, and (3) the international level. First, ideological cleavages between conservatives and progressives in South Korea need to be resolved through PNKP, and national consensus on a neutralization unification formula then needs to be achieved. Without neutralizing ideological cleavages in South Korea, there will be no national consensus. Second, inter-Korean reconciliation, cooperation, and peace through neutralization need to be achieved for a neutralized, unified Korea. Third, a unified Korea will be a non-aligned, neutralized state, making no military alliance with any of the four major powers (the U.S., China, Japan, or Russia), maintaining a peaceful and balanced diplomacy with them. It is argued that the neutralization of the Korean peninsula will be in the best interest of the Korean people and the four powers, resolving intra- and inter-Korean ideological conflicts and promoting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The four major powers need to make firm commitments not to interfere in the domestic affairs of a unified Korea. A unified Korea would be a peaceful, neutralized, non-aligned state, offering a foundation for peace, security, and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia. In short, a neutralized peace regime on the Korean peninsula will be achieved if there is a national consensus on Korean unification through neutralization in the South and the North. In the near future, with some improvement in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and some progress in peace-regime building on the Korean peninsula, the Korean unification issue through neutralization could be discussed at the Six-Party Talks and/or multilateral talks. Neutralization Regime-Building as an Alternative to Two Unification Formulae A unified Korea remains a future vision, not a reality for 75 million Koreans. The ROK and the DPRK have lived in a hostile confrontation for the last 68 years since the division of the Korean peninsula. Nevertheless, Seoul and Pyongyang have made little efforts to create a unified one Korean state by peaceful means. As discussed above, the reality is that the two Koreas have failed to agree on a common unification formula because of lack of political will to unify the Korean peninsula. The author has opposed a Korean unification by force, absorption, and incorporation. It appears that one Korea vision may be achieved by inter-Korean and international agreements through neutralization. Neutralization is designed as a means to promote national reconciliation, harmony of interest, peace, and unification on the Korean peninsula, where the interests of the four major powers intersect, mainly because of its geostrategic location. We cannot change geography in Northeast Asia, but we may change history by creating a unification formula through neutralization. A unified Korea‘s independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty would be guaranteed by the four major powers concerned, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, surrounding the Korean peninsula for all times, permanently in times of war and peace under the condition that a unified Korea would permanently agree to renounce war except for self-defense. In the present Northeast Asian security environment, the four powers are unwilling to support Korean unification primarily because their interests are in conflict. However, a unified Korea through neutralization will benefit all parties concerned—the two Koreas and the four powers. A unified, neutralized Korea will be in the best interest of the four powers, and thus they will support a unified Korean peninsula through neutralization. The ROK and the DPRK need to be prepared for a unified, neutralized Korean peninsula. First and foremost they must neutralize themselves by disengaging from the bilateral arms race, 15
    • military provocations, ideological feuding, and military alliance systems. The two Koreas also have to promote national reconciliation, mutual trust and confidence building. Thus, interKorean relations must be improved and peaceful so that the two Koreas can negotiate with the four major powers on the neutralization on the Korean peninsula. When a neutralization treaty between the two Koreas and the four powers is concluded, a divided Korea would be transformed into a peaceful and neutralized Korean peninsula. Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula is based on an assumption that the four powers would prefer a unified, neutral, independent, and peaceful Korea to a divided, unstable one. What‘s more, a unified Korean peninsula is unlikely to change the overall strategic balance of power in Northeast Asia. Hence, the author believes that the four major powers are likely to support a neutralized, unified Korean peninsula, which will be in their best interests (Cai 2012; Kaseda 2012; Kim 2012; Zhebin 2012). The Rationale for a Neutralization-Unification Formula on the Korean Peninsula What is the rationale for neutralization on the Korean peninsula? Why is a neutralization unification formula desirable? We will look into it from four perspectives. First, from a geopolitical perspective, the Korean peninsula has been a victim of a balance of power politics among major powers surrounding the peninsula for many centuries because of a geopoliticalstrategic location, and thus neutralization will liberate the Korean peninsula from a balance of power politics. Second, from the four major powers‘ perspectives, neutralization will be in best interests of the four major powers (the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan). Hence, they will be supportive of a neutralized, denuclearized, unified Korean peninsula. Third, from the perspectives of the two Koreas, Koreans have suffered from deep ideological cleavages between extreme conservatives and radicals, and neutralization could thus help resolve them. Neutralization could weaken ideological feuds among South Koreans and between the two Koreas as well. Further, neutralization will reduce arms spending of the two Koreas, so the two would invest in economic development projects. In addition, neutralization could also diminish Pyongyang‘s incentives for being a nuclear state, thereby accelerating the denuclearization and peace-regime-building process on the Korean peninsula. Fourth, from a unification formula perspective, the ROK and the DPRK have conflicting unification formulae and cannot accept each other‘s present unification formula as discussed above. Thus, the author proposes a neutralization-unification formula as an alternative to existing two Koreas‘ unification formulae. It is argued that one of the core obstacles to the Korean peace and unification processes is the absence of a common Korean unification formula and a common ideology acceptable to the two Koreas. Transforming various conflicting ideologies such as socialism, Juche ideology (independence or self-reliance), Sungunjongchi (military-first politics), capitalism, democracy, and human rights into a common unification ideology seems an impossible task. However, the idea of neutralization serving as a catalyst can contribute to a framework of Korean unification based on the traditional concept of a Hongik Ingan Tongil ideology (way of unification benefiting all). Therefore, we have proposed a Hongik ideology as a common ideology of a unified Korea. IV. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTING A FIVE-STAGE NEUTRALIZATIONUNIFICATION FORMULA 16
    • As discussed above, neutralization based on a neutralized peace regime on the Korean peninsula is absolutely necessary for one Korean state building and will be a win-win strategy for all parties concerned. A neutralization-unification formula is based on a five-stage neutralization plan through inter-Korean economic-and-peace-community building to construct a unitary, unified, neutralized state. The neutralization-unification formula will be briefly discussed below. A neutralized Korea will enjoy a neutral status in time of war and peace in international law. The idea of a permanent neutralization on the Korean peninsula has been supported for many centuries by scholars, politicians, and intellectuals primarily because of geopolitical location of the Korean peninsula (Hwang 1987; Kang 2010; Kang 2007). Since the Korean peninsula has been a victim of balance of power politics, a neutralized Korean peninsula idea appeals to many people as a means to insure peace, security, and prosperity on the Korean peninsula. It is significant and encouraging that Dr. Sohn Hak-kyu, a senior advisor to the Democratic Party, made a proposal for the Korean peninsula neutralization-unification formula on 16 July, 2012 (Yonhap News, 16 July, 2012). The Charter for Neutralization on the Korean peninsula (see Appendix) was declared as a neutralization- unification formula on 21 October, 2010 in Seoul, Korea. The Charter proposes the future vision for a unified Korea through a five-stage neutralization formula. A five-stage neutralization-unification formula for constructing a unitary, unified, neutralized state will be briefly discussed below. The 1st Stage: Neutralization Preparation It is desirable that the ROK and the DPRK be normalized by concluding a basic treaty by confirming existing inter-Korean agreements. The ROK and the DPRK should recognize each other as an independent, sovereign state and reaffirm inviolability of the territorial boundary drawn by the Korean Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953 until the conclusion of a Korean peninsula peace treaty. A permanent mission in each other‘s capital will be established with a normalization of inter-Korean relations. They shall resolve their disputes by peaceful means, respecting the Charter of the United Nations by refraining from threat or use of force. They shall sincerely observe the inter-Korean agreements of the July 4 joint declaration, the 1992 interKorean basic agreement, the June 15, 2000 joint declaration and the October 4, 2007 joint statement for promoting mutual confidence-building and a peaceful coexistence. The author has proposed that the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement needs to be replaced by a peace treaty signed by the four parties concerned (the U.S., China, and the two Koreas). Four peace agreements must be included in a Korean peninsula peace treaty: a U.S.-DPRK peace agreement, a South-North peace agreement, a U.S.-China peace agreement, and a China-ROK peace agreement. Without concluding a peace treaty to end the Korean War, it is meaningless to discuss a unification issue through neutralization. The peace-regime building on the Korean peninsula, along with the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is a top agenda item to be discussed at the four-party talks in the near future. The 2nd Stage: Inter-Korean Neutralization-Unification Formula Agreement The ROK and the DPRK should agree to declare neutralization regime building on the Korean peninsula, and then they need to adopt a South-North joint agreement for a neutralization-unification formula. The ROK and the DPRK would appear to have many difficulties in agreeing on a common unification formula based on the DFRK and KNC formulae. 17
    • The fusion of the North‘s unification formula and the South‘s plan is more difficult to be achieved than an agreement on the neutralization-unification formula. The two Koreas need to have political will to agree on the neutralization roadmap. A neutralization agreement between the ROK and the DPRK, including a neutralization declaration will be concluded with a provision setting up an interim de jure joint unification commission titled ―The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC).‖ The JSUC, consisting of equal numbers from the South and the North and appropriate numbers from overseas Koreans, not exceeding two hundred (200) members all together, and the highest joint organ to manage Korean unification procedures, has the following structures and roles. The JSUC will elect its standing committee members of twenty (20) representing equal numbers of the South and the North with a few members representing overseas Koreans, and has its Secretariat. The JSUC will be in charge of establishing institutional arrangements for establishing the United Republic of Corea (the URC), preparing for the URC constitution, designing a new national flag, composing a new national anthem, and designating a new capital for the URC. The JSUC will establish a Joint Arms Control and Disarmament Commission to reappraise and adjust the armed forces for the neutralized URC and a Joint Military Command Structure to present a united front to any foreign intervention. The JSUC will be in charge of negotiating at any time with any foreign countries concerned and international organizations for achieving a peaceful unification through neutralization. At this stage, it is expected that an interKorean economic community will be established through interim stages of confederation and possibly federation as specified in June 15 (2000) joint statement. There are still two states, two systems and two governments on the Korean peninsula. An inter-Korean confederation will be set at this stage. The 3rd Stage: International Neutralization Treaty Korean unification through neutralization could not be achieved without international cooperation because the four powers‘ interests intersect on the Korean peninsula. The four Powers (the U.S., China, Russia and Japan) will conclude a neutralization treaty with the two Koreas and later the URC, recognizing its permanent neutrality status and its non-alignment policy. The treaty endorsed by the United Nations will be registered at the UN Secretariat. The four powers will guarantee a neutralized Korean peninsula. The treaty should be registered at UN Secretariat and it should be endorsed by the United Nations. This stage may be in an interKorean federal status. The 4th Stage: Neutralization Constitution The two Koreas will draft and adopt a neutralization constitution which will be approved by the Korean people, and then general elections will be prepared in the entire Korean peninsula according to the new constitution for constructing unified one Korea: one state, one system and one government. The 5th Stage: General Elections/One Korea There will be general, democratic elections in the entire Korean peninsula to establish one Korean state. A neutralized, denuclearized, unified Korean state will be born through general e l e c t i o n . T h e n am e o f a n e w u n i fi e d , n e u t r a l i z e d Ko r e a w i l l b e t h e Un i t e d Republic of Corea (the URC) founded on a Korean traditional ideology of Hongik Tongil and 18
    • peace, liberal democracy, human rights and market economy. The URC, denouncing war, recognizing a peaceful settlement of any international disputes and declaring a permanent neutrality, will preserve and ensure its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, sincerely carrying out its obligations of neutrality. The URC, a member of the United Nations, will be a peaceful, non-aligned, neutralized state which is defensive and armed, defending its independence and territorial integrity against attack by any foreign country with all available means. Neutrality is an obligation of the state, not of the individual citizen, therefore citizens have no obligation to remain neutral; they may freely express their own opinions. The URC and the four powers will establish three enforcement machineries: a Peace Observer Team, an International Tribunal, and a Board of Guarantors, each consisting of five members - one from each country to guarantee the permanent neutrality of the URC. The Peace Observer Team will investigate and verify any violations of the neutrality law and submit its report to the International Tribunal. The International Tribunal will render its judgments on the findings from the Peace Observer Team and send its recommendations to the Board of Guarantors, which will implement the recommendations from the International Tribunal with all available means, and it may even resort to the armed forces of the member states to defend the permanent neutrality of the URC. These machineries will be dissolved when the permanent neutrality is firmly established. The five-stage neutralization-unification formula in <Table 2> provides a roadmap for building one Korean state on the Korean peninsula. <Table 2> Specific Action Plan for a Five-Stage Neutralization-Unification Formula 1st Normalization of Inter-Korean relations through an inter-Korean basic treaty. Stage: Peace and neutralization regime-building: implementation of existing inter-Korean Neutralization agreements/ denuclearization/ a Korean peninsula peace treaty will be signed. Preparation 2nd Stage: Inter-Korean NeutralizationUnification Formula Agreement A neutralization regime declaration on the Korean peninsula. A neutralization-unification formula agreement between the ROK and the DPRK: Establishment of a joint unification commission, ―The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC),‖ 200 members; the Standing Committee(20 members); the Secretariat; Joint Arms Control and Disarmament Commission and Joint Military Command Structure for joint measures against any foreign intervention. Establishment of inter-Korean economic community through interim stages of confederation and federation as specified in June 15 (2000) joint statement. 2 states, 2 systems and 2 governments. InterKorean confederation stage. 19
    • 3rd Stage: International Neutralization Treaty A conclusion of a neutralization treaty between the two Koreas and the four major powers (the U.S., Russia, China, and Japan) and later the URC, recognizing its permanent neutrality status and its non-alignment policy. The four powers‘ guarantees on a neutralized Korean peninsula. This stage may be in an inter-Korean federal status. 4th Stage: Draft of a unified, neutralized constitution and approval by Korean people. Two Koreas‘ Neutralization adoption of the Constitution. One Korea vision: 1 state, 1 system and 1 government. Constitution 5th Stage: General Elections/One Korea Holding of general, democratic elections on the entire Korean peninsula/ Establishment of a neutralized, denuclearized, unified one Korea/UN member. The United Republic of Corea (the URC) founded on a Korean traditional ideology of Hon gik Tongil and peace, freedom, equality, democracy, justice and human rights; The URC, a peaceful, non-aligned, neutralized state, and defensive and armed, defending its independe nce and territorial integrity. The realization of the five-stage Korean unification through neutralization requires the political will of the two Korean top leaders and many years of research and preparation. Now is the time for the Korean people to seriously engage in research on the neutralization-unification formula. The ROK and the DPRK must take the initiative to persuade the Korean people and the four major powers to accept a neutralized unification formula to construct a unified one Korean state. Seoul and Pyongyang need to begin building mutual trust, first ceasing their arms race, avoiding military confrontation, and gradually engaging in military-security confidence building between the two Koreas. The two Koreas need to engage in improving inter-Korean relations by reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula and eventually constructing an inter-Korean economic community. It will take a long time for the two Korean states to conclude a neutralization treaty with the four major powers, and the Korean people must be patient and vigilant with political will to establish a neutralized, unified Korea. One must understand that there is a long, difficult road ahead to achieve a neutralized, unified Korean peninsula. V. CONCLUSION We have evaluated current unification formulae of the two Koreas, which are unacceptable by both sides, and proposed a neutralization-unification formula as an alternative to the two Koreas‘ existing formulae. The rationale for neutralization on the Korean peninsula has been provided and a five-stage unification formula through neutralization has been proposed for further research. The DPRK‘s nuclear issue has been a key obstacle to the peace process on the Korean 20
    • peninsula, and its denuclearization process has been long stalled since its long-range rocket launch on 5 April, 2009. Pyongyang reactivated its nuclear facilities and conducted nuclear tests, violating the 19 September, 2005, joint agreement. To resume the long-stalled Six-Party Talks, the U.S. and the DPRK produced the 29 February 2012 agreement. Again, Pyongyang violated U.N. Resolutions 1718 and 1874 and the 29 February agreement by launching a satellite using a three-stage rocket on 13 April and 12 December, 2012. The UN Security Council unanimously passed the Resolution 2087 on 22 January 2013. The DPRK viciously reacted in words, declaring its intention to abandon the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. 7 The DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on 12 February, 2013. As a result, a new crisis on the Korean peninsula arose in the spring of 2013. But with the resumption of the long-stalled Six-Party Talks under China‘s mediation, it is expected that the denuclearization process on the Korean peninsula will be restarted in the near future. The DPRK‘s amended constitution is now referred to as the ―Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il Constitution.‖ The preamble credits Kim Jong Il with turning ―our motherland into an evervictorious power of political thought, a nuclear power and an invincible military power and opened a great, brilliant path to the construction of a powerful and prosperous nation.‖8 Whether the DPRK will resume the denuclearization process, thus abandoning a nuclear power status, remains to be seen. The road to a unified Korea through neutralization will be long, rough, and difficult, but the Korean unification process has already begun. In the short-term, the denuclearization and peace-regime-building processes on the Korean peninsula should be pursued simultaneously. The unification process will be accelerated with the denuclearization and peace-regime-building processes on the Korean peninsula. The Korean people as key players must work together for a unified Korean peninsula and persuade major powers to support a neutralized, unified Korea, which will be in their best interests. Once again, the Korean people must understand that their firm determination will eventually build a new, neutralized and advanced welfare state through neutralization with full support and cooperation of the four major powers.<The End> 7 For details, see DPRK Foreign Ministry 2013; DPRK National Defense Commission 2013; The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea 2013. 8 See the full text of the amended ―Kim Il Sung- Kim Jong-il Constitution‖ (http://naenara.com.kp/en/great/constitution.php; search: 30 May 2012). 21
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    • Kim Il Sung. 1983. ―Speech Made at the Banquet to Celebrate the 35th Birthday of the DPRK, September 9, 1983,‖ Korea Today: Monthly Journal. 326, No. 11, 15. ―Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il Constitution.‖ http://naenara.com.kp/en/great/constitution.php (search: 30 May 2012). Kim, Tae Young. 2001. Aeguk Aejok-eui Tongil Bangan [North Korea‟s Unification Formula]. Pyongyang: Pyongyang Publishing Co. Kim, Tong. 2012. ―The Future Vision for a Unified Korean Peninsula: A U.S. Perspective.‖ Global Peace Festival Foundation ed., Global Peace Festival Korea 2012 Conference Papers. 2012. 8. 17-19, Grand Hilton Hotel, Seoul, Korea. Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 2012. ―The Future of the Six-Party Talks in the Post-Kim Jong Il Era,‖ Korea Review. Vol. II, No. 1. 12-32. Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 2010a. ―A Creative Formula for Building a Korean Peninsula Peace Regime.‖ Tae-Hwan Kwak and Seung-Ho Joo, eds., Peace Regime Building on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian Security Cooperation(Hampshire: Ashgate). 21-44. Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 2010b. ―The Six-Party Talks and North Korea‘s Denuclearization: Evaluation and Prospects.‖ Pacific Focus. Vol. XXV, No. 2. 211-236. Kwak, Tae-Hwan and Seung-Ho Joo, eds. 2010. Peace Regime Building on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian Security Cooperation (Hampshire: Ashgate). Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 2009. ―The Korean Peninsula Peace Regime: How to Build it.‖ Pacific Focus. Vol. XXIV, No. 1. Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 2004. ―The Six-Party Nuclear Talks: An Evaluation and Policy Recommendations.‖ Pacific Focus. Vol. XIX, No. 2. 7-55. Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 2003 ―The Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Building through the Four-Party Peace Talks: Re-evaluation and Policy Recommendations.‖ Journal of East Asian Affairs, Vol. 17, No. 1. 1-32. Kwak, Tae-Hwan and Seung-Ho Joo eds. 2003. The Korean Peace Process and the Four Powers (Hampshire: Ashgate). Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 1997. ―The Four-Party Peace Treaty: A Creative Formula for Building a Peace Regime on the Korean Peninsula.‖ Korea Journal for Defense Analyses. Vol. IX, No. 2. 117-135. Kwak, Tae-Hwan. 1989. In Search of a Step-by-Step Policy for the Realization of the Korean National Community (A Specially Commissioned Research Report to the Ministry of 23
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    • <APPENDIX> The following Charter for Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula was declared on October 21, 2010 in Seoul, Korea. The Charter for Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula Preamble Ever since the division of the Korean peninsula more than sixty-five years ago, there have been numerous attempts to achieve unification of the divided Korea. The Republic of Korea (ROK or the South) and the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK or the North) have thus far failed to agree on a common unification formula. Therefore, we propose a neutralized unification formula as an alternative, which is to create a single, permanently neutral, unified Korean state through gradual integration of the South and the North through neutralization. While simple neutrality known as "ordinary" or "occasional" neutrality exists only in time of war, the permanent neutrality exists in times of war and peace permanently. Permanent neutrality aims at bringing peace and security to the Korean peninsula, which has been constantly subject to great power politics for centuries primarily because of its geo-strategic location. In this context, it would be instructive to recall an old Korean adage, ―When whales fight, the shrimp in the middle gets crushed.‖ We cannot change our geography, but by adopting the neutralization paradigm, we can change our history. Our independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty would be guaranteed by the four major powers concerned, i.e., the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, surrounding the Korean peninsula for all times, permanently in times of both war and peace under the condition that a unified Korea would agree to renounce a war permanently except for self-defense. The most fundamental merit of permanent neutrality is that it benefits both parties – the neutralized Korea and the four major powers as it provides guaranteed security for Korea and peaceful relations among the guarantor powers as they can disengage themselves from their rivalries on the Korean peninsula. This shall generate a win-win situation for both sides. This charter provides a conceptual framework for building a neutralization regime on the Korean peninsula in which the future vision of the five-stage unification formula for neutralization is proposed in brief as follows: (1) the first stage is a normalization of South-North Korean relations through a peace regime building; (2) the second stage is a joint agreement on the Korean peninsula neutralization between the South and the North ; (3) the third stage is to conclude an international treaty on the Korean peninsula neutralization between the South and the North and the four major powers concerned; (4) the fourth stage is an adoption of unified constitution and general election; and (5) the fifth stage is the birth of a unified Korean republic. The detailed procedures and processes for achieving Korean peninsula neutralization shall be discussed below. The South and the North must be fully prepared for a unified, neutralized Korean peninsula. First and foremost they must ―neutralize‖ themselves, by disengaging from their own arms race, military confrontation, ideological and legitimacy struggle, and military alliances with foreign countries. At the same time, they have to cultivate and promote genuine reconciliation, mutual trust and support, and confidence building. Thus having established a stable, secure and peaceful society, the South and the North can negotiate with the four major powers on the neutralization of the Korean peninsula. When a neutrality treaty is concluded between a unified Korea and the four powers, the tragedy of the Korean 25
    • division would be transformed into a peaceful, neutralized unification, creating a new United Republic of Corea (URC). The Article 9 of this charter is based on our assumption that the four powers would prefer a united, neutral, independent, and peaceful Korea to a divided, vulnerable, and unstable one. Furthermore, the URC is unlikely to change overall strategic balance of power in Northeast Asia. Thus, we strongly believe that the four powers are likely to support the permanent neutrality of Korea. It has been argued that one of the key obstacles to the Korean unification process is the absence of a common Korean unification ―ideology‖ acceptable to the South and the North. Transforming various conflicting ideologies such as communism, totalitarianism, Juche idea (independence or self-reliance), Sungun jongchi (military first politics), capitalism, democracy, individual freedom and social justice, into a common unification ideology seems to be an almost impossible task. However, the idea of neutrality, serving as a catalyst, can contribute to constructing an over-arching framework of unification based on the concept of Hongik Tongil Ideology (way of unification benefiting all). Therefore, we have proposed Hong Ik Tongil as a common ideology of the South and the North really wanting a peaceful unification. Chapter I General Principles Article 1 The name of a new unified Korea shall be the United Republic of Corea (URC) founded on a Korean traditional ideology of Hongik Tongil and peace, freedom, equality, democracy, justice and human rights. Article 2 The framework of Korean unification shall be based on the basic principles of permanent neutrality (neutralization) learned from the Swiss or Austrian model with our own unique creative device grounded on history and cultural traditions of the Korean nation. Article 3 The South and the North shall faithfully and sincerely observe the following. a. The South and the North should recognize each other‘s government and reaffirm inviolability of the territorial boundary drawn by the Korean Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953 until the conclusion of a Korean peninsula peace treaty. b. The South and the North shall resolve their disputes by peaceful means, respecting the Charter of the United Nations by refraining from threat or use of force. They shall sincerely observe the inter-Korean agreements of the July 4 joint declaration, the 1992 inter-Korean basic agreement, the June 15, 2000 joint declaration and the October 4, 2007 joint statement for promoting mutual confidence-building and a peaceful coexistence. Chapter II The Procedures and Processes of Korean Peninsula Neutralization Article 4 26
    • The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC) has structures and roles as follows: a. The South and the North shall establish a permanent mission in each other‘s capital with a normalization of inter-Korean relations. They shall conclude an inter-Korean neutralization agreement including a neutralization declaration with a provision setting up an interim de jure joint unification commission titled ―The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC)‖. b. Mandated by the South and the North, the JSUC shall be the highest permanent organ to manage Korean unification processes, consisting of equal numbers from the South and the North Korea and appropriate numbers from overseas Koreans, not exceeding two hundred (200) members all together. Each member of the JSUC shall have one vote. c. The JSUC shall adopt its own rules of organization and operational procedures. The expenses of the organization shall be borne equally by the South and the North. It shall enjoy in each other‘s territory such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the performance of their duties. d. The JSUC shall elect its standing committee members of twenty (20) representing equal numbers of the South and the North with a few members representing overseas Koreans. e. The JSUC Secretariat shall be located in the vicinity of Panmunjom or any place else mutually agreed. The Secretariat shall keep a journal of its proceedings and from time to time publish the same, deleting such part as may in its judgment require secrecy. f. The JSUC shall be in charge of establishing institutional arrangements for creating the URC. Article 5 The JSUC shall perform the following functions. a. The JSUC shall prepare for the constitution of the URC. It shall design a new national flag, compose a new national anthem, and designate a new capital for the URC. b. The JSUC shall set up a Joint Arms Control and Disarmament Commission to reappraise and adjust the armed forces of the South and the North to be appropriate for the new status of the neutralized URC. c. The JSUC shall institute a Joint Military Command Structure to present a united front to any foreign intervention. d. The JSUC shall be in charge of making preparation for armed forces of the URC. e. The JSUC shall be empowered to negotiate at any time with any foreign countries concerned and international organizations for achieving a peaceful unification through neutralization. f. All the decisions made by the JSUC shall go into effect once the highest authorities of the South and the North approve them. Chapter III Responsibilities and Obligations of the United Republic of Corea 27
    • Article 6 The URC shall denounce war, recognizing that any international disputes in which it may be involved must be settled by peaceful means, and declares permanent neutrality in its international relations. In order to preserve and ensure its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the URC shall carry out its obligations of neutrality. Article 7 The United Republic of Corea shall have the following obligations. a. The URC shall not resort to the use or threat of force, and shall not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. b. It shall not enter into any military alliance or into any agreement, whether military or otherwise, which is inconsistent with the neutrality of the URC. c. It shall not allow the establishment of any foreign military base on its territory, nor allow any country to use its territory for military purposes of interference in the internal affairs of other countries d. It shall neither permit any foreign interference in its internal affairs in any form whatsoever nor recognize the protection of any alliance or military coalition. e. It shall not allow the introduction into its territory of offensive weapons and war materials except for its own internal security and defensive purposes. f. It shall defend its independence and territorial integrity against any interference or attack by any foreign country with all available means - its neutrality is defensive but armed. Article 8 Neutrality is an obligation of the state, not of the individual citizen, therefore it restricts in no way the citizen‘s basic rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly, opinion, conscience, and religion. Citizens have no obligation to remain neutral; they may freely express their own opinions in the fields of morality, ethics, ideology, culture and all other social activities. Chapter IV Responsibilities and Obligations of the Four Powers (the U.S., China, Russia, Japan) Article 9 The four powers shall have the following responsibilities and obligations for guaranteeing the permanent neutrality of the URC. a. The four powers shall conclude a neutralization treaty with the URC, recognizing its permanent neutrality status and its non-alignment policy for the defense of its own independence and territorial integrity. The treaty shall be endorsed by the United Nations and shall be registered at the Secretariat of the United Nations. b. They shall respect and observe in every way the independence, territorial integrity, and permanent 28
    • neutrality of the URC. c. They shall defend and guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of the URC and reserve the right to come to its defense separately in the event that joint action cannot be agreed upon. d. They shall not commit or participate in any act which might directly or indirectly impair the permanent neutrality of the URC, or resort to the use or threat of force or any other measure which might impair the peace of the URC. e. They shall respect the wish of the URC not to recognize the protection of any alliance or military coalition. They shall neither introduce into the URC foreign troops or military personnel in any form whatsoever, nor shall they in any way facilitate or condone the introduction of any foreign troops or military personnel. They shall not establish in the URC any foreign base or other foreign military installation of any kind. f. They shall not use the territory of the URC for interference in the internal affairs of other countries. They shall not use territory of any country, including their own, for interference in the internal affairs of the URC. Chapter V International Cooperation between the URC and the Four Powers Article 10 The four powers shall have positive international cooperation and close consultations with the URC. a. To guarantee the permanent neutrality of the URC, the URC and the four powers shall establish three enforcement machineries: a Peace Observer Team, an International Tribunal, and a Board of Guarantors, each consisting of five members - one from each country. b. The Peace Observer Team shall investigate and verify any violations of the law of neutrality set forth in Articles 7 and 9 in this charter and submit its reports to the International Tribunal. c. The International Tribunal shall render its judgments on the findings from the Peace Observer Team and send its recommendations to the Board of Guarantors. d. The Board of Guarantors shall implement the recommendations from the International Tribunal with all available means, and it may even resort to the armed forces of the member states to defend the permanent neutrality of the URC. e. All these three organs shall get together and devise the rules of their organization and their operational procedures with a mechanism of effective coordination and cooperation. f. These machineries shall be dissolved or shall become obsolete when the permanent neutrality is firmly established. Supplementary Provisions Article 1 29
    • The detailed regulations necessary for carrying out the provisions of this charter, unless otherwise provided, shall be made by the JSUC with the support of the South and the North governments during the interim period until the birth of the URC. Article 2 The present charter and other relevant agreements shall remain in effect as long as they do not conflict with the constitutions and by-laws of the South and the North. Article 3 The present charter shall be amended only by a mutual agreement between the South and the North. *This Charter is a final version of “A Draft Model Charter of Korean Reunification via Permanent Neutrality,” originally drafted by Professor In-Kwan Hwang. This Charter was approved by the Center for Korean Peninsula Neutralization in Seoul, Institute for Korean Peninsula Neutralization in Seoul, Tongil-Mirae Institute in Seoul, Korea, Forum for Peaceful Reunification of Korea (FPRK) in Los Angeles and Korean Unification Strategies Research Council in Los Angeles, California, USA. 30
    • China's Role in Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building CHENG Xiaohe, Ph. D (Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Deputy Director, Center for China‘s International Strategic Studies, Renmin University of China) Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Global Peace Convention 2013 Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 5-8, 2013 31
    • China's Role in Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building CHENG Xiaohe, Ph. D <Contents> I. Introduction II. The Roles China Had Played in Ancient History III. China‘s Roles in the Cold War Era IV. China‘s Roles in the Post-Cold War Era V. The Role China Can Play in the Future VI. Conclusion Abstract As Korea‟s next-door neighbor, China has keen interest in Korean affairs, in which Korean unification issue occupies a central position. Although China is not the creator of the Korean division, but its military intervention in the Korean War helped to harden the division. As the two Koreas bogged down in a drawn-out military confrontation and political competition on the divided Korean Peninsula, the Peninsula became one of major sources of conflicts and instability in Northeast Asia. The divided situation on the Peninsula remains basically unchanged even though the Cold War was left behind in early 1990s. Nonetheless, as the Peninsula remains divided, the relations among major players have undertaken dramatic changes. China and the United States, once pitted against each other in a dead confrontation, shook hands and became strategic partners; China and South Korea, another set of antagonists, exchanged diplomatic recognition and also formed a strategic partnership; the Sino-North Korea relationship, which has been characterized as “lips and teeth” has had hard time and still faces daunting challenge regarding North Korea‟s nuclear issues; the inter-Korean relations also have changed from hostile to reconciliatory and to hostile. As the wealth gap between the North and the South is widening, coupled with leadership changes in Pyongyang, the expectation of imminent national unification in South Korea runs high. For China, it realizes that the division of the Korean Peninsula is a historical product and the master of the ultimate unification on the Peninsula are the Korean people, outside powers‟ interference, no matter what the motive will be, cannot stop the unification trend. For China, which also faces its own national division, it is immoral to stand in the way of eventual Korean unification and at the same time, it is strategically unwise for China to take a hands-off policy toward Korean affairs. A number of non-intervention and non-obstruction principles should be observed: (1) China should avoid taking specific position on how the unification process should go; in other words, China should refrain from publically endorsing any specific unification programs before they become acceptable to both Koreas; (2) China should continue to maintain friendly relations with both Koreas, no matter who absorbs whom; (3) China should prepare to influence the process that best serve its national interests through bilateral or multilateral venues; (4) China only conduct selective interventions as they deems necessary, China should do so with caution; (5) China should not fight alone, international cooperation is a necessary tool that helps to transform the unification process into a plussum game for major powers. Guarding against two extreme situations, namely, massive chaos and military conflict or smooth accomplishment of the national unification, China should prepare to intervene to restore and keep peace on the Peninsula and to participate post-unification reconstruction in the united Korea. Key Words: Korea, Korean unification, Korea Peninsula, China, Chinese foreign policy 32
    • Introduction The Korean division is a legacy of the Cold War and makes the Korean Peninsula a most dangerous place in the world. As a major source of conflict, the perennial inter-Korean rivalry from time to time threatens peace in Northeast Asia, provoking major powers ‗competition, dividing the region into competing blocs, and fueling regional arms race. As an immediate neighbor of the Korean Peninsula and major stakeholder in Northeast Asia, China has a keen interest in the Korean affairs. As the two Koreas, Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK, also called North Korea) and Republic of Korea (ROK, also called South Korea), work to their final unification, what kind of role China have played and what role it will play in the future matter. Since what happen on the Korean Peninsula is closely associated with the general security situation in Northeast Asia, what peace building role China can do in the region also deserves a special attention in this paper. The Roles China Had Played in Ancient History In order to understand what kind of role China may play in the future in Korean Unification process, it is necessary to know what roles China had played in its long ancient history. A brief historical assessment is in order. A Unification facilitator China dominated East Asia for more than two thousand years. It had carefully cultivated a complex tribute system to deal with external relations, in which China occupied a central and superior position vs. other states on its periphery. The system made its debut in Han Dynasty. In its early years, the system was not firmly established. The tributary states were not always submissive to the Middle Kingdom. Sometimes, they rose up and fought with China for a variety reasons. In the Sui Dynasty, border military conflicts flared up and China tried to conquer the Korean Peninsula, but to no avail. Sui‘s military expeditions led its quick fall. New Dynasty, Tang, followed Sui‘s suit. In order to eliminate a threat from the Koguryo, which was the most strongest states on the Korean Peninsula, the Tang government adopted two-pronged strategy, namely, ―using barbarians against barbarians‖ (YiyiZhiyi) and ―befriending distance states while attacking those nearby‖ (YuanjiaoJingong), and formed an alliance with Silla to attack Koguryo, which posed direct threat to China. China‘s intervention in the inter-Korean rivalry decidedly tilted the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula and helped Silla conquered and united the whole peninsula. Even though Chinese intervention derived from its self-interest, including destroying long-time strong competitor and imposing a direct control of the peninsula, one of its unintended results was that the divided Korean for the first time accomplished their first unification in ancient times that laid down groundwork for their reunification in the future. A Security Protector The tribute system was a device for interest tradeoff. Small and poor states on China‘s periphery paid tributes to Chinese emperors to demonstrate their submission and allegiance, the emperors reciprocated in kind with much generous largesse, regime recognition and security protection. Among all the tributary states, Korea and Vietnam occupied a special position in that they served as a buffer zone separating China from outside hostile powers. In Ming Dynasty, 33
    • Korea‘s security value came to be appreciated by Chinese ruling class. After Suffering from frequent harassment and invasion from Japanese pirates, China begun to see Japan as a direct threat to its security. To China, Korea was a ―protective screen" (pingzhang). 9 As General Toyotomi Hideyoshin brought an end to the Sengoku period and united a divided Japan, he embarked on a risky overseas military adventure by invading Korea in 1592. Recognizing the loss of Korea to Japan would invite further invasion of China itself, the Ming Court decided to fulfill its obligation to offer its security protection to Korea. With China strong intervention, the Korean finally drove Japan out of the Korean peninsula. The place then remained in peace for nearly three hundred years. But in the next round of head-on competition for sphere of influence on the Korean Peninsula in late 19th century, China, which haunted by internal turmoil and extern wars, could not repeat what it did in Ming Dynasty. Even though China once again tried to honor its security commitment to Korea by sending its military forces to Pyongyang in a vain attempt to shore up Korean King‘s rule, the rising Japan defeated China and drove it out of the peninsula. China not only lost its last buffer zone, but also lost capacity to compete with Japan in the years to come. The vulnerability of China‘s homeland security was completely exposed to Japan aggression. China’s Roles in the Cold War Era In ancient time, living beside giant neighbors had been a tragedy for Korea, Korea fell victim to Sino-Japanese rivalry. In modern time, Korea still could not escape this misfortune. The end of the WWII finished Japan‘s occupation but did not return a unitary Korean Peninsula to the hands of the Korean People. As the Soviet Union and the United States carved up their spheres of influence in Northeast Asia, they artificially divided the peninsula into two parts along the 38th parallel with two nations‘ military presence in each side. The unfolding of the Cold War gave a birth to two competing states on the Peninsula, the ROK and the DPRK, and the two Koreas‘ competition for Korean unification on their own terms became a perennial drama that has been significantly impacting on the geopolitical landscape in Northeast Asia. As an immediate neighbor, China inevitably entangled in the Korean affairs. In contrast with its roles in ancient times, mainly defined by a single factor, namely, geopolitical security consideration, its role in Korean unification process in the Cold War had determined by more factors, including its relations with the two Koreas, the Soviet Union and the United States. An Adamant Supporter The People‘s Republic of China (called China in the following text), which shared with North Korea with similar ideology and mutual ally, the Soviet Union, and was indebted to North Korea for its critical assistance in Chinese civil war, became Pyongyang‘s adamant supporter, as evidenced in Kim Il Sung‘s military unification drive in June 1950. Although China‘s tribute system had totally collapsed a long time ago, China also faced a 9Zhang Peiheng, Yu Suisheng, ErshiSishiQuanyi•MingshiDishice (Complete Translation of Twenty Four Dynastic Histories. Ming Dyansty, Vol. X), Shanghai: Grand Chinese Dictionary Publishing House, 2004, p.6681. 34
    • similar situation when the Korean War broke out. As US forces crossed the 38th parallel and approached China‘s border, China needed to make a strategic choice: to stay put simply China was still weak and ill-prepared for a war with the most powerful nation, the United States and its support; or to militarily intervene for the sake of keeping hostile powers from its buffer zone. China chose the second option for two basic reasons: 1) the United States, which had sided with the Nationalist government and had recently been driven out of the Chinese mainland, was the head of the Western camp and the number one enemy with the capability and political will to topple the regime; so it could not tolerate the presence of such hostile forces in its vital buffer zone; and 2) viewing history as a mirror, China saw the United States through the lens of what Japan had done on the Korean Peninsula, fearing a repeat performance. Even though, China‘s participation of the Korean War was mainly motivated by its own self-interest, it offered security protection to North Korea, with which it shared an ideology and membership in the communist camp. In 1961, China‘s security commitment was formalized by a legally-binding alliance agreement, also called the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the PRC and the DPRK.10 China‘s support to North Korea has also been demonstrated in political and diplomatic fields. Since the 1954 Geneva Conference, China has offered its consistent endorsement to Pyongyang‘s unification proposals. After joining the United Nations, China made a good use of this international organization to help North Korea to promote its own diplomatic agenda. In 28th UN General Assembly, held from September to October 1973, Qiao Guanhua, the head of the Chinese delegation, wasted no time in presenting China‘s position on the Korean issue: (1) The foreign troops, mainly the American forces, are the obstacle to Korea‘s independent and peaceful unification, the UN Command should be allowed to disband and the foreign military forces should be allowed to withdraw; (2) The two Koreas‘ July 4th Statement to large extent makes the Korean Armistice Agreement dysfunctional; (3) the continuing presence of the United Nations Command and foreign military forces on the Korean Peninsula encourages South Korea to refuse a series of rational proposals made by the DPRK and stalls the dialogue between the North and the South; (4) two Korea‘s simultaneous admission to UN will legalize and perpetuate the division of the Korean Peninsula, the two Koreas should not enter the United Nations as separate nations, and if they want to join the UN before national unification, they should form the northsouth confederation under the single name of the Confederal Republic of Koryo, and enter the UN under that name; (5) Kim Il Sung‘s five point proposal 11 is completely rational and 10 For full text of the treaty, see http://www.google.com.hk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=the+Treaty+of+Friendship%2C+Cooperation+and+Mutual+A ssistance+between+the+PRC+and+the+DPRK&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=%68%74%74 %70%3a%2f%2f%77%77%77%2e%6d%61%72%78%69%73%74%73%2e%6f%72%67%2f%73%75%6 2%6a%65%63%74%2f%63%68%69%6e%61%2f%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%73%2f%63%68% 69%6e%61%5f%64%70%72%6b%2e%68%74%6d&ei=X8uMUqXgCoHniAf714D4CA&usg=AFQjCNHFS QHPQoomstTjo83UxTbmLkkWFA. 11 The five point proposal includes: to remove military confrontation and ease tension between the north and south, bring about multilateral collaboration and interchange between the two parts, convene the 35
    • reasonable and should gain support and sympathy from all the nations that pursue justice.12 With China‘s active support, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a consensus statement, confirming Kim Il Sung‘s three principles and decided to dismantle U.N. Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea. In the 1974 UN General Assembly, China made new efforts to promote its own draft resolution with regard to the question of Korea, cosponsored by other thirty seven nations. With China‘s intensive lobby, the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution 3333, which promised to consider the dissolution of the UN Command. Upon China‘s insistence, the UN for the first time formally invited North Korea to participate in the discussion of Korean issue in the UN General Assembly. In August 1975, Qiao Guanhua, then China‘s Foreign Minister, once again made a high-pitched speech, which the question of Korea ranked second in five major issues Qi addressed.13 Qiao reiterated that the UN Command be dissolved, all the foreign troops under the flag of the United Nations in South Korea withdraw, and parties directly concerned to14 the Korean Armistice Agreement instead of its signatories as the US delegates insisted should sign a peace treaty. For Qiao, signing a peace treaty and withdrawing all the US troops are the keys to the peaceful solution to the question of Korea. 15 With China and 42 other nations‘ intensive lobby, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from South Korea and dissolution of the UN Command. As discussed above, from the end of the Korean War to early 1980s, China had been North Korea‘s adamant supporter. With China‘s diplomatic support, North Korea made some headway in its unification pursuit, including the dissolution of the UN Commission on Unification and Reconstruction; a consensus-building for turning the armistice agreement into a peace treaty among the two Koreas, China and the United States. As China experienced leadership changes and normalized its relations with the United States, its enthusiastic interest in the Korean issue abated. An Intermediary Great National Congress composed of representatives of people of all levels and political parties and social organizations in the north and south, institute the north-south confederation under the single name of the Confederal Republic of Koryo, and enter the UN under that name. 12 Xinhua News, ―Zai Lianheguo Di Ershiba Jie Huiyi Quanti Huiyi Shang Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Daibiaotuan Tuanzhang Qiao Guanhua de Fanyan‖ (Qiao Guanhua‘s Speech at the 28th Assembly Conference of the United Nations ), the People‟s Daily, October 3, 1973. 13 In Qiao Guanhua‘s 1973 Speech, he discussed ten major issues, the question of Korea ranked number five. 14 In Chinese, it means实际当事者. 15 Xinhua News, ―Zai Lianheguo Dahui Di Sanshi Jie Huiyi Quanti Huiyishang Zhongguo Daibiaotuan Tuanzhang Qiao Guanhua de Fayan‖ (Qiao Guanhua‘s Speech in the 30th UN General Assembly), the People‟s Daily, Sept. 27, 1975. 36
    • As of early 1970s, China and the United States firmly stood behind their Korean allies respectively. Their decision to bury hatchets certainly had a significant impact on the geopolitical situation on the peninsula. On July 15 1971, one day before the Chinese government publically announced Nixon‘s upcoming visit to China, Zhou Enlai made a secret trip to Pyongyang, explaining China‘s decision to invite Nixon. Zhou pledged that ―China‘s position on the Korean issue remains unchanged‖ and ―China will not trade its principles with the United States‖.16 Kim Il Sung replied, ―Nixon‘s visit to China is a new problem for the Korean people, the Workers‘ Party of Korea (WPK) will educate its people.‖ 17 In comparison with Vietnam‘s negative reaction, North Korea sent a special envoy, Kim il, to Beijing in July 1971, confirming that the WPK fully understood the Chinese government‘s invitation of Nixon and the meetings between Premier Zhou and Kissinger, which would be conducive to the world revolution. At the same time, Kim il asked China to convey an eight-point proposal to the United States.18 In October, Zhou Enlai passed the message to Kissinger and received no feedback. After Nixon‘s visit, Zhou Enlai once again travelled to Pyongyang, briefing Kim il Sung on recent Sino-US summit. Zhou highlighted three points: (1) the United States agreed to abolish the U.N. Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea; (2) ―the United States will support efforts of the Republic of Korea to seek a relaxation of tension and increased communication in the Korean peninsula‖ could be interpreted as a sign that the US will encourage inter-Korean consultation; (3) Nixon made it clear that the US would not allow Japan to enter Taiwan and South Korea. Obviously, Zhou tried to emphasize that with China‘s behind-the-scene work, the United States was ready to meet some of the eight-point proposal North Korea government recently put forward. In fact, the Sino-US rapprochement offered North Korea a chance to seek a direct contact with the United States through China‘s help. In 1972, the North Koreans for the first time publically demonstrated its interest in establishing diplomatic, commercial, and cultural relations with the United States. In February 1973, North Korea‘s Foreign Minister Ho Tam asked China to explore the possibility of a direct DPRK-US contact.19 In March, Zhou passed North Korea‘s 16 Wang Taiping, Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Waijiaoshi, Disanjuan: 1970-1978 (Diplomatic History of the People‘s Republic of China, Vol.III: 1970-1978), Beijing: World Knowledge Press, 1999, P.40. 17 Ibid. 18 The eight-point proposal includes: the US and all the foreign troops under the command of the UN must withdraw from South Korea; the US must immediately stop supplying South Korea with nuclear weapon, missiles and all sort of weapons; the US must stop violating the DPRK‘s sovereignty and conducting all sorts of reconnaissance against it; the US, Japan and South Korea must stop their joint military exercise, the US-South Korean combined forces must be disbanded; the US must pledge that it will not foster Japanese militarist to rule that country, the Japanese military forces will not be allowed to replace the US and other foreign military forces; the U.N. Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea must be dissolved; the US must not hinder direct inter-Korean consultation, the Korean issue should be resolved by the Korean People; the DPRK‘s representative must be allowed to unconditionally participate the UN discussions on the Korean issue. Wang Taiping, The Diplomatic History of the People‟s Republic of China, Vol. III, p.40. 19 Wang Taiping, Diplomatic History of the People‟s Republic of China, Vol.III: 1970-1978, P.41 37
    • intention to Kissinger. Kissinger replied: 1) ―he does not consider the direct US-North Korea contact issue‖, 2) U.N. Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea would be dissolved in the second half of 1972, and 3) the US military forces would gradually withdraw from South Korea and begin the implement the withdrawal plan next year. 20 In the same month, Zhou updated Ho Tam on his conversation with Kissinger. The normalization of the Sino-US relations in 1979 rekindled Pyongyang‘s interests to explore the direct contact with the US. China was once more requested by Pyongyang to act as an intermediary again. Whenever Chinese leaders exchanged visits with American counterparts, they passed North Korea‘s messages on to their American counterparts and did not forget to demonstrate China‘s support for Pyongyang‘s position on the unification issue. In September 1983, Deng Xiaoping told US defense secretary Weinberger that China supported Kim il-sung‘s three principle program and his federation proposal. When Ronald Reagan visited China, Chinese leaders reiterated their support for Kim‘s proposals and demanded the US to withdraw its forces from South Korea. 21 At North Korea‘s request, in 1987 China again conveyed a message to the Secretary of State Shultz that North Korea wanted to establish a direct contact with the US. As a response to China‘s continued efforts, the US government sent a written reply to China, declaring that US officials would be allowed to contact North Korean officials. On December 6, 1988, North Korea and US political counselors for the first time met in Beijing and exchanged letters. 22 Since then Beijing has become an important venue for the two nations to conduct direct contacts. All in all, since China had a very unique position in its relations with North Korea and the United States, China had faithfully acted as an intermediary between Pyongyang and Washington. In addition to passing on messages, China succeeded in promoting direct contacts between the two nations. China’s Roles in the Post-Cold War Era The late 1980s and early 1990s witnessed serial dramatic changes in China‘s relations the two Koreas. As a direct result of China‘s adoption of reform and opening door to outside world policy and South Korea‘s robust practice of ―North Policy‖, China and South Korea began to conduct business, which led to serial diplomatic breakthroughs. The June 4 Incident and end of the Cold War helped China to overcome North Korea‘s stubborn opposition and normalized relations with South Korea in 1992. The diplomatic recognition between Beijing and Seoul immediately threw Beijing and Pyongyang into troubled water. In the following years, North Korea had been preoccupied with engaging the United States in a vain attempt to secure a diplomatic recognition from the United States; China was a bystander, lukewarmly watching new drama unfolding at a distance. A Lukewarm Bystander 20 Ibid. 21 Wang Taiping, Zhang Guangyou, Ma Kejin, Fifty Years of New China‟s Diplomacy, Beijing: Beijing Publishing House, 1999, p.251. 22 Ibid., p.254. 38
    • North Korea took the full brunt of the Soviet‘s disintegration and the democratization East European. Pyongyang lost major trading partners and critical sources of external assistance. For Pyongyang, Beijing-Seoul rapprochement was tantamount to rubbing salt into wound. In order to redress the change of balance of power that tilt in South Korea‘s favor, North Korea had to resort to developing nuclear weapon. North Korea‘s nuclear activities triggered the first round of nuclear crisis, into which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United States were dragged. As North Korea‘s nuclear issue unfolded in late 1980s and early 1990s, China remained as a bystander for two basic reasons: first, China‘s relations with North Korea came under strain, a direct result of the Sino-South Korean rapprochement, Beijing‘s influence over Pyongyang decreased rapidly, China had no intention to venture into an issue that might further complicate its relations with North Korea. Second, in the wake of June 4 Incident, China‘s relations the United States plunged to a freezing point, the US imposed economic and military sanctions against China and two nations were bogged down in a number of highly-charged disputes regarding Taiwan, human rights and Most-Favored Status, China had no intention to step into the controversy over North Korea‘s nuclear issue. Its indifferent attitude toward the Korean Peninsula shifted for the first time when Clinton and Kim Young Sam jointly proposed four-party talks on April 16, 1996, in an effort to ―reduce tensions and build confidence on the Korean Peninsula with the aim of putting a formal end to the hostilities of the Korean War‖. Two days later, Shen Guofang, a spokesman for China‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded positively, stating, ―We believe replacing the armistice with a peace mechanism in accordance with the development of the situation is conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula……China is ready to play a continuing constructive role in maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula.‖ On July 2, the Chinese government announced its decision to participate in the proposed talks. An Active Participant The change in China‘s attitude was not a surprise to many experts. In fact, as early as 1994, the Chinese government reiterated its long-time position toward the situation on the Korean peninsula: ―the status of no war and no peace on the Korean Peninsula is abnormal, and to replace the armistice with a peace mechanism is a trend of the times‖. The following factors encouraged China to seek a positive role in the proposed peace talks. First, after weathering the severe crisis caused when Taiwan‘s Li Denghui visited Cornell University, China and the United States were poised to mend fences. The proposed talks offered a chance for China and the United States to repair their relations that had been repeatedly damaged since 1989.Second, the proposed peace talks also gave Beijing a chance to reach out to Pyongyang with an aim to reverse the downturn in their relationship. Since 1992, China‘s relations with North Korea remained cold, although North Korea continued to insist that ―to incessantly strengthen and develop the friendship between the Korean and Chinese people is the Korean party and government‘s unwavering guideline and position‖. The exchange of visits between China and North Korea‘s top leaders came to a halt. China‘s efforts to redress North Korea‘s deep-seated grievance produced few results. The proposed talks, which echoed North Korea‘s 1994 proposal, offered China a badly needed opportunity to revive its friendship with North Korea. Third, by endorsing the peace talks, China was also able to provide necessary support to South Korea, with whom it had a hard-earned honeymoon. The DPRK-ROK rapprochement of the early 1990s was short-lived. The Sino-ROK diplomatic recognition and North Korea‘s nuclear crisis effectively 39
    • ended the two Koreas‘ détente. The DPRK treated the United States as its sole negotiating partner and turned its back the ROK. In order to counter such a policy, the ROK made the following demands. (1) Early implementation of Article III of the Agreed Framework, which stipulated that ―The DPRK will engage in North-South dialogue, as this Agreed Framework will help create an atmosphere that promotes such dialogue‖; (2) the delivery of ROK-financed and built light water reactors should be conditioned by the South-North talks;23 (3) a linkage between further lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against the DPRK and the South-North dialogue should be confirmed;24 (4) that the peace mechanism should be established by the two Koreas. 25 In response, North Korea opposed any linkage between the Framework and direct North-South dialogue. It claimed that, ―the Agreed Framework was signed to settle the DPRK‘s nuclear issues and achieve normalization of DPRK-U.S. relations and had nothing to do with the DPRK-ROK dialogue‖.26North Korea also said the new peace mechanism ―is a matter between the DPRK and the United States, and South Korea is not qualified to participate‖.27 Furthermore, it stated that implementation of the Agreed Framework ―is just on the primary stage; the atmosphere for the DPRK-ROK dialogue is not created yet, it is premature to hold the bilateral dialogue‖. 28 Therefore, as the two Koreas were pitted against each other, China‘s swift and positive response to the proposal for the Four-Party Talks certainly could be interpreted as the implicit support to South Korea, which hoped to play a central role in the peace mechanism negotiations. The first sign of China‘s changed attitude was demonstrated by China‘s remarkable tolerance to its exclusion from the informal three-party meetings, held in New York three times among the United States and the two Koreas. As China joined in the exploratory talks, it prescribed a guiding principle, namely, ―equal participation, patient consultation, seeking common ground while maintaining differences, gradual process‖. 29 China believed that ―replacing the current armistice with a new peace mechanism is a pragmatic and plausible proposal‖. Under the spirit of the ―Three Conducives,‖30China prescribed its own guidelines for 23 Xu Baokang, ―Han: Nanbei Duihua Buke Queshao‖ (South Korea : South-North Dialogue Indispensable), The People‟s Daily, April 29, 1995. 24Liu Aicheng& Zhang Zhongyi, ―Mei Bufen Jiechu Duichao Jingji Zhicai‖ (The US Lifts Partial Economic Sanction against the DPRK), The People‟s Daily, Jan.22, 1995. 25 Qi Deliang& Zhang Yijun, ―Li Peng ZongliJuxingJizheZhaodaihui,‖ (Premier Li Peng Holds Press Conference), The People‟ Daily, Nov. 5, 1994. 26Zhou Xisheng, ―Chao FanduiBeinanDuihuayu Kuangjia Xieding Guagou‖ (the DPRK Opposed Linkage between North-South Dialogue and the Agreed Framework), The People‟s Daily, Feb. 10, 1995. 27Xinhua News Agency, ―Chao Fandui Han Canyu Heping Baozhang Jizhi‖ (North Korea Opposes South Korea‘s Participation in Peace Mechanism), The People‟s Daily, Feb. 26, 1995. 28Xinhua News Agency, ―ChaoxianShuo Yu Hanguo Duihua Weishi Shangzhao‖ (the DPRK Says It Is Premature to Hold a Dialogue With the ROK), The People‟s Daily, Feb. 5, 1995. 29Wang Changlin, ―Chaoxian Bandao WentiSifang Zhengshi HuitanXiayue J uxing‖(The Formal Talk for Korean Peninsula Issue Will Start Next Month), The People‟s Daily, Dec. 10, 1997. 30China will do whatever it can if its work is conducive to détente and stability on the Korean Peninsula, to 40
    • the two-tracked Four-Party Talks. The Chinese government proposed that the permanent peace treaty contain the following basic elements. (1) The relevant parties should end their confrontation, improve their relations, peacefully coexist, and achieve peace and autonomous unification on the Korean Peninsula. (2) The relevant parties should resolve their disputes through peaceful means and not resort to or threaten to use military force. (3) The relevant parties should promote trade and economic, technological, cultural, and sports exchange and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.(4) The relevant parties should promote military confidence-building measures on the peninsula and cut armaments in stages.31 In order to ease tension on the peninsula, the Chinese government also made a five-point proposal, including: (1) to promote broad-based confidence-building measures and cooperation, including establishing and developing political, diplomatic, military, economic, and social exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation, comprehensively promoting confidence. (2) To support the further improvement of bilateral relations between relevant nations and welcome gradual normalization of relations between the DPRK and the United States as well as between the DPRK and other nations. (3) The relevant parties should promote military confidencebuilding measures and cooperation in various forms and at various levels. (4) Based on the reality on the Korean Peninsula, each party should take necessary and pragmatic measures to avoid possible military conflicts. (5) To avoid taking hostile and provocative military actions against other parties.32 In fact, in order to salvage the stop-and-start talks, the Chinese government made new efforts at the sixth round of meeting by elaborating a new proposal for confidence-building measures on the Korean Peninsula. According to the proposal, the pragmatic confidence-building measures should include two parts: First, the relevant parties should set up a mechanism for exercising self-restraint, in other words, each party should formulate a code of conduct according to its own reality. The parties should comply strictly with the code, be coolheaded, and act with restraint in case of an emergency. Second, each party should reach a consensus on rules or regulations that all parties should comply with collectively, and should sincerely abide by them.33 Even though, China shrugged its initial hesitation and tried to be a facilitator to the peace talks by offering a set of systematic and interconnected proposals. In comparison with previous pro-North Korea stance, China behaved as a neutral moderator, who tried to bridge the differences between the two Koreas as well as North Korea and the United States. Nonetheless, as the implementation of the Agreed Framework entered a dead end, the four-party peace talks the accomplishment of autonomous and peaceful unification between the North and the South, and to achieving the objectives of the Four-Party Talks (凡是有利于朝鲜半岛局势的缓和与稳定,有利于朝鲜半岛 南北双方实现自主和平统一,有利于达到四方会谈目标的工作,中国都会努力去做). 31Lu Sasheng& Li Jingchen, ―Chaoxian Bandao Wenti Sifang Huitan Huiyi Jiesu‖ (The Meeting of Four Party Talks for Korean Peninsula Issue Ends), The People‘s Daily, Jan. 24, 1999. Ibid. 32 33 Yan Ming, “ ZhongfangJianyiJianliXInrenJizhi ” (China Proposes Confidence-Building Measures), The People‟s Daily, August 11, 1999. 41
    • also fell apart. Any effort to settle the nuclear and peace issues on two parallel tracks proved futile. A Constructive Moderator The two issues became increasingly intertwined. Such a new understanding gave a birth to the Six Party Talks (SPT), which made its debut in August 2003. For the first time, the member states of the talks agreed that the three issues34 the talks needed to address were interconnected and should be discussed and settled in one package. As a host, chairman and moderator, China offered its good offices to pull all the parties together and produced some concretes results. In order to deal with the three issues, the Six Party Talks set up corresponding working committees on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, normalization of North Korea-U.S. relations, normalization of North Korea-Japan relations, economy and energy cooperation, as well as a joint Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism. As a landmark achievement, the member states of the SPT released a joint statement on September 19th, 2005, claiming: (1) North Korea to agree to abandon all nuclear weapons and nuclear programs and return to the NPT as soon as possible‖; (2) U.S. and the South Korea to formally declare that they have no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula; (3)U.S. affirmed it has no intention to attack or invade North Korea and will provide a security guarantee to this effect; (4)The Korean Peninsula peace treaty to be negotiated separately. The euphoria that the ―9.19 Joint Statement‖ had brought was short-lived. In 2006 and 2009, North Korea conducted nuclear tests. In response to North Korea‘s provocations, the UN Security Council passed sanction resolutions. The SPT was thus suspended and even declared dead by North Korea. The failure of persuading North Korea not to go nuclear dealt fatal blow to the Korean Peninsula peace treaty negotiation. The principle of settling the question of Korea in a package effectively holds the peace treaty negotiation as a hostage to the North Korea nuclear issue talks, even though the former is simple and has a quick solution. Even though China‘s attitude toward the Korean unification has been positive and consistent, in the past twenty years, China‘s role in the Korean Affairs has experienced a tangible transformation from a lukewarm bystander to an active participant and to a constructive moderator. The evolving trajectory of the transformation demonstrates that China‘s attitude grew increasingly active and role grew larger. The Role China Can Play in the Future Since the Korean Peninsula was artificially partitioned into two competing parts, the Koreans have been pursuing their national unification tirelessly. From the Korean War to the admission of the two Korean into the United Nations to the 2007 Kim Jong Il-Roh Moo-hyun summit, both Koreas have exhausted almost all sorts of military and diplomatic means to achieve unification. Kim Il Sung launched a military campaign in an attempt to put the other part of the peninsula into his fold, but failed. The bloody and costly war invited major powers‘ intervention 34The three issues include: North Korea‘s nuclear program, peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, and normalization of North Korea‘s relations with the United States and other relevant nations. 42
    • and further complicated Korean unification process. The 1954 Geneva Conference also demonstrated that diplomatic negotiation had its own limit when mutual hostility among participants sill ran high. It took the two Koreas about eighteen years to move back to negotiating table. On July 4, 1972, Pyongyang and Seoul announced a first ever joint declaration, which confirmed three guiding principles for their ultimate unification. 35 Although the July 4 Joint Declaration failed to produce a substantial follow-up progress, it did transform the interKorean confrontation into a mixture of confrontation plus dialogue. The two Koreas took next nineteen years to work out their differences. In 1991, the North and the South inked the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, and Exchange and Cooperation. In comparison with the July 4 Joint Statement, the agreement not only detailed a concrete plans to promote reconciliation, non-aggression, and exchange and cooperation between the two Koreas, but also formulated corresponding institutes to implement the plans. Unfortunately, North Korea‘s nuclear issue disrupted the hardly-earned unification momentum and postponed the inter-Korean summit to 2000, when Kim Jong Il and Kim Dae-Jung made their historical meeting. The first ever Inter-Korean Summit produced June 15th North-South Joint Declaration, a new milestone document in inter-Korean relations. According to the declaration, the North-South ministerial talks, North-South military working-level talks and the working-level contacts for the North and South economic cooperation kicked off, and the inter-Korean relations seemingly gained ground. Such euphoria did not last long; North Korea‘s nuclear test in 2006 not only derailed ongoing Six Party Talks, but also disrupted ongoing inter-Korean entente. Although both Koreas tried to salvage their improved relations by holding the second inter-Korean summit in 2007 between Kim Jong Il and Roh Moo-hyun, North Korea‘s new satellite launch and nuclear tests finally finished the inter-Korean entente. Even though the Korean unification process has experienced numerous twists and turns, the inter-Korean interactions in this regards have already laid down a basic framework for future national unification. From a Chinese perspective, national unification of the Korean Peninsula is inevitable and fits historical trends. In the past sixty years, China has consistently supported Korean unification. In the first thirty years, China firmly sided with North Korea and granted it all-out help no matter how North Korea pursued the unification. In the second thirty years, China‘s attitude toward the Korean unification remained positive, as its relations with South Korea steadily improved, China avoided taking explicit position on how the Korean unification should be achieved except made some general call for peaceful means. The evolution of China‘s roles can generate a number of observations: first of all, except for the Korean War, in which China played a leading role, China‘s roles in the past sixty years carried a strong symbolic meaning. In other words, China has been satisfied with announcing its policy statements than taking concrete action to change the status quo on the peninsula. Second, 35 The three principles: First, the reunification must be achieved with no reliance on external forces or interference. It must be achieved internally. Second, the reunification must be achieved peacefully without the use of military forces against the other side. Third, both parties must promote national unity as a united people over any differences of our ideological and political systems. 43
    • China‘s policy statements have been driven by China or ally‘s interests defined by China‘s relatively weak position vs. the United States and the Soviet Union. Third, China‘s policy prescriptions did not contain any elements that could address broader security environment issue, which should be a necessary condition for the Korean unification. As China rose to the second largest economy in the world, its massive military forces are undertaking rapid modernization, and its diplomatic posture also is transforming from ―maintaining low profile‖ (Taoguang Yanghui) to ―doing something‖ (Yousuo Zuowei), what role China can play in the Korean Unification process deserves special attention. A Non-Interventionist and a Non-Obstructionist By its very nature, the Korean unification is the business of Korean people, even though the unification process is doomed to be tortuous and painstaking and have a significant impact on geopolitical landscape in Northeast Asia, China has to remain cool-headed in dealing with it for a number of reasons: first of all, China has long entangled in the unification and division of the Korean Peninsula since ancient times and left unpleasant if not total negative feeling among Koreans. China‘s continued entanglement in the Korean unification will deepen such feeling and may generate new anti-China sentiment in both Koreas. Second, China‘s active involvement in the Korean unification process may cause chain reaction from other powers and invite their intervention, thus further complicate the unification process. For China, staying away from the highly emotion-charged domestic tussle along the unification process is always a wise move as long as the tussle would not spill over into China‘s domain. Historical lessons demonstrate that unwanted intervention always produces unwanted result. So far, the two Koreas have consistently insisted that the unification ―must be achieved with no reliance on external forces or interference. It must be achieved internally‖. Following Non-intervention principle does not necessarily mean China should sit with arms folded, only under certain circumstance China could intervene: (1) an explicit invitation from both Koreas for good reasons; (2) China‘s interest may be in jeopardy if not intervenes. As China itself suffers national division, it would be morally wrong for China to stand in the way of the Korean unification. From Vietnam, Germany and Yemen‘s experiences, no country could stop their unification. As long as China publically supports the Korean unification as it has done so in the past sixty-four years, China should not obstruct the unification process. As the traditional wisdom, which believes that the divided Korea serves China‘s national interest, still has a large market in China, it is useful for the Chinese to reassess if a unified, neutral and friendly Korea will serve China‘s national interests better. A Collective Goods Provider Non-intervention and non-obstruction principle prescribe what China cannot do, as a matter of fact, China can do something conducive for the Korean Unification. In Northeast Asia, these coexist three sets of rivalries: the age-old inter-Korean rivalry, which has been in place for more than sixty years and is still a major source of conflict in the region; the Sino-Japanese rivalry, which has a historical root and culminate in the recent dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands; the Sino-US rivalry, which is looming large as both nations pit 44
    • themselves against each other over a wide range of issues. The three sets of rivalries interconnect, reinforce each other and jointly make the region a most dangerous place on earth. For China, as its rise is causing a fundamental change in power structure in Northeast Asia as well in the world, it should avoid a scenario, in which the three sets of rivalries give a birth to a grand coalition, preventing China from dominating the region. To build a new type of major countries‘ relations is one of the solutions to mitigate, if not totally eliminate, the rivalry between a rising power and an established power. It remains unclear if China‘s fourteen character policy prescription, namely no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,36 could serve a guiding principle acceptable to both nations. In fact, ―no conflict and no confrontation‖ should be two basic results of win-win cooperation. How to turn the political will into concrete cooperative actions is a significant challenge both China and the United States are facing right now. If China and the United States could manage and control their differences and conflicts, the Sino-US rivalry could be effectively contained, and the Sino-Japanese and inter-Korean rivalries could not also be tamed. As a rising power, another way for China to stave off any potential anti-China coalition is to behave in a responsible way and cultivate an image as a benign power, which could bring collective goods to the region. The collective goods include peace and stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea‘s nuclear issue is seen as a critical touchstone of China‘s cooperation with the United States as well as China‘s true intention to be a collective goods provider. In fact, if North Korea nuclear issue could be settled, a permanent peace mechanism will be also set up on the Peninsula, the two achievements will make the Korean unification much easier. A Peace-keeper and a Reconstruction Participant Even though caution is advised as China approaches the Korean unification issue, caution does not equal to passivism. As China exercises its caution and refrain from making unwanted intervention, it should actively prepare for unexpected situation as the unification process on the peninsula goes on. Situation one: chaos and war It is possible that large-scale chaos or military conflict may occur during the unification process, which may be triggered by sudden regime collapse in North Korea, quick merger of the two Koreas or ongoing confrontation of the two Koreas. Under such a circumstance, China should take a proactive approach to keep peace on the Korean Peninsula as well as in Northeast Asia. On diplomatic front, China should work with other stakeholders to make a case in the United Nations Security Council for international intervention, including forcing a ceasefire and 36 The fourteen character: 不冲突、不对抗、相互尊重、合作共赢, see Zheng Weiran & De Yongjian, ―Wangyi Fangmei Wu Keli, shisizi Shanshi Zhongmei Xinxing Daguo Guanxi‖ (Wangyi Visits the United States to Meet Kerry, the Fourteen Characters Elaborate a New Type of Major Countries‘ Relations), China News, http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2013/09-20/5302366.shtml. 45
    • restoring the public order. On the military front, China also needs to prepare to intervene in order to prevent humanitarian crisis and nuclear facilities and weapons from falling into wrong hands. Situation two: smooth accomplishment of the unification As the Korean unification proceeds to a point that a unified nation is with Korea grasp, it will be irresponsible for China to take hands-off approach to what‘s happening on the peninsula. On the contrary, China should actively pursue a number of diplomatic objectives: on bilateral basis, China should contact the winning side of the unification enterprise to secure at least: (1) China‘s interest in North Korea, including Chinese people and properties‘ safety; (2) a friendly Sino-Korean relations; (3) the withdrawal of the US military forces; (4) an unhindered participation of post-unification reconstruction. On the multilateral platform, particularly the UN, China also needs to work with other stakeholders to map out a post-unification arrangement, including old Korea‘s responsibilities and liability. Situation three: the gray area between the situation one and two It will be highly possible that the real Korean unification will fall in between the situation one and two. As China needs to prepare for the two extreme circumstances, it also should deal with the routine unification process on daily basis. China can take measures as follows: (1) China should avoid taking specific position on how the unification process should go. In other words, China should refrain from publically endorsing any specific unification programs before they become acceptable to both Koreas; (2) China should continue to maintain friendly relations with both Koreas, no matter who absorbs whom; (3) China should prepare to influence the process that best serve its national interests through bilateral or multilateral venues; (4) China should prepare to conduct selective interventions they deems necessary, China should do so with caution; (5) international cooperation is necessary tool that help to transform the unification process into a plus-sum game. Conclusion The Korean division is a Korean national tragedy, and the two Koreas once tried to kill, defame, cooperate each other in vain attempts to close one of their saddest chapter in history. For a variety of reasons, major powers also joined the drama and presented their variegated faces to audience. As an immediate neighbor to the Korean Peninsula, China had already established regular contacts with Korea in ancient times. The age-old contacts helped to shape China‘s multiple roles in the Korean affairs from a halfhearted unification facilitator to a security protector. Because of the geographic proximity, the relations between China and Korea were as close as teeth and lips. Even though, the long-term Sino-Korean interactions left mixed feeling among the Koreans, like it or not, China could not walk away and pretend it has no interest in Korean affairs. Korean unification has its own historical destination and will cross the finishing line sooner or later. No country, including China, can stop the historical trend. For its best interest, as the Korean unification process goes on, China must be diligent and prepare for extreme situations that may appear on the Korean peninsula, including massive chaos, military conflict 46
    • and/or civil war, and China should adopt proactive approach and intervene; But under normal situation, China should exercise tremendous caution before taking any interventionist action since Korean unification is the business of the Koreans. China also needs to avoid taking position on any specific unification programs in that the competing program supporters will be alienated. As emerging as a world power, China has more sources and energy to influence the unification process, for the time being, what China can do to facilitate its own unification process and the one on the Korean Peninsula is to manage well its relations with the United States and Japan and create a stable and peaceful environment in Northeast Asia. By doing so, China can exercise a leadership by offering collective goods to regional community. China is just one of Korea‘s many neighbors. It would be too costly and risky for China to take a sole responsibility to promote the unification on the Peninsula; it is a collective endeavor, which demands international cooperation. References Liu Aicheng & Zhang Zhongyi, ―Mei Bufen Jiechu Duichao Jingji Zhicai‖ (The US Lifts Partial Economic Sanction against the DPRK), The People‟s Daily, Jan.22, 1995. Lu Sasheng & Li Jingchen, ―Chaoxian Bandao Wenti Sifang Huitan Huiyi Jiesu‖ (The Meeting of Four Party Talks for Korean Peninsula Issue Ends), The People‟s Daily, Jan. 24, 1999. Qi Deliang & Zhang Yijun, ―Li Peng ZongliJuxingJizheZhaodaihui,‖ (Premier Li Peng Holds Press Conference), The People‟ Daily, Nov. 5, 1994. Wang Changlin, ―Chaoxian Bandao WentiSifang Zhengshi HuitanXiayue J uxing‖(The Formal Talk for Korean Peninsula Issue Will Start Next Month), The People‟s Daily, Dec. 10, 1997. Wang Taiping, Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Waijiaoshi, Disanjuan: 1970-1978 (Diplomatic History of the People‘s Republic of China, Vol.III: 1970-1978), Beijing: World Knowledge Press, 1999, P.40. Wang Taiping, Zhang Guangyou, Ma Kejin, Fifty Years of New China‟s Diplomacy, Beijing: Beijing Publishing House, 1999. Xinhua News Agency, ―Chao Fandui Han Canyu Heping Baozhang Jizhi‖ (North Korea Opposes South Korea‘s Participation in Peace Mechanism), The People‟s Daily, Feb. 26, 1995. ________ ―ChaoxianShuo Yu Hanguo Duihua Weishi Shangzhao‖ (the DPRK Says It Is Premature to Hold a Dialogue With the ROK), The People‟s Daily, Feb. 5, 1995. ________ ―Zai Lianheguo Dahui Di Sanshi Jie Huiyi Quanti Huiyishang Zhongguo Daibiaotuan Tuanzhang Qiao Guanhua de Fayan‖ (Qiao Guanhua‘s Speech in the 30th UN General Assembly), 47
    • the People‟s Daily, Sept. 27, 1975. ________ ―Zai Lianheguo Di Ershiba Jie Huiyi Quanti Huiyi Shang Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Daibiaotuan Tuanzhang Qiao Guanhua de Fanyan‖ (Qiao Guanhua‘s Speech at the 28th Assembly Conference of the United Nations ), the People‟s Daily, October 3, 1973. Xu Baokang, ―Han: Nanbei Duihua Buke Queshao‖ (South Korea : South-North Dialogue Indispensable), The People‟s Daily, April 29, 1995. Yan Ming,―ZhongfangJianyiJianliXInrenJizhi‖(China Proposes Confidence-Building Measures), The People‟s Daily, August 11, 1999. Zhang Peiheng, Yu Suisheng, ErshiSishiQuanyi•MingshiDishice (Complete Translation of Twenty Four Dynastic Histories. Ming Dyansty, Vol. X), Shanghai: Grand Chinese Dictionary Publishing House, 2004. Zheng Weiran & De Yongjian, ―Wangyi Fangmei Wu Keli, shisizi Shanshi Zhongmei Xinxing Daguo Guanxi‖ (Wangyi Visits the United States to Meet Kerry, the Fourteen Characters Elaborate a New Type of Major Countries‘ Relations), China News, http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2013/09-20/5302366.shtml. Zhou Xisheng, ―Chao FanduiBeinanDuihuayu Kuangjia Xieding Guagou‖ (the DPRK Opposed Linkage between North-South Dialogue and the Agreed Framework), The People‟s Daily, Feb. 10, 1995. Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building: A Japanese View 48
    • Yoshinori Kaseda, Ph. D. (University of Kitakyushu) Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Global Peace Convention 2013 Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 5-8, 2013 Korean Unification Vision and Northeast Asian Peace-building: A Japanese View Yoshinori Kaseda University of Kitakyushu Abstract Sixty years have passed since the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953. However, the agreement has yet to be replaced by a peace treaty that formally ends the state of war. North Korea‟s relations with South Korea, the United States, and Japan have not been normalized. In the post-Cold War era, a primary impediment to their reconciliation has been their confrontation over North Korea‟s nuclear weapons development. It has been a major security concern for Japan, South Korea, the United States, China, and Russia. Resolution of this nuclear issue has proven very difficult as can be seen from North Korea‟s three nuclear tests. International efforts to have North Korea abandon its nuclear program have largely failed. In order to realize amicable international relations in Northeast Asia, causes of this failure need to be identified. Often times, North Korea is blamed for this failure and worsening of the nuclear problem. However, a close look at this issue reveals a different picture: the reluctance of the USA to normalize its relations with North Korea 49
    • is an underlying factor behind the failure. Since the USA remains reluctant, it is rather naïve to expect the USA to play a leading role in promoting peace in Northeast Asia. Japan is another unlikely leader. It is South Korea that has good reasons to take the lead. Its active economic engagement with North Korea would contribute significantly to peace-building in Northeast Asia and would promote Korean unification. Key words: the Agreed Framework, Six-Party Talks, Korean Unification, engagement 50
    • 1. Introduction For Japan, the Korean peninsula has been an area of a major importance. After Korea was divided into two countries in 1948, Japan developed strong economic relations with South Korea, particularly after their diplomatic normalization in 1965. For Japan, South Korea (or the ROK) is a major trading partner and an economic competitor. As far as North Korea (or the DPRK) is concerned, during the Cold War Japan‘s relations with the North was limited and not very friendly partly because of South Korea‘s hostile relations with the North. After the Cold War, Japan came to see North Korea as a primary security threat to its national security because of North Korea‘s nuclear and missile development and its abduction of Japanese citizens. North Korea‘s nuclear weapons development is a major security concern not only for Japan but also for other countries, particularly South Korea, the United States (USA), China, and Russia. In the early 1990s, tensions mounted over North Korea‘s suspected extraction of plutonium from spent-fuel rods. The problem was resolved as a result of compromises between North Korea and the USA that were turned into their formal agreement, the Agreed Framework (AF), in October 1994. However, the AF collapsed in late 2002 during the Bush administration. Then, the Six-Party Talks (SPT) started in August 2003 to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem. Yet, the problem worsened to the extent that North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006. Rather belatedly, the SPT produced concrete agreements in 2007 regarding measures to be taken to resolve the nuclear problem. However, implementation of the agreements came to a halt in late 2008. After that, situations further deteriorated into North Korea‘s second and third nuclear tests in May 2009 and February 2013. International efforts at having Pyongyang abandon its nuclear program have largely failed. A widely held view is that North Korea is primarily responsible for the failure. This paper critically examines this view by focusing on the implementation of the AF of 1994, the collapse of the AF, North Korea‘s first nuclear test, and the implementation of the agreements at the SPT in 2007. Then, the paper considers ways to ease tensions arising from this nuclear issue, to facilitate the peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia, and to promote Korean unification. 2. The Agreed Framework of 1994 The end of the Cold War generated a propitious chance to end the Cold War structure in Northeast Asia. In September 1991, President Bush announced his decision to withdraw US tactical nuclear arsenals deployed overseas including South Korea. Then, in December 1991 President Roh Tae-woo confirmed their removal from South Korea. Then, the two Koreas signed an Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-aggression, and Exchanges and Cooperation on 13 December 1991 and a Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on 20 January 1992. South Korea normalized its relations with the Soviet Union in September 1990 and with China in August 1992. North Korea tried to improve its relations with the USA and Japan. It could get a positive response from Japan and held eight rounds of normalization talks with Japan between 1991 and 1992. Yet, the USA showed little eagerness to normalize its relations with North Korea. Consequently, no normalization talks were held between the two. 51
    • The USA was more concerned about North Korea‘s nuclear development. North Korea built a graphite-moderated reactor in 1985. Then, the USA detected a large building in 1989 that it suspected to be a spent-fuel reprocessing facility. In order to safely dispose of spent fuel from a graphite-moderated reactor, North Korea needed the capability to reprocess it. However, the USA, the ROK and Japan suspected that North Korea‘s intention to build the facility was to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods. The surfacing of this nuclear issue led to the termination of the DPRK-Japan normalization talks in November 1992. The tension between the DPRK and the USA along with the ROK and Japan later rose to an alarming level. Yet, former President Jimmy Carter‘s visit and meeting with Kim Il-sung on 16-17 June and stopped further escalation of tension. Following the Carter-Kim talks, the DPRK and the USA made mutual compromises and reached an agreement called the Agreed Framework (AF) in October 1994 despite Kim‘s sudden death in July 1994. The Content of the AF In the AF, the two countries made the following agreement. First, the DPRK will freeze its nuclear facilities in Nyongbyon, put them under the monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and eventually dismantle them. The DPRK will accept full inspections by the IAEA before delivery of key nuclear components. Second, an international consortium led by the USA will construction two light-water reactors (LWRs) in the DPRK by the target date of 2003. Third, the USA will provide the DPRK with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) per annum until the last stage of construction of the first LWR unit. Fourth, the DPRK and the USA will move toward full normalization of political and economic relations. Fifth, the USA will provide the DPRK with formal assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons. Implementation of the AF To what extend were these agreements were implemented? The DPRK froze its nuclear facilities and put them under the IAEA monitoring. With regard to the LRW project is concerned, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) was formed to carry it out. But the start of construction of LWRs delayed. Consequently, their completion was expected to go far beyond 2003. With regard to the HFO provision, the USA kept the promise although its delivery delayed from time to time. As to normalization of their political and economic relations, little progress was made on. Regarding the security assurance, strong assurance in the form of a pact or treaty was not provided. Before signing the AF, the Clinton administration assured North Korea of its intention not to use its nuclear weapons or to threaten North Korea with possible use of nuclear weapons in their joint statements in June and July 1993. Also, in their joint communiqué of October 2000, the Clinton administration expressed its stance of not having hostile intent toward North Korea and its intention to build a new relationship with 52
    • North Korea that is not hostile. North Korea did what the USA deemed most important, that is, freezing its nuclear facilities and thereby stopping production of plutonium. In this sense, North Korea made a very significant concession to the USA. However, North Korea could not realize what it saw most important, namely, ending the military and economic hostilities of the USA. Collapse of the AF North Korea expressed its frustration with the US reluctance to normalize their relations and threaten to abrogate the AF and restart the operation of the frozen nuclear facilities.37 In this context, Pyongyang launched a Taepodong-1 on 31 August 1998, allegedly to put a satellite into an orbit. The launch may have been prompted by its frustration with Washington‘s reluctance to normalize the bilateral relations. Yet, North Korea did not abrogate the AF. That could be attributed to different factors. First, for Pyongyang, Washington‘s provision of 500,000 tons of HFO was significant, considering that North Korea‘s annual oil import peaked at around 3 million tons in the 1980s. A second factor is the onset of the Kim Dae-jung administration in 1998 and its engagement policy to actively promote improvement in inter-Korean relations and to facilitate improvement in North Korea‘s relations with the USA and Japan. A third factor is the Perry Report of October 1999 that acknowledged the importance of the AF and urged the government to prepare to establish more normal diplomatic relations with the DPRK in order to preserve stability through the cooperative ending of DPRK nuclear weapons- and long-range missile-related activities.38 A fourth factor is actual improvement in its relations with the USA as can be seen from the visit of Kim Jong Il‘s aide, Vice Marshal Jo Myong-rok, to Washington in October 2000, and Secretary Madeleine Albright‘s reciprocal visit to Pyongyang later in the same month, which was prompted by the first inter-Korean summit of June 2000. The Agreed Framework collapsed after Clinton was replaced by Bush in 2001. President Bush and his Republican Party had been highly critical of the AF and the Kim Jong-il regime.39 The Bush administration adopted a hostile policy toward North Korea. In January 2002 it adopted a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that reportedly designated North Korea as one of the seven states against which a plan to use nuclear weapons should be compiled.40 In the same 37 For instance, see: ―LWR provision is U.S. obligation= DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman,‖ KCNA, 6 March 1998; ―U.S. should take practical steps as soon as possible,‖ KCNA, 8 May 1998. 38 William J. Perry, Review of United States Policy Toward North Korea: Findings and Recommendations , Washington, D.C.: 12 October 1999, p. 6. 39 Peter M. Beck, ―The Bush Administration‘s Failed North Korea Policy,‖ JPRI Critique, Vol. XI, No. 3 (June 2004), at <http://www.jpri.org/publications/critiques/critique_XI_3.html>(searched date: 17 October 2013). 40 Hans M. Kristensen, ―Nuclear Posture Review Report [Reconstructed],‖ Federation of American 53
    • month, President Bush regarded North Korea as a part of ―Axis of Evil‖ in his State of the Union speech. In September 2002, it adopted a new version of the National Security Strategy (NSS) that expressed its willingness to conduct preemptive actions against rogue states including the DPRK. North Korea slashed these hostile moves as totally nullifying the DPRK-U.S. joint statement of 2000 and the AF.41 However, it did not abrogate the AF. The collapse of the AF was triggered by Washington‘s announcement on 16 October 2002 regarding North Korea‘s involvement in uranium enrichment. According to the US Department of State, North Korea admitted its possession of a uranium enrichment program to Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly who had visited Pyongyang between 3 and 5 October.42 However, the North Korean Foreign Ministry denied the allegation.43 The Bush administration regarded North Korea‘s uranium enrichment program as a breach of the AF and terminate its provision oil to North Korea obliged by the AF in December 2002. In response, North Korea restarted its nuclear facilities later in the same month and announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003. Consequently, North Korea could freely produce plutonium and increase its inventory of plutonium. Who Is Responsible? Who is responsible for the collapse of the AF? Is it North Korea that was, according to Washington, engaged in uranium enrichment? Or is it the Bush administration that stopped the oil shipment and thereby invited North Korea‘s response of restarting its nuclear facilities? If North Korea intended to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) to make nuclear weapons and actually attempted to develop the capability to do so, that would deserve denouncement. However, it was very unwise for the Bush administration to terminate its provision of HFO to North Korea and thereby prompted it to resume its nuclear facilities. At that time, Washington suspected that Pyongyang had started the uranium enrichment program about four years ago, but was not sure if it had begun constructing a uranium enrichment plant.44 Scientists, 8 January 2002, p. 16, available in a PDF format at <www.fas.org/blog/ssp/united_states/NPR2001re.pdf>. 41 ―Conclusion of non-aggression treaty between DPRK and U.S. called for,‖ KCNA, 25 October 2002 42 According to Charles L. Pritchard who accompanied Kelly and met with First Vice Minister Kang Sok Ju, ―While there was no precise, irrefutable statement—a smoking gun—many factors led all eight members of the U.S. delegation to reach the conclusion that Kang had effectively and defiantly admitted to having an HEU program.‖ Charles L. Pritchard, Failed Diplomacy, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2007, pp. 38-39. 43 ―Conclusion of non-aggression treaty between DPRK and U.S. called for,‖ KCNA, 25 October. 2002. 44 Larry A. Niksch, North Korea‟s Nuclear Weapons Development and Diplomacy (CRS Report for Congress RL33590), Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 5 January 2010, p.18. 54
    • Criticizing North Korea is understandable. Yet, it was irrational and counterproductive to invite North Korea‘s resumption of plutonium reprocessing. In fact, when Washington expressed its intention to terminate the oil shipment, Seoul and Tokyo voiced concerns for possibility of resultant collapse of the AF.45 In fact, many criticisms for the irrationality of the US decision have been made by scholars and (former) government officials in South Korea and the USA,46 although few criticisms have been made by Japanese scholars or officials. Uranium Enrichment If North Korea was actually involved in uranium enrichment after it had signed the AF, then why was it and how seriously was it? The AF did not clearly state that North Korea was prohibited from possessing uranium enrichment capability. Yet, it indirectly obliged North Korea to refrain from doing so because North Korea agreed to abide by the North-South Joint Declaration on Non-Nuclear Korean Peninsula of 1992 that prohibited possession of uranium enrichment capability or plutonium production capability. Reportedly, since 1993 North Korea gained access to Pakistan‘s centrifuge program and experts at Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in return for providing Pakistan with ballistic missiles and their technologies, and then obtained P1 and P2 centrifuges from KRL in about 2000.47 With regard to this deal, Pakistan seemed to be more eager than North Korea because it wanted to improve its missile capability that was inferior to India‘s. North Korea had the capability to produce plutonium. Therefore, it had few reasons to acquire uranium enrichment capability to develop nuclear weapons. Also, it should be noted that its signing of the AF shows that North Korea was willing to freeze its nuclear facility in order to normalize its relations with the USA. In other words, it decided not to pursue acquisition of nuclear weapons in return for diplomatic normalization with the USA. Considering this decision of great importance, it is highly doubtful that North Korea seriously attempted to produce HEU at least in the early years after signing the AF. However, it is conceivable that North Korea grew more interested in acquisition of uranium enrichment capability as it grew more frustrated with Washington‘s unwillingness to normalize its relations with Pyongyang. North Korea might have thought of developing uranium enrichment capability as a diplomatic card to make Washington more serious about diplomatic 45 Dong-won Im, Nanboku shuno kaidan eno michi [Peace Maker], Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2008, pp. 403-404. 46 For similar criticism from South Korean and American officials, see: Funabashi Yoichi, The Peninsula Question, Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha, 2006, pp. 260-261. 47 David Albright and Paul Brannan, Taking Stock: North Korea‟s Uranium Enrichment Program, Washington, DC: the Institute for Science and International Security, October 2010, pp. 6-8. 55
    • normalization. Another possibility is that North Korea was interested in producing low-enriched uranium for the two LWRs under construction by the KEDO. The LWRs were to be provided with nuclear fuel rods installed. Yet, after the initial installment, North Korea would have to buy fuel rods. Since North Korea is replete with uranium ore, it is understandable that it became interested in producing nuclear fuel by producing low-enriched uranium. In short, it seems reasonable to assume that North Korea was not very serious about producing highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and that its interest in uranium enrichment capability was to use it as a bargaining chip or produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. 3. The First Nuclear Test After the collapse of the AF, North Korea restarted its nuclear facilities and could produce plutonium. As time went by, North Korea would have possessed more plutonium. That was a very alarming development. Letting North Korea freely do so was unacceptable for the international community. That is why the Six-Party Talks (SPT) started in August 2003 with the participation of North Korea, the USA, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. However, for about two years, little progress was made toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. It was at least partly because of President Bush‘s uncompromising, hardline demand that North Korea should first completely, verifiably, irreversibly dismantle its nuclear facilities (CVID) before discussing quid pro quos. Finally, in September 2005, the six parties agreed on principles for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, including taking reciprocal actions step by step. However, on 15 September, just before the six parties issued their joint statement on this agreement on September 19, the US Department of Treasury imposed financial sanctions on Banco Delta Asia, a bank in Macao on the grounds that the bank helped North Korea‘s money laundering. Not surprisingly, North Korea strongly reacted. It conducted missile tests in July 2006. Washington along with Tokyo pushed for adoption of a resolution of condemnation (resolution 1695) at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 15 July.48 It enraged Pyongyang and prompted it to conduct its first nuclear test in October 2006. In response, Washington in cooperation with Tokyo succeeded in having the UNSC adopt a sanctions relation (resolution 1718) on 14 October. The UNSC resolution enraged Pyongyang, but was not very damaging because it allowed member states to engage in economic exchanges with the DPRK that are unrelated to its nuclear and missile development. Probably, Pyongyang had anticipated passage of such a resolution because Beijing would not support crippling penalties on Pyongyang for fear of triggering its implosion or explosion. Also, it seems that Pyongyang had expected Beijing and Seoul to continue their economic assistance to Pyongyang although they might well reduce or suspend it for a while. Probably, Pyongyang also had expected that the risk of US attacks on it would be very low because Washington as well as Tokyo would not want to face its implosion or 48 Japan was a member of the UNSC between 2005 and 2006 and between 2009 and 2010. 56
    • explosion and because Washington was not ready to fight a new war with the DPRK while engaged in large-scale military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 4. New Agreements at the Six-Party Talks The UNSC sanction was not very strong and was not very effective in preventing North Korea‘s technological, financial, and material transactions in order to hinder its development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Therefore, the SPT needed to find ways to achieve it. Negotiations among the six parties produced concrete agreements on February 13 and October 3, 2007 that gave substances to the joint declaration of September 17, 2005. The Content of the SPT Agreements The 2.13 agreement specified measures to take in the following 60 days and at the next stage. The former measures included: 1) for the DPRK to stop its nuclear facilities in Nyongbyon and accept monitoring and verification by the IAEA; 2) for the other five countries to provide emergency energy aid worth 50,000 tons of HFO to the DPRK; 3) for the USA to start normalization talks with the DPRK and initiate the process of rescinding its designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism (SST) and the process of ending the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) to the DPRK; and 4) for Japan and the DPRK to hold normalization talks in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration of 2002. The measures to take at the next stage, included: 4) the DPRK‘s complete declaration of its entire nuclear program; 5) its disablement of all the existing nuclear facilities; 6) provision of aid to the DPRK by the other five countries worth 950,000 tons of HFO. The 10.3 agreement reconfirmed the commitment of the six parties to the 2.13 agreement and set a deadline of 31 December 2007 for Pyongyang‘s declaration and disablement. Implementation of the SPT Agreements Apparently in order to facilitate North Korea‘s implementation, the USA lifted its financial sanctions on North Korea in June 2007. For its part, North Korea stopped its nuclear facilities in Nyongbyon and allowed the IAEA to verify it. Then, it started dismantle them. By the time the USA removed the DPRK from the SST list in October 2008, the DPRK had submitted a detailed report on its nuclear program and had completed eight of the eleven agreed disablement measures.49 However, it obtained 496,000 tons of oil out of 1,000,000 tons promised by the five countries. It was partly because Japan refused to take part in the oil provision on the grounds that its contribution depended on progress on the issue of North Korea‘s abduction of Japanese citizens.50 Also, there was little progress on its normalization talks with the USA and Japan. 49 ―Munōryokuka sagyō wo saikai‖ [Resumption of Disablement Measures] Shinbun Akahata, 16 October 2008, at <http://www.jcp.or.jp/akahata/aik07/2008-10-16/2008101607_02_0.html> (searched date: 15 August 2013). 50 Ibid. 57
    • Confrontation over Verification The USA and Japan were not eager to normalize their relations with North Korea. Instead, their priority was verification of North Korea‘s declaration of its nuclear activities. Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul under the new Lee Myung-bak administration demanded that Pyongyang allow them to verify its declaration through scientific examination. However, Pyongyang rejected the demand. Their disagreement over this verification issue stopped the implementation of the 2.13 and 10.3 agreements. The three countries criticized the DPRK for refusing to allow verification. It is understandable for them to do so. Yet, it should be noted that North Korea‘s explanation for its refusal is understandable as well. On 26 August 2008, North Korea‘s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, ―As far as the verification is concerned, it is a commitment to be fulfilled by the six parties at the final phase of the denuclearization of the whole Korean Peninsula according to the September 19 joint statement.‖51 It also criticized the USA, saying that Washington ―pressurized the DPRK to accept such inspection as scouring any place of the DPRK as it pleases to collect samples and measure them,‖ and that such inspection would be ―nothing but ‗special inspection‘ which the IAEA called for in the 1990s to infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK and caused it to pull out of the NPT in the end.‖52 North Korea‘s stance was that the USA, Japan, and South Korea could not conduct verification without sufficiently improving their relations with North Korea. In other words, North Korea demanded the kind of reciprocal, step-by-step actions as agreed in the 9.19 joint statement. In December 2008, the heads of delegation to the SPT of the six countries held a meeting to resolve the verification issue, but could not do so. Since then, the SPT has been suspended to this date. Who Is Responsible? As pointed out in the DPRK‘s above statement, the confrontation over the verification this time was very similar to the one in the early 1990s. The latter confrontation was resolved as a result of the Clinton administration‘s decision to conduct verification at the final stage of implementation of the Agreed Framework, including construction of two LWRs and normalization of diplomatic relations between the USA and the DPRK. From this experience of the early 1990s, Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul could have easily anticipate Pyongyang‘s refusal of upfront verification without giving sufficient quid pro quos. As Stephen Bosworth, former US special envoy to North Korea, stated before assuming the position, it is unlikely that the DPRK would denuclearize unless the US government ends its longstanding hostile policy toward the DPRK and build a friendly bilateral relationship53. Pyongyang’s Eagerness and Washington’s Reluctance The formation and implementation of the AF and the 2.13 and 10.3 agreements of the SPT show North Korea‘s eagerness to implement agreed measures for denuclearization and the 51 ―Foreign Ministry's Spokesman on DPRK's Decision to Suspend Activities to Disable Nuclear Facilities,‖ KCNA, 27 August 2008. 52 Ibid. 53 Morton Abramowitz and Stephen Bosworth, ―Reaching Out To Pyongyang,‖ Newsweek, May 12, 2008. 58
    • USA‘s reluctance to normalize its relations with North Korea. For Kim Jong-il, rebuilding North Korea‘s buttered economy must have been a top priority because it was a strong destabilizing factor to his regime. In order to do so, he needed to remove the US economic and military hostilities because that they made it difficult for Pyongyang to obtain financial support from international financial organizations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, bilateral official aid from foreign countries, and investment from foreign companies. In contrast, Washington has been reluctant to normalize its relations with Pyongyang, probably because it expects demerits of doing so outweigh merits. It seems that Washington has been strongly concerned about the possibility that normalization of relations with the DPRK may well undermine its national interests by weakening its advantageous relations with Seoul and Tokyo. Changing its hostile relations with Pyongyang to friendly ones would mostly likely lead to corresponding changes in Pyongyang‘s relations with Seoul and Tokyo. As a result, the military importance of the USA for Seoul and Tokyo would decline, probably to a greater extent for Seoul because the US military presence in South Korea has been to deal primarily with North Korean threat. Decline in the importance of US military protection might lead to reduction of Seoul and Tokyo‘s generous host nation support for US forces in their countries and might lead even to reduction of US military presence. Also, US military sales to the two countries might well decrease. US economic importance to South Korea and Japan might well decline as well. If North Korea‘s relations with the USA, South Korea, and Japan are normalized, South Korea and Japan would make greater economic gains than the USA. As the economic interactions among North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia would expand, Northeast Asia would enter into a new stage of economic development and interdependence. As regional economic integration deepens, the relative economic importance of the USA to South Korea and Japan would likely decline. South Korea would likely benefit more than Japan due to its geographic proximity to North Korea, China, and Russia. For instance, it would be able to reduce its energy cost by a greater margin by importing gas from Russia via gas pipelines through North Korea, which has been under discussion among the three countries since the Lee Myung-bak administration. South Korea would be able to benefit more from the connection of its railways and road to North Korea‘s. All in all, US military and economic influence over South Korea and Japan would decrease as a result of its normalization with North Korea. 5. Who Is To Lead After the implementation of the 2.13 and 10.3 agreements of the SPT came to a halt in late 2008 due to confrontation over the verification issue, the North Korean nuclear issue has become even more difficult to resolve because of North Korea‘s development of uranium enrichment capability and its second and third nuclear tests in May 2009 and February 2013. Now that North Korea can produce HEU without being detected by other countries, other 59
    • countries including the USA, Japan, and South Korea cannot completely erase their doubt that North Korea is hiding HEU somewhere, even if North Korea accepted their thorough inspections. International community needs to accept this reality. If North Korea conducts more missile tests and nuclear tests, then North Korea would eventually possess nuclear missiles. If the USA, Japan, South Korea, and other countries want to prevent it, then they would need to convince North Korea not to do so through diplomatic measures. Past records vividly show that military and economic pressures by the USA, Japan, and others have not been very effective. North Korea has attempted to improve its regime security by improving its serious economic conditions and has demanded that the USA end its hostile economic and military policy toward North Korea because it has been the primary obstacle to North Korea‘s economic development. As discussed above, the USA has, however, been very reluctant to terminate the hard-line policy and normalize its relations with North Korea. This US reluctance seems unlikely to wane significantly in the near future. Therefore, if South Korea, Japan, and other countries want to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear missiles and want to improve its relations with North Korea, then they cannot expect the USA to take a leading role. Instead, they have to take initiatives. As discussed earlier, the USA is reluctant to normalize its relations with North Korea because it is likely to lead to the DPRK-ROK and DPRK-Japan normalizations and is likely to reduce South Korea and Japan‘s military and economic dependence on the USA. That is why the USA has not been actively supported South Korea and Japan‘s attempts at improving their relations with North Korea. Therefore, if South Korea and Japan want to improve their relations with North Korea, they have to do so without US support and possibly against US wishes. This is a major challenge for them. As far as Japan is concerned, there are not many Japanese leaders who support improvement of Japan‘s relations with North Korea if doing so make the USA unhappy. The USA is widely seen as the most important country for Japan. This recognition has become even stronger in recent years as tensions have grown between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Considering that, Japan is unlikely to play a leading role in improving North Korea‘s international tensions and thereby promoting the peace in Northeast Asia. In contrast, South Korea does not have territorial disputes with China or Russia unlike Japan. Also, as mentioned earlier, South Korea‘s economic gain in improving relations with North Korea is likely to be greater than Japan‘s. Thus, South Korea is the country that has the reasons to take the lead in improving North Korea‘s international relations and promoting amicable interactions in Northeast Asia. Along with South Korea, China and Russia can play important roles in reducing tensions and promoting such interactions in the region. In fact, China has been economically supporting North Korea, preventing its collapse. In recent years, China has given a priority to promoting economic development of its northeastern provinces because their economic developed has been sluggish. As one of the measures to achieve this objective, China has been improving transportation networks in the provinces and access to the North Korean port of Rajin located near its borders with China and Russia. China does not have a port facing the Sea of Japan. 60
    • Therefore, Rajin can be a very important logistical hub for promoting economic development of the provinces. Besides, China can expect North Korea‘s economic development can have a stimulating impact on the economy of its northeastern provinces and other provinces because North Korea has the population of about 25 million and a lot of natural resources. Considering that, China is likely to find it in its economic interest for South Korea to actively promote North Korea‘s economic development by increasing inter-Korean economic exchanges. Russia is similar to China in this respect. Russia‘s far Eastern region is economically underdeveloped. The Russian government has been promoting the economic development of this region. Russia wants to sell its natural resources, particularly gas, to South Korea. One way to do so is to build a pipeline from Sakhalin to Busan via North Korea. Russia has already discussed this project with the two Koreas and has gained their support. All the three parties can benefit from this project. However, due to the volatile relations between the two Koreas, this project has not started yet. Also, similar to China, Russia is interested in using Rajin as a logistical hub. Recently, it has built rails alongside North Korean ones between Rajin and the Russian city of Hassan, making the rails dual gages, so that Russian trains can run between them. Paradoxical Opportunity The current regime of North Korea led by First Secretary Kim Jong-un has given the precedence to economic development. His regime succeeded in putting a satellite into an orbit in December 2012 and conducted a third nuclear test in February 2013. Uranium enrichment facilities seem to be in operation. North Korea has acquired the capabilities to enrich uranium and produce plutonium. Its nuclear development has come a long way. By now, North Korea has made significant military progress. It has reached the stage where Kim Jong-un can say that his country has achieved the goal of becoming a militarily strong state and that its next goal is to become an economically strong state. Put it differently, military development has given the North Korean leadership to shift its priority from military to economic development. The current leadership has been very active, more than ever, in promoting economic development and improving economic conditions of North Korean people. For instance, it has decided to establish about 15 more special economic zones and has made legal changes in order to attract foreign investment in North Korea.54 This is a golden opportunity for other countries to expand economic exchanges with North Korea and assist North Korea with its effort to make economic development. Success of the ongoing economic reform led by non-military party members would prompt the leadership to continue the economic reform. In other words, the success of the economic reform is likely to enhance their relative power vis-à-vis the military within the Kim Jong-un regime. We will have to see how other countries, particularly South Korea and China, respond to 54 ―Kitachosen, Keizai Tokku 14kasho shinsetsu‖ [North Korea Establishing 14 New Special Economic Zones], Asahi Shimbun, 28 October 2013, p. 7; ―Gunji kyokai sen chikakuni tokku‖ [A Special Economic Zone Near the DMZ], Asahi Shimbun, 6 November 2013, p. 11. 61
    • this opportunity. In this regard, it should be noted that President Park Geun-hye and President Putin agreed at their summit meetings on 13 November 2013 that three South Korean companies (Korea Railroad Corporation, Hyundai Merchant Marine, and POSCO, one of the biggest steel companies in the world) would join Russia‘s project with North Korea to improve Russia‘s railway access from Hassan to Rajin and modernize the port of Rajin. This development is very particularly noteworthy because it amounts to easing of South Korea‘s economic sanctions on North Korea initiated on 24 May 2010 (5.24 sanctions) by former President Lee Myung-bak and supported by conservatives. In this connection, another noteworthy development was ―Eurasia Initiative‖ that Park proposed on 18 October 2013 at the Global Cooperation in the Era of Eurasia conference held in Seoul hosted by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy. In the initiative, she advocated connecting energy and logistics infrastructure across the continent.55 She said, ―A new era must be opened by once again connecting Eurasia as a single continent. The severed logistics network needs to be linked to overcome the physical barriers that prevent exchange‖ and ―Winwin Eurasian energy cooperation must be developed, such as linking energy infrastructures including electricity grids, gas and oil pipelines, and codeveloping China‘s shale gas and eastern Siberia‘s petroleum and gas.‖56 As a part of the initiative, she proposed establishment of a ―Silk Road Express‖ that would connect rail and road networks from Korea‘s Busan to Europe via North Korea. The aforementioned recent decision on the participation of the three South Korean companies in the Russia-North Korea logistics project could be seen as a part of this initiative. Besides the Eurasia Initiative, Park has presented the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative, which ―seeks to gradually develop a habit of cooperation among regional players so that it may eventually contribute to addressing the region‘s thornier issues and ushering in a new, prosperous Northeast Asia,‖ ―[s]tarting from building a consensus on softer, yet equally critical issues such as climate change, environment, disaster relief and nuclear safety.‖57 Park intends to apply this initiative to North Korea in order to build trust between the two Koreas, as can be seen from her North Korean policy called ―Korean Peninsula Trust Building Process.‖ In the Korean Peninsula Trust Building Process, South Korea would make economic engagement with North Korea in three stages: 1) humanitarian assistance such as food aid; 2) 55 ―Park seeks ‗Eurasia Initiative‘ to build energy, logistics links,‖ Korea Herald, 18 October 2013, at <http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20131018000620> (Searched date: 15 November 2013). 56 Ibid. 57 Foreign Minister‘s explanation for the initiative. Yun Byung-se, ―President Park‘s Trustpolitik: A New Framework for South Korea‘s Foreign Policy,‖ enewspaper (issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea), 1 October 2013, at <http://news.mofa.go.kr/enewspaper/mainview.php?mvid=1654&master=> (searched date: 15 November 2013). 62
    • low-level economic cooperation in such fields as agriculture and forestry; and 3) large-scale investment in projects to develop infrastructure such as transportation and communication. The Park administration has shown willingness to implement the first two stages without setting such preconditions as North Korea‘s denuclearization.58 North Korea‘s new special economic zones discussed above included those focusing on agriculture and fishery. One of them is to be established near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and close to South Korea‘s Yeonpyeong Island. Opening up this militarily important area to foreign investment indicates North Korea‘s seriousness in promoting economic development. It may well be the case that the aforementioned economic engagement policy of Park‘s Korean Peninsula Trust Building Process prompted North Korea to designate this area as one of its new special economic zones in order to attract South Korean investment. We will have to see how South Korea responds to this new approach by North Korea. Because Park herself and her party are conservative and have been critical of the engagement policy of Presidents Kim Dae-jun and Roh Moo-hyun, Park‘s economic engagement may well not be as active as Kim and Roh‘s. In this regard, China can play an instrumental role in facilitating South Korea‘s economic engagement to North Korea by helping North Korea‘s economic reform centered on special economic zones. China‘s investment in those zones would make it easier for Park to allow investment by South Korean companies. Along the same line, China‘s investment in the Kaesong Industrial Complex can have a very positive influence in that Chinese investment will strongly discourage North Korea to close the complex as part of its hardline policy toward South Korea as it did in April 2013. If North Korea keeps refraining from making military provocations such as conducting another nuclear test in response to increase in Chinese and South Korean investment and improvement in economic conditions, then it would become more likely for Washington and Tokyo to soften their stance toward North Korea. The two countries, particularly Japan, may well feel disadvantaged if China and South Korea increase their economic gains from expanding economic exchanges with North Korea. For instance, if South Korean companies can reduce production cost by importing raw materials from North Korea, then their Japanese competitors should feel disadvantaged and may well urge the Japanese government to ease its strict economic sanctions on North Korea so that they can also invest in North Korea. The same could be said for American companies. 6. Conclusion This paper has advocated promotion of peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia by expanding economic exchanges among the countries in the region, particularly North Korea‘s economic exchanges with the other countries. In Northeast Asia, peace and prosperity has been 58 Gomi Youji, “Paku Daitouryo no kanhanto shinrai purosesu towa nanika‖ [What is President Park‘s Korean Peninsula Trust Building Process], Gomi Youji‘s homepage, 7 June <http://cyucyo.blogspot.jp/2013/06/blog-post_7.html> (searched date: 17 November 2013). 63 2013, at
    • constrained by international tensions between North Korea on one hand and the USA, Japan, and South Korea on the other hand over North Korea‘s nuclear development. North Korea has advanced its nuclear development in the context of lasting confrontation with the USA. The two countries agreed to normalize their relations in the AF of 1994 and the SPT agreements of October 2007. Yet, little progress was made toward normalization due largely to US reluctance. Its reluctance is understandable because its normalization with North Korea is likely to lead to North Korea‘s normalization with South Korea and Japan and reduce their military and economic dependence on the USA, which means decline of US power over them. Due to its reluctance, it is unlikely for the USA to take the lead in easing tensions over North Korea‘s nuclear development. Neither is Japan because it has pursued the policy of strengthening its military and security ties with the USA in response to its deteriorating relations with China. In contrast, South Korea does not have such a reason to strengthen its ties with the USA. Also, South Korea can benefit more from expanding economic exchanges with North Korea than Japan can. Therefore, South Korea has the best potential for playing a leading role in promoting North Korea‘s amicable international relations and the peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia. As a concrete measure, expansion of economic engagement is promising. It is often times effective to change the existing incentive structure in order to ease mutual hostility. As economic exchanges expand and economic gains increase, it makes greater sense to further expand economic exchanges. As economic stakes of maintaining good economic relations increase, reluctance to take a hostile policy toward the other party becomes stronger. Besides South Korea, China and Russia are likely to benefit a lot from improvement in inter-Korean economic relations. Therefore, they can play an important instrumental role in promoting improvement in inter-Korean relations and the peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia. As economic exchanges among North Korea, South Korea, China, and Russia expand and their economic gains increase, then the USA and Japan would feel urged to review their hard-line policy toward North Korea. Probably, their domestic support for engagement policy would increase. They might well ease their strict economic sanctions on North Korea and allow their companies to do business with North Korea. As their economic exchanges with North Korea expand, the support for diplomatic normalization with the country might well become stronger. When the USA becomes ready to normalize the relations, it could urge North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and related facilities in exchange for normalization that entails conclusion of a peace treaty between them or among them plus South Korea and China, the four countries that fought the Korean War. In order to have North Korea accept denuclearization, Japan could play an instrumental role. At the first Japan-DPRK summit in 2002, Japan promised to provide economic aid to North Korea after normalization, which is expected to be approximately 1 trillion yen (US$10billion). The USA and Japan could coordinate the timing of their diplomatic normalization with North Korea and provide it with attractive incentives for realizing its denuclearization. The US-DPRK and Japan-DPRK normalizations would increase the chance of the two countries to reunite into one Korea. 64
    • As Dr. Tae-Hwan Kwak and others have pointed out rightly,59 the two Koreas need to agree to make a united Korea as a neutral state in order to gain sufficient support from the USA, China, Japan, and Russia. That means the end of the US-ROK Alliance and withdrawal of US forces in South Korea. The loss of US forward deployment in South Korea might meet domestic opposition within the USA. Yet, its alliance with Japan and forward deployment in Japan would make it easier for South Korea to convince the USA to agree to end their alliance. In this way, Japan might well make an unintended contribution to Korean unification. Unified Korea would have the population of about 75 million and would become a major economic power. Consequently, Japan would face greater economic competition from it than from South Korea. This prospect might well raise concern in Japan about Korean unification. However, economic development of unified Korea has a bright side for Japan as well because its economic development would promote economic development of Northeast Asia and beyond and thereby would give Japan more opportunities to increase its exports. Japan has played a leading role in promoting economic development of China. That resulted in China‘s GDP surpassing Japan‘s and also in Japanese companies facing greater economic competition from Chinese companies. Yet, the Japanese economy has benefitted greatly from China‘s economic development. Economic gains have probably outweighed economic losses. Considering that, Japan would support Korean unification, rather than opposing it, out of its own interests. Even if Japan strongly opposes Korean unification, it does not have the power to prevent it. If the two Koreas make firm determination to reunite and propose neutralized unification, not only Japan but also China, the USA, and Russia cannot ostensibly oppose it. Moreover, if economic exchanges among the two Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the USA have expanded significantly by the time the two Koreas make the proposal, the two Koreas would not face less opposition from the four countries. The extent of expansion of economic exchanges among them in the future depends crucially on South Korea‘s policy toward North Korea. 59 For instance, see: Tae-Hwan Kwak, “The Future Vision for a Unified Korean Peninsula: Two Koreas‘ Perspectives,‖ Paper presented at Global Peace Leadership Conference Korea 2012, 17-19 August, Grand Hilton Hotel, Seoul, Korea, pp. 15-22. 65
    • References Abramowitz, Morton, and Stephen Bosworth, ―Reaching Out To Pyongyang,‖ Newsweek (May 12, 2008). Albright, David, and Paul Brannan, Taking Stock: North Korea‟s Uranium Enrichment Program, Washington, DC: the Institute for Science and International Security (October 2010). Beck, Peter M, ―The Bush Administration‘s Failed North Korea Policy,‖ JPRI Critique, Vol. XI, No. 3 (June 2004), at <http://www.jpri.org/publications/critiques/critique_XI_3.html>. ―Conclusion of non-aggression treaty between DPRK and U.S. called for,‖ KCNA (25 October 2002). ―Foreign Ministry‘s Spokesman on DPRK's Decision to Suspend Activities to Disable Nuclear Facilities,‖ KCNA (27 August 2008). Funabashi, Yoichi, The Peninsula Question (Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha, 2006). Gomi, Youji, ―Paku Daitouryo no kanhanto shinrai purosesu towa nanika‖ [What is President Park‘s Korean Peninsula Trust Building Process], Gomi Youji‘s homepage (7 June 2013), at <http://cyucyo.blogspot.jp/2013/06/blog-post_7.html> . ―Gunji kyokai sen chikakuni tokku‖ [A Special Economic Zone Near the DMZ], Asahi Shimbun (6 November 2013), p. 11. Im, Dong-won, Nanboku shuno kaidan eno michi [Peace Maker] (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2008). ―Kitachosen, Keizai Tokku 14kasho shinsetsu‖ [North Korea Establishing 14 New Special Economic Zones], Asahi Shimbun (28 October 2013), p. 7. Kristensen, Hans M, ―Nuclear Posture Review Report [Reconstructed],‖ Federation of American Scientists (8 January 2002). Kwak, Tae-Hwan, ―The Future Vision for a Unified Korean Peninsula: Two Koreas‘ Perspectives,‖ Paper presented at Global Peace Leadership Conference Korea (17-19 August 2012), Grand Hilton Hotel, Seoul, Korea. ―LWR provision is U.S. obligation= DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman,‖ KCNA (6 March 1998). ―Munōryokuka sagyō wo saikai‖ [Resumption of Disablement Measures], Shinbun Akahata (16 October 2008), at <http://www.jcp.or.jp/akahata/aik07/2008-1016/2008101607_02_0.html>. Niksch, Larry A., North Korea‟s Nuclear Weapons Development and Diplomacy (CRS Report for Congress RL33590) (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 5 January 2010). 66
    • ―Park seeks ‗Eurasia Initiative‘ to build energy, logistics links,‖ Korea Herald (18 October 2013), at <http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20131018000620>. Perry, William J., Review of United States Policy Toward North Korea: Findings and Recommendations (Washington, DC: 12 October 1999). Pritchard, Charles L., Failed Diplomacy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2007). ―U.S. should take practical steps as soon as possible,‖ KCNA (8 May 1998). Yun, Byung-se, ―President Park‘s Trustpolitik: A New Framework for South Korea‘s Foreign Policy,‖ enewspaper (issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea) (1 October 2013), at <http://news.mofa.go.kr/enewspaper/mainview.php?mvid=1654&master=>. 67
    • ASEAN’s Role on the Korean Peninsula: An Opportunity for the Future? Dr. Er-Win Tan (presenting) Visiting Senior Lecturer, Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia Email: etango1979@gmail.com Dr. Chang Kyoo Park (co-author) Visiting Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia Email: asiatimur@gmail.com Dr. Geetha Govindasamy (co author) Senior Lecturer, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia Email: geetha.govindasamy@gmail.com Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Global Peace Convention 2013 Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 5-8, 2013 68
    • ASEAN’s Role on the Korean Peninsula: An Opportunity for the Future? * Dr. Er-Win Tan (presenting) Visiting Senior Lecturer, Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia <Contents> I. Introduction II. Pyongyang‘s Pyongjin strategy III. ASEAN as Neutral Ground IV. Economic / Social V. Political / Security VI. Conclusion Abstract The process of engaging the Democratic People‟s Republic of Korea (DPRK) stands at a crossroads that presents challenges as well as opportunities for the international community. The death of Kim Jong Il in December 2011 and his succession by his son, Kim Jong Un was followed by months of sabre rattling, aggressive rhetoric, and missile and nuclear tests. Set amidst this backdrop, what role can the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) play in contributing to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula? In spite of its limited influence on Pyongyang, we believe ASEAN can indirectly help to facilitate a „soft landing‟ for North Korea in two ways: 1) Social / Economic: there is evidence to suggest that Pyongyang is increasingly looking to ASEAN members Vietnam and Singapore as models of economic reform that it can emulate whilst maintaining firm domestic control of the country; moreover, the Chosun Exchange based in Singapore is an ideal location for enabling North Korean students to study abroad and thus gain a greater understanding of other countries; 2) Political / Security: it is notable that past meetings of the ASEAN regional forum (ARF) have also facilitated low-profile, unofficial dialogue to be exchanged between diplomats from the DPRK, ROK and US. The ARF‟s neutrality can thus enable it to function as a third party mediator that facilitates low-profile contact that „snowballs‟ into longer-term efforts to initiate and sustain Confidence and Security Building Measures on the Korean Peninsula. Taken together, these two guiding themes have the potential to allow ASEAN to „punch above its weight‟ in facilitating a „soft landing‟ for North Korea and thus contributing to the prospects of peaceful Korean unification. Keywords: DPRK, Kim Jong Un, capacity building, ASEAN, social and economic reform, political and security confidence building measures * This paper was co-written with the assistance of Prof. Park Chang Kyoo and Dr Geetha Govindasamy from the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Malaya. 69
    • I. Introduction The period since the death of Kim Jong Un in December 2011 and the succession of his son, Kim Jong Un, as Supreme Leader of the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been followed by a period of growing uncertainty over the prospects for peace and security in Northeast Asia. Set against the 2013 Korean Peninsula crisis, the media spotlight has been focused on the responses of the US-ROK alliance relationship. In so doing, however, the mainstream media‘s focus on the dominant role of the US and ROK has overshadowed the institutional influence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Such an oversight is, to some extent, understandable. The members of ASEAN have few vested interests and little historical involvement on the Korean Peninsula. 60 Whilst the strong commercial relations between ASEAN member countries and the ROK underscore regional hopes for stability on the Korean Peninsula, there is little direct interest amongst most Southeast Asia Governments in the political developments stemming from North Korea. If anything, the average citizen in ASEAN member countries is not familiar with developments on the Korean Peninsula apart from the emerging fascination with Hallyu (Korean pop culture). Yet, closer scrutiny of developments in Pyongyang suggest that the North Korean leadership is in fact attempting to pursue two concurrent policies, namely, the pursuit of nuclear weapons (as evidenced by its missile and nuclear tests) alongside modernization of the economy. Set against this context, whilst the authors acknowledge the limited extent of ASEAN‘s influence on the Korean Peninsula, there are grounds to argue that ASEAN can help facilitate a ‗soft landing‘ for North Korea and thus contribute to increased prospects for a peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula. We propose to outline our argument in five sections. In the first section, we will critically analyze the apparent intentions of the North Korean leadership within the context of the period that has seen the succession of Kim Jong Un as Supreme Leader of North Korea, arguing that the DPRK is attempting to implement a Pyongjin strategy (parallel track) that simultaneously seeks economic development as well as a nuclear weapons program. Second, it will be necessary to provide a brief description of the founding philosophy of ASEAN, thereby enabling us to outline the ways in which the grouping can contribute to a ‗soft landing‘ for North Korea. From here, two further sections explore the economic / social as well as political / security spheres through ASEAN can connect a North Korean ‗soft landing‘ to peaceful Korean unification, should such a scenario arise. Given the constraints of space, however, it will be necessary for this manuscript to focus on the two countries whose patterns of economic development North Korea appears to have the most interest in emulating, along with a broader examination of the institutional influence of ASEAN as a whole. Finally, in conclusion, this chapter will underline that ASEAN, although a useful and indirect contributor to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula should not be seen as a panacea in addressing the challenges posed by North Korea. However, ASEAN can function both as a regional facilitator, as well as an influential international actor in inter-Korean affairs. II. Pyongyang’s Pyongjin strategy Given that Kim Jong Un` had spent his education in a boarding school in Switzerland, 60 The exceptions being the Philippines and Thailand, both of which participated in the Korean War, and both of whom are more likely to be focused in addressing their own internal affairs for the foreseeable future. 70
    • there were initial hopes that the new leader of North Korea, having been exposed to the West, would be more open-minded and willing to embrace reform. Such hopes were initially supported by the ‗Leap Year Agreement‘ with the US, following negotiations by US Special Envoy to North Korea Glyn Davies on 29 February 2012, under which North Korea agreed to end missile and nuclear tests as a quid pro quo for economic aid from the US.61 Yet, the ink was barely dry on the Leap Year Agreement when Pyongyang announced plans to undertake yet another test of the controversial Kwangmyongsong rocket. Given the dualuse nature of rocket technology (in that space rockets can be reconfigured to launch nuclear warheads), this development was seen by the international community as a cover for testing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Although the April 2012 rocket test failed 40 seconds into launch, North Korea‘s pattern of belligerence continued, with another rocket test in December 2012 and a nuclear test (its third) in February 2013. Of particular concern were reports that indicated that the latest rocket to launch was able to reach the outer atmosphere, signifying the DPRK‘s progress in developing an actual ICBM.62 More ominously, the first half of 2013 also saw an unprecedented level of rhetorical vitriol from the DRPK towards Seoul and Washington. This was accompanied by closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex – an action seen as particularly shocking, given the extent of the financial lifeline to the Pyongyang regime – one estimate is that the Kaesong Industrial earns Pyongyang the equivalent of US$90 million annually.63 Given the near-destitute state of the North Korean economy, Pyongyang‘s willingness to forego such a significant portion of its income was seen as a sign that Kim Jong Un was prepared to accept continued economic hardship as the price for accomplishing its nuclear ambitions. More ominously, in August 2013, satellite reconnaissance indicated that North Korea had restarted the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which had been suspended in July 2007. Yet, it is important to emphasize that North Korea‘s missile and nuclear tests present only one side of North Korean Government policy since the succession of Kim Jong Un. It is notable that the same period has seen the North Korean leadership calling for economic modernization with a view to improving standards of living in the country. Whilst some level of skepticism is warranted, in 2012, Kim Jong Un proclaimed the ‗June 28 Policy‘, under which the DPRK leader announced a new development plan that oversaw increased autonomy to enterprises and factories whilst permitting North Korean farmers to keep a larger share of their crop. Most significant of all, however, was that the new policy transferred economic projects from the North Korean military to the cabinet, thereby marking a distinctive shift away from the military‘s control of economic projects under Kim Jong Un‘s Songum or ‗Military First‘ Politics. Even amidst the escalating tensions during the first half of 2013, on 18 March, 2013, Kim Jong Un called for ‗efforts [to] be focused in the drive for building an economic power and improving the people's living standard‘64 What are we to make of these concurrent policy directions? Perhaps an observation of another Communist state by an elder statesman may offer some insight – Winston Churchill once 61 Mark Fitzpatrick, ‗Leap Day in North Korea‘, Foreign Policy, 29 February 2013, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/29/leap_day_in_north_korea, accessed 1 March 2013. 62 ‗North Korea defies warnings in rocket launch success‘, BBC, 12 December 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20690338, accessed 13 December 2013. 63 ‗Pyongyang Threatens to End Venture‘, Wall Street Journal, 8 April 2013, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014 24127887323550604578410010892971052.html, accessed 7 October 2013. 64 ‗Kim Jong Un Makes Speech at National Meeting of Light Industrial Workers‘, KCNA, 18 March, 2013, http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2013/201303/news18/20130318-18ee.html, accessed 24 October 2013. 71
    • described Soviet Russia as ‗a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.‘ Seen from the perspective of the North Korean leadership, there is a cold, hard logic that has driven Pyongyang‘s conceptualization of two distinct aspects of its interests, namely, the DPRK‘s faltering economy and its desire for regime survival. On the economic dimension, the ‗Arab Spring‘ of 2011 and the consequent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have highlighted the urgency of economic reform to Pyongyang, on the grounds that repression alone may be insufficient in ensuring regime survival. In early 2011, it was reported that Kim Jong Il had nightmares of ‗being stoned‘ by starving North Korean civilians.65 Moreover, the DPRK‘s deteriorating food situation may be impacting the military – traditionally one of the best-fed sections of North Korean society – as well. In December 2011, six North Korean soldiers posted on the border with China to prevent defections themselves fled across the border.66 Kim Jong Un is doubtless aware of the importance of the DPRK military as his primary power base in consolidating his regime‘s authority; the prospect of a politically unreliable army of starving soldiers doubtless underlines the precariousness of his grip on power. At the same time, however, attempting to undertake economic reform brings the prospect of yet another policy challenge for the North Korean leadership. Gorbachev‘s implementation of perestroika during the 1980s brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of t he Cold War, and with the benefit of hindsight, other leaders may be less willing to risk regime s urvival through economic liberalisation. This would particularly be the case for Pyongyang, give n the derelict state of the DPRK‘s economy. In 2011, John Everard, a former British ambassador to Pyongyang, noted that, on several occasions, senior North Korean officials were shown videos of former East German communist party members surviving by selling pencils on the streets. Th e implication was clear – that any attempt at economic reform had to be undertaken in a manner t hat did not undermine the regime‘s control of power – the other issue at stake for the North Kore an leadership.67 The North Korean leadership‘s fear of regime survival has been evident for some time, si nce the death of founding father Kim Il Sung in 1994. Given the extent of the personality cult tha t surrounded Kim Il Sung, it is apparent that his leader, the late Kim Jong Il, faced challenges to his claim to leadership of North Korea. Such factionalism arguably explains Kim Jong Il‘s imple mentation of Songum (military first politics) in 1997, wherein the granting of increased privilege s and luxury goods to senior North Korean military officers was clearly aimed at securing the loy alty of the DPRK‘s armed forces. In so doing, however, it is probable that the increased influence of the North Korean military has turned the status of the country‘s nuclear and missile programs into a bargaining chip amidst internal politicking and leadership transitions in Pyongyang. Under such circumstances, it is likely that the more recent missile and nuclear tests by Kim Jong Un, al ong with the aggressive rhetoric and the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in early 2013 , were aimed at demonstrating his credentials to hardliners in the North Korean military. The North Korean leadership is doubtless aware of the necessity of economic reform to st 65 ‗Kim Jong-il 'Has Nightmares of Being Stoned by His People', Chosun Ilbo, 28 March 2011, http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/03/28/2011032801124.html, accessed 1 April 2011. 66 Mark Willacy, ‗N Korean soldiers flee into China‘, ABC News, 15 December 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-15/north-korean-soldiers-defect-to-china/3733218, accessed 17 December 2011. 67 Mark MacDonald, ‗North Koreans Struggle, and Party Keeps Its Grip‘, New York Times, 26 February 2011. 72
    • ave off internal strife arising from famine; at the same time, the emergence of hard-line factions i n the North Korean political and military establishment (who are doubtless resentful of taking or ders from the youthful Kim Jong Un) has also made it necessary for the North Korean leader to u ndertake frequent shows of strength – as exemplified by progress towards a nuclear missile arsen al – to continue commanding the loyalty of the country. Such a convergence of interests in Pyong yang thus presents the North Korean leadership with a ‗Catch-22‘ situation – how can it undertak e economic reform, whilst continuing to command the loyalty of conservatives in the North Kore an military and political establishment without costing regime survival or legitimacy in the long r un? North Korea‘s adoption of Pyongjin reflects its attempts to address this difficult situation. The DPRK doubtless recognises the necessity of undertaking urgent economic reform; but, havi ng seen the collapse of the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, wants to ensure that any proc ess of economic reform does not lead to internal instability or regime collapse. Instead, what the North Korean leadership wants is a process of economic reform that enables it to maintain the po litically privileged status of the Korean Workers Party in Pyongyang. The convergence of these f actors thus reflects the logic of what observers have labelled Pyongjin; even whilst undertaking e conomic modernisation, the DPRK continues to view its nuclear weapons program as the ‗jewel i n the crown‘ of its military, through Kim Jong Un can continue to command the continued allegia nce of North Korean ‗old guard‘ hardliners. At the same time, given that the DPRK‘s nuclear wea pons program has also brought it international ostracism (and thus significantly reduced channels for receiving foreign investment), Pyongyang seeks a program of economic modernisation that c an be feasibly be undertaken with few available resources and amidst diplomatic isolation, yet m aintain the authoritarian political identity of North Korea directly ruled by Kim Jong Un. Under s uch circumstances, it may be argued that North Korea has come to identify the experiences of AS EAN countries as embodying economic reforms that Pyongyang can learn from. III. ASEAN as Neutral Ground The extent to which ASEAN can influence developments on the Korean Peninsula has to be qualified. This is reflected in the group‘s ‗ASEAN Way‘, which codifies a strict interpretation of the Westphalian norm of state sovereignty.68 The emergence of the ASEAN Way as the group‘ s founding philosophy reflected Southeast Asian diplomatic and security concerns during the 196 0s, due to the then-recent communist insurgency in Malaysia, the Indonesian Confrontation, and the ongoing conflict in Vietnam. ASEAN members are thus expected not to comment or interfere in one another‘s internal affairs, and to refrain from the use or threats of force against one anothe r. Given the newly-independent characteristics of countries in the Southeast Asian region, the AS EAN Way was, in effect, an informal norm that emphasised harmony to promote a stable politica l environment conducive to foreign investment, economic growth and industrialisation. Similar characteristics have marked the newer institutions that have accompanied the gro wing profile of ASEAN since the 1990s, notably the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the AS EAN plus Three. The ARF, first meeting in 1994, provided a neutral diplomatic space through w hich regional security dialogue could take place, involving not only ASEAN members, but the wi 68 Gillian Goh, ‗The ‗ASEAN Way‘: Non-Intervention and ASEAN‘s Role in Conflict Management‘, Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs, pp.113-14. 73
    • der Asia Pacific region as a whole.69 The ‗ASEAN Way‘ has led to criticism of the ARF‘s lack of a central policy mechanism for addressing regional security issues, and that the group is little mo re than a ‗talking shop‘ with little real influence.70 There is, however, a silver lining to this cloud. The ASEAN Way is premised on an appro ach to diplomacy based on personal ties, trust, consultation and consensus without media scrutin y. In other words, ASEAN‘s diplomatic non-alignment and its Westphalian interpretation of state sovereignty reflect the grouping‘s potential influence as a neutral mediator between North Korea on the one hand, and the US and its allies, the ROK and Japan, on the other. Conversely, potentia lly controversial issues, such as human rights and governance, are addressed behind closed doors to avoid publicly embarrassing ASEAN members. Given the symbolic importance of Kim Il Sun g and his successors within the political psyche of the DPRK, having face-saving measures that a void public humiliation of the North Korean leadership is conducive to diplomacy. Although it would be necessary to avoid unnecessary extrapolation between Southeast As ia and Northeast Asia, there are grounds to argue that certain political, social and economic chara cteristics of ASEAN and its members‘ bilateral relations with Pyongyang are particularly appeali ng to the North Korean leadership. These will be examined in detail in the following two sections , in which we examine how the economic, social, political and security variables of ASEAN may help facilitate a soft landing for North Korea. IV. Economic / Social Pyongyang‟s Isolation In line with Stalinist economic orthodoxy, Pyongyang has a centrally planned economy dominated by an ideologically rigid political-military establishment, resulting in a skewed allocation of scarce national resources to weapons production. Furthermore, North Korea‘s Juche philosophy has led to a political structure aimed at seeking economic self-reliance through which the ‗undesirable‘ and ‗corrupting‘ influences of capitalism can be kept at bay. North Korea has thus repeatedly shunned participation in regional and international institutions. Combined with the inefficiency of a state-controlled economy, the result is that North Korea has, for many decades, faced severe food shortages. Moreover, like 1980s Vietnam, North Korea faces a high level of political isolation. Given their antagonistic relations, the US and ROK are unlikely to extend diplomatic recognition of the Pyongyang regime for the foreseeable future. Given that the track record of Pyongyang‘s poor relations with Seoul, Tokyo and Washington are likely to continue so long as the DPRK continues to seek a nuclear weapons program, it is unlikely that Pyongyang can expect an infusion of ROK, Japanese and US capital investment.71 Further highlighting the nature of North Korea‘s isolation is the increased alignment of Pyongyang‘s erstwhile patron states – China and Russia – increasingly in favor of the ROK. With the end of the Cold War, both Beijing and Moscow established relations with Seoul between 1990 and 1992. This is evident in the extent to which the DPRK‘s diplomatic isolation has 69 ‗About The ASEAN Regional Forum‘, website of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, http://aseanregionalforum.asean.org/about.html, accessed 10 November 2013. 70 ‗The Asean Talk Shop and US Engagement‘, Jakarta Post, 12 August 2011. 71 Benhan Limketkai, ‗Sino-DPRK Economic Relations: The China Model‘s Role in the Hermit Kingdom‘, 2007 SAIS US-Korea Yearbook, US-Korea Institute at The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, http://uskoreainstitute.org/academics/sais-us-korea-yearbook/2007-yearbook/part-ii-u-s-dprkrelations/, p.136, accessed 24 January 2013. 74
    • caused North Korea to emerge as the pariah state of the 21st century. Although North Korea had previously sought to adapt from China‘s model of economic reform, Pyongyang has become increasingly wary of the adaptability of the Chinese economic development model to the DPRK‘s circumstances. The sheer size of China‘s economy and population in turn meant a large critical mass of social and economic variables that fuelled China‘s integration into the world economy. Given the extent of China‘s economic transformation since Deng Xiaoping‘s early reforms, it is likely that the North Korean leadership views the PRC‘s model of economic development as entailing the likelihood of a process of economic reform that Pyongyang will have little control over. The DPRK leadership fears that undertaking too rapid a pace of economic reform runs the risk of undermining the regime‘s control over North Korean society. Moreover, much of the reason for the success of the Chinese economic model was Beijing‘s normalization of relations with the largest two economies in the world at the time, namely, the US and Japan, neither of which have any interest in investing in North Korea. The political and security dimensions of North Korea‘s relationship with China reflect even more reason for Pyongyang to distance itself from Beijing. As a result of how Pyongyang‘s nuclear and missile ambitions have aroused regional fears of nuclear arms race in the Asia Pacific region, Beijing has become increasingly wary of defending North Korea in international institutions at a time when China wants to become accepted as a stakeholder in international society. Beijing‘s support for UN sanctions following the 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests highlighted to Pyongyang the growing strains in their relations; moreover, one of the released Wiki leaks diplomatic cables in 2010 suggested that Beijing was prepared to abandon North Korea in order to stabilize China‘s strategic relationship with the US.72 Rather than rely on its increasingly frayed relationship with Beijing, and thus face a loss of political leverage vis-à-vis the US, it is apparent that the North Korean leadership is seeking alternate avenues to resume talks with Washington.73 Such a backdrop highlights an opportunity for ASEAN to take an increased role in contributing to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. There is evidence to suggest that there is growing North Korean interest from learning about the economic modernization strategies of ASEAN; moreover, the amicable diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and ASEAN members underlines the potential for an increased diplomatic role for ASEAN as a neutral third-party in facilitating contact with the other members of the Six Party Talks. Interviewed by the authors over email, Geoffrey See, the founder of the Singapore-based nonprofit Choson Exchange, highlighted The positive impression North Koreans have of ASEAN both as a developed region, the degree of government intervention in markets (e.g. public housing, healthcare and education), as well as [ASEAN‘s] perceived neutrality. ASEAN appeals to North Koreans because of the activist role the government plays in regulating the market and tackling market failures. We often hear 72 Simon Tisdall, Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea', Guardian, 29 November 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cables-china-reunified-korea, accessed 18 November 2013. 73 Jonathan B. Miller, ‗Leveraging ASEAN‘s Role on North Korean Denuclearization‘, Forbes, 23 July 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanmiller/2013/07/23/leveraging-aseans-role-in-north-korean-denuclearization/, accessed 10 November 2013. 75
    • North Koreans praising ASEAN‘s economic achievements in a short span of history ... North Koreans who take part in our programs in ASEAN are often awed by the developed cityscape, which makes them wonder what they can achieve if they take the right policies today. ASEAN is an appealing destination for North Koreans to study economic issues because there is significant government intervention in markets where there is a perceived market failure.‘74 Equally important is ASEAN‘s reputation for impartiality, in comparison to other institutions such as the United Nations (which had previously imposed sanctions on Pyongyang, currently headed by a ROK citizen) and the Six Party Talks (which have been dominated by the US, Japan and ROK). In contrast, ASEAN, having started out as a by-product of the NonAligned Movement, has a reputation for neutrality. This is further reflected in ASEAN‘s inclusion of members coming from a range of political backgrounds and ideologies, yet bound together by mutual respect. See thus noted that whilst While China and South Korea provide highly relevant lessons on economic development for the North, it [sic.] is also less desirable as places to study economics or business because of the ideological competition and their political involvement in the North. North Korea does not want to be seen as a satellite state of China. Claiming to borrow policy ideas from ASEAN does not come with the same political baggage, even if these are the same policies that China or South Korea has. The positive impression of ASEAN‘s neutrality is reinforced by the visa-free entry North Koreans enjoy when visiting ASEAN.75 Due to the constraints of space, it will not be practical to undertake a detailed analysis of every ASEAN members‘ bilateral relations with Pyongyang, hence this manuscript‘s focus on the DPRK‘s relations with Vietnam and Singapore as the two countries that North Korea has shown the most interest in, followed by an assessment of the potential future role that ASEAN as a whole may be able to exercise with regards to North Korea. Vietnam Given their shared communist ideology, North Korea and Vietnam historically enjoyed strong bilateral ties. Moreover, the attractiveness of the Đổi Mới approach to Pyongyang is apparent when we consider the background of Vietnam‘s experiment with economic development under authoritarian government control. In the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War, Hanoi was unable to attract foreign investment as a result of US sanctions. Under such circumstances, at the VI Party Congress in 1986, Hanoi unveiled the Đổi Mới (‗Renovation‘) program, which focused on agricultural reform to alleviate food shortages, alongside government support for small-scale production of free consumer goods. Further 74 75 Interview with Geoffrey See, by email, between 7 and 19 November 2013 Interview with See. 76
    • measures during the 1990s included the utilisation of free market measures and the encouragement of foreign direct investments in the country. The results were startling; interviewed by one of the authors in November 2013, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to Malaysia, Nguyen Hong Thao, noted that ‗before 1986, we were an impoverished country that had to import rice to feed our own people, but after the Đổi Mới, we have become the second largest exporter of rice after India ... We hope to achieve the status of developed nation by 2050.‘76 In 1993, 58.1% of Vietnam‘s population was in poverty; this figure was cut to 15.9% by 2006. 77 By 2010, Vietnam had emerged as the second-fastest growing economy in Asia. 78 Such startling figures have thus led to the Economist speculating that Vietnam will emerge as one of the ‗CIVETS‘ economies set to join the industrialised world by the mid-21st century.79 One key characteristic of Vietnam‘s implementation of Đổi Mới was the Hanoi‘s ability to maintain firm political control of the country whilst coordinating the direction and pace of economic modernization of the country. This stands in contrast to the rapid adoption of political as well as economic liberalization in Eastern Europe from 1985 through to the 1990s. Even with high levels of industrial development in the Communist states of Eastern Europe, the effects of sudden integration of the latter into a globalized world economy led to widespread chaos, rampant inflation and structural unemployment, in turn leading to social ills such as organized crime gangs, prostitution, drug trafficking and the emergence of far-right political parties. Given the comparatively low level of secondary and tertiary level industries in Vietnam, Hanoi evidently feared that such rapid integration into the globalized world economy would have left its local industries unable to compete. Ambassador Nguyen thus opined that During the implementation of Đổi Mới, we saw two possible patterns of economic development. The first of these was the rapid shift to a free market economy, the kind of perestroika approach adopted by Gorbachev. But look at what happened, with the chaos of Eastern Europe. We wanted to avoid that kind of chaos; we didn‘t want our country to collapse, so we decided on a step by step, gradual approach that prioritized raising the peoples‘ standards of living first.80 In this regard, the central role of the Communist Party of Vietnam in the administration of the country was crucial in enabling Hanoi to influence the direction of economic modernization 76 Interview with Professor in Law Nguyen Hong Thao, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Malaysia, 18 November 2013. 77 Dalila Cervantes Godoy and Joe Dewbre, ‗Economic Importance of Agriculture for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction: The Case Study of Vietnam‘, Global Forum on Agriculture, 29-30 November 2010, hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, www.oecd.org/agriculture/.../46378758.pdf, accessed 20 February 2013, p.19. 78 Michael Lee, ‗Vietnam Today‘s Second Fastest Growing Economy‘, Bulls and Bears Press, 4 November 2010, http://bullsbearspress.com/articles/239-vietnam-todays-second-fastest-growing-economy, accessed 10 November 2013, . 79 ‗The World in 2010: Predictions‘, The Economist, 26 November 2009, http://www.economist.com/blogs/theworldin2010/2009/11/acronyms_4, accessed 14 February 2013. 80 Interview with Ambassador Nguyen. 77
    • in the country through state-owned enterprises (SOEs).81 This in turn enabled the Vietnamese Government to address the more pressing concerns of the people, such as food shortages, living standards and consumer goods ahead of political liberalization. Ambassador Nguyen thus noted that this was an advantage, in that we could regulate which sector of the economy we could focus on, one stage at a time … we operated on the basis of annual plans, which was agreed to by our National Assembly for implementation … Particularly encouraging in this sense is our increasing shift from the big companies to encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs).82 This backdrop suggests that Pyongyang has reason to view Vietnam‘s experience as encompassing elements that can be adapted to suit the DPRK. Bearing in mind the North Korean leadership‘s obsession with regime survival, the DPRK is doubtless attracted to the idea of adapting from Vietnam‘s Đổi Mới experiment, given that Hanoi has been able to undertake economic reform whilst retaining firm control of the country. It is apparent that reformers in Pyongyang view Đổi Mới as a model for reform for gradual revitalization of the North Korean economy that can be feasibly undertaken whilst avoiding a conservative backlash. 83 Moreover, given that both Pyongyang and Hanoi had fought against a common enemy, namely, the US, it is apparent that Pyongyang has drawn inspiration from the fact that the Vietnamese triumphed over the US military and achieved Vietnamese sovereignty on Hanoi‘s terms. Given the DPRK‘s frequent diatribes against the ‗imperialist‘ US military presence in Northeast Asia, the symbolic importance of an Asian nation that was able to oust the United States from its territory is presumably of great significance to Pyongyang. Taken together, it is probable that the DPRK views the Vietnamese Đổi Mới approach one that would enable Pyongyang to achieve economic development without risking regime collapse. It is thus notable that the period since 2007 has seen increasing numbers of North Korean trade delegations visiting Hanoi. Such developments were particularly interesting given that, from 1996 until 2007, there had been virtually no trade between North Korea and Vietnam. 84 Particularly interesting was the August 2012 visit by North Korean Prime Minister Kim Yong Nam to Hanoi in August 2012, during which he affirmed how ‗the achievements [Vietnam] had made in socioeconomic development and national construction were an encouragement to [North Korea] in its national construction and development process.‘85 This is further evident in North Korea‘s interest in sending students from the prestigious Kim Il-sung University to Vietnam on August 2012, presumably to learn more from Hanoi‘s efforts at modernization. 81 Bill Hayton, Vietnam: Rising Dragon (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010), pp.17-23. Interview with Ambassador Nguyen. 83 ‗North Korea looks to Vietnam for inspiration‘, Deutsche Welle, 11 January 2013, http://www.dw.de/north-korealooks-to-vietnam-for-inspiration/a-16514014, accessed 10 October 2013. 84 ‗Vietnam Communist Party chief visits North Korea‘, Reuters, 15 October 2007, http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/10/16/us-korea-north-vietnam-idUSHAN14549720071016, accessed 31 January 2013; Nga Pham, ‗Vietnam 'key for N Korea reform‘, BBC, 30 October 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7068188.stm, accessed 31 January 2013. 85 ‗N. Korea Praises Vietnamese, Chinese Reforms‘, Chosun Ilbo, 10 August 2012, http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/08/10/2012081000929.html, accessed 22 February 2013. 82 78
    • Singapore Alongside North Korea‘s apparent interest in learning from Vietnam‘s Đổi Mới is Pyongyang‘s concurrent interest in Singapore. Such a comparison may seem surprising at first glance, given the extent of the latter‘s capitalist economic model and globalised economy, and the fact that Singapore is an ally of the US. Yet, closer scrutiny points to certain characteristics of the ‗Singapore Model‘ that apparently appeal to the North Korean leadership. In spite of the close relations between Singapore and the US, Kim Il Sung himself had apparently called for his subordinates to ‗work with and learn from Singapore. It is a good country, even though it is an ally of the USA‘. 86 This is further underscored by a number of interesting socio-economic parallels between 1980s Vietnam and 1960s Singapore. Whilst post-1975 Vietnam had to contend with the devastation of war and political antagonism with both China and the US, tiny, resource-poor Singapore had to overcome 1960s diplomatic isolation and built a formidable export-oriented economy from scratch. Herein, the authoritarian nature of Lee Kuan Yew‘s People‘s Action Party (PAP) paralleled the control enjoyed by the Vietnamese Communist Party in ensuring the political continuity of the ruling party in both countries, thereby leading to a politically stable environment conducive for foreign investment amidst the uncertainty of the decolonized world. Moreover, having enabled Singapore to achieve a ‗First World‘ economy by the 1990s, Singapore began offering its own experience to Beijing, as reflected in the numerous meetings between Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiao Ping, along with the PRC‘s establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with capital from Singapore. These parallels suggest that North Korea may be attempting to borrow ideas from Deng Xiaoping‘s economic mentor. The basic foundation for North Korea to learn from Singapore is already in place, given that DPRK citizens can enter Singapore visa-free, and that North Korea has an embassy in Singapore. Within North Korea itself, China‘s Shenzhen SEZ has inspired similar North Korean endeavors, such as the Rason SEZ on the DPRK‘s borders with China and Russia. It is particularly notable that in 2011, North Korea began infrastructure upgrades in the Rason SEZ in the name of turning the region into the ‗next Singapore‘ – in other words, a Northeast Asian regional transportation hub. 87 Given increasing Chinese investment in Jilin Province across the border as well as concurrent Russian interest in economic revitalization of its Far East, 88 successful development of the Rason SEZ as based on China‘s adaptation of the Singaporean model of economic modernization would enable Pyongyang to attempt a manufacturing and export sector that sustains regime survival.89 Furthermore, given Singapore‘s ambition to promote itself as the ‗Switzerland of Asia‘ in combining diplomatic neutrality alongside a booming banking sector, 90 there is increasing North 86 Cited in Andray Abrahamian, ‗Singapore as an Aspirational Platform: The City State‘s Role and Potential in DPRK Capacity Building‘, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing with North Korea: Past Successes and Future Prospects, hosted by Kyungnam University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 12 June 2013, p.92. 87 ‗Up Next for Changjitu: Hunchun‘, Website of the Chosun Exchange, 14 October 2013, http://chosonexchange.org/?p=2262, accessed 16 November 2013. 88 ‗North Korea, Russia to start cross-border freight train service in October‘, 2 April, 2012, Chosun Ilbo, 2 April, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr, accessed 16 April, 2012. 89 Kate Whitehead, ‗Things are Brewing in North Korea‘s Rason Zone‘, Forbes Asia, 20 November 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesasia/2013/11/20/things-are-brewing-in-north-koreas-rason-zone/, accessed 21 November 2013. 90 ‗Singapore‘s Fort Knox for fine art and collectibles‘, Singapore Government Customs Office, 79
    • Korean interest in Singapore as a safe haven for the DPRK leadership‘s financial assets. In 2006, the US Treasury Department had applied targeted sanctions against North Korea‘s assets with the Banco Delta Asia in Macau. Given that the North Korean leadership sees it scarce holdings of foreign exchange as crucial for the purpose of buying luxury goods in its implementation of Songum (and hence secure the DPRK military‘s loyalty), the DPRK apparently came to the conclusion that it needed a politically stable safe haven for its financial assets, given that China has closed its door to the North Korean Foreign Trade Bank. Thus, as early as 2006, Pyongyang had begun attempts to transfer its offshore financial assets to Singapore.91 Of equal interest to North Korea has been the symbolic importance of successful rapid modernization by a government which has simultaneously rejected Western-styled liberal democracy. Singapore‘s joining the ranks of the newly-industrialized world during the 1990s placed it under the international spotlight over the country‘s continuing high levels of censorship – a contrast further accentuated by the democratic transition of the ROK and Taiwan during the same period. Yet, in spite of international criticism of its high levels of censorship, Lee Kuan Yew (who, after retiring in 1990, continued to serve as ‗Senior Minister‘) and his successor, Goh Chok Tong, successfully advocated the place of ‗Asian values‘ in the Singaporean context. Although the precise tenets of ‗Asian values‘ remain heavily debated, most studies indicate that the Singapore Government operates on principles derived in part from the Confucian precepts embraced by the majority ethnic Chinese population in Singapore. Singapore‘s conception of ‗Asian Values‘ calls for the willingness of the people to make sacrifices for their nation and acceptance of a strong, centralized government that will not bow down to other countries on domestic issues, even in the face of contrary public opinion from Western-dominated human rights circles. 92 This was demonstrated by Singapore‘s caning of American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism in 1994. Washington‘s outcry was rebuffed by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore on the grounds that Singapore, as a sovereign state, did not intend to kowtow to US public opinion. Furthermore, whilst admitting to the harshness of the sentence meted out to Fay, the Singapore Government emphasized that such tough sentences were necessary to deter similar crimes from occurring – in other words, the right of society to be free from future criminal acts trumps the human rights of the individual. As with Vietnam‘s successful defiance of American power, Singapore‘s rebuff against US interference in its internal affairs is doubtless assuring to the North Korean leadership, in light of Washington‘s continuing criticisms of the DPRK‘s human rights record.93 Further underlining ASEAN‘s potential to take an increased role in North Korean capacity building is reflected in the activities of the Singapore-based non-profit organization, the Choson Exchange, established in early 2012 by Singaporean Geoffrey See, who voiced his hope that his program would help ‗North Korea integrate with the rest of the world‘.94 Although not linked to the Singapore Government, the location of the Choson Exchange in Singapore reflects http://www.customs.gov.sg/insync/Issue09/features/freeport.html, accessed 18 November 2013. 91 ―Singapore: N. Korea‘s New Money Haven,‖ Donga Ilbo, August 5, 2006, http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=060000&biid=2006080539518, accessed 26 October 2012. 92 Xu Xiaoge, Demystifying Asian Values in Journalism, (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2005), p10. 93 Abrahamian, ‗Singapore as an Aspirational Platform. 94 Geoffrey See, cited in ‗North Koreans are visiting Singapore – whither the 'hermit' kingdom?, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 September 2013 http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2013/0918/North-Koreans-are-visiting-Singapore-whither-thehermit-kingdom, accessed 17 October 2013. 80
    • ASEAN‘s potential role in enabling non-governmental organizations to encourage grassrootslevel economic capacity-building for North Korea. Decades of Cold War mentality have caused the people of North Korea to develop a deeply internalized ‗siege mentality‘, defunct infrastructure, minimal commercial relations with the international community, along with inability to understand the need for personal initiative and business management skills– all key elements in running an effective export-oriented economy. Under such circumstances, the programs hosted by the Chosun Exchange offer the potential to increase interactions between DPRK citizens and the international community. This in turn may enable the next generation of North Korean technocrats and officials the prospect of better understanding the rest of the world and the best ways to integrate their country into the world economy.95 Such ambitions are the apparent objective of the Choson Exchange. Interviewed by the authors in November 2013, See described his organization‘s focus on High-potential young professionals in the DPRK, defined as North Koreans between 20 and 40 years old, with at least 2 years of working experience. Typically, we run 2-3 day workshops in North Korea on economics, business or legal training during which we select participants for overseas study trip of anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks … we interview and competitively select participants to take part in our overseas programs, and have a 10-15% selectivity ratio out of the 250+ participants who have attended our workshops in North Korea this year. Out of this pool, we interview participants and collect personal statements and select the best candidates … Generally, we look for initiative, leadership skills, a track record and entrepreneurial ambitions among our interviewees.96 The importance of grassroots capacity building with the help of such non-government organizations as the Choson Exchange cannot be underestimated. Given the sanctions faced by North Korea and low levels of purchasing power by the average DPRK citizen, North Korea is of little interest to large multinational corporations as a destination for investment. Rather, there are grounds to argue that encouraging the emergence of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is the key to improving living standards in the country. Ambassador Nguyen‘s emphasis on the role of SMEs in stimulating economic growth has been quoted above; See voiced similar sentiment to the authors, noting that since mid-2013, he had been undertaking efforts to Directly address the issue of capital shortage for would-be entrepreneurs. I have also been piloting an incubator program meant to provide seed capital to start-ups or small but growing businesses. We believe that the emerging small and medium size business sector, which has private characteristics, is key to improving people‘s living standards.97 95 Website of Choson Exchange, http://chosonexchange.org/, accessed 25 February 2013. Interview with See. 97 Interview with See. 96 81
    • In this regard, certain sectors of the North Korean economy bear some resemblance to the Vietnamese Government‘s ability to coordinate the direction of economic modernization in its implementation of Đổi Mới. See noted that There exist [sic.] a segment of North Korean companies that are essentially private businesses. These companies are nominally state-owned: their owners pay a fee or a share of profit to their parent government agency. In all other aspects, the company manager decides how to run the company and keeps a significant share of the profits … Some of these companies have revenues of over $1M per annum, and are able to invest in growing their businesses. This sector will provide the basis for North Korea‘s transition into a mixed economy, and will help absorb the labor that will come from layoffs at inefficient state enterprises.98 In light of the extent of North Korea‘s state-controlled industries, the potential extent of economic dislocation that would result from a DPRK economic transition is doubtless of great concern to Pyongyang. As with the contribution of Vietnam‘s SMEs to Đổi Mới, such SMEs can function as ‗halfway houses‘ for the purpose of retraining North Korean workers to adapt to a changing economic landscape. V. Political / Security The emerging North Korean interest in adapting from the experiences of Singapore and V ietnam thus reflects the underutilized potential of ASEAN as a diplomatically neutral, yet increasingly prosperous, institution t hat has the potential to take an increased role in influencing events on the Korean Peninsula. In 2 010, twoway trade between ASEAN members and the ROK totaled US$97.2B, and has continued to grow since the 2010 ASEANROK Free Trade Area Agreement; at present, Seoul is ASEAN‘s 5th largest trading partner, and A SEAN is the ROK‘s 2nd largest trading partner. In light of the importance of the ROK as a trading partner, all ASEAN member countries desire denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. This is f urther affirmed by the fact that a key element of ASEAN‘s identity is the Bangkok Treaty of 199 5, affirming the Southeast Asian region as a nuclear weapons free zone. Conversely, North Korea too enjoys good diplomatic relations with ASEAN member cou ntries. DPRK nationals do not require a visa to enter ASEAN member countries. Conversel y, Malaysia is the only country in the world whose citizens do not require a visa to enter North K orea. Moreover, with direct air links from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Pyongyang, the Malaysian Government has been a regular contributor to humanitarian aid to North Korea. 99 Eve 98 Interview with See Equally interesting was DPRK Prime Minister‘s visit to Kuala Lumpur on 30 October 2007; see Zhang Liangui, ‗North Korea Hugs the World‘, Beijing Review, 16 November 2007, http://www.bjreview.com/print/txt/200711/16/content_86274.htm, accessed 26 October 2012. 99 82
    • n though Thailand and the Philippines contributed troops to the UN coalition during the Korean War, this has not stopped Pyongyang from establishing diplomatic relations with Bangkok and M anila. Rather, given the ASEAN Way of non-interference in one another‘s internal affairs, the DP RK does not fear ASEAN as a challenger to its human rights record. Further underlining Pyongy ang‘s perception of ASEAN member countries as friendly states that are not conducive to politica l defections by its citizens is the existence of several North Korean communities in various parts of Southeast Asia. Several branches of the government-owned ‗Pyongyang Café‘ restaurant chain are located in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Thailand, and have facilitated many reunions betw een families separated by the Korean War. Such a starting point holds some promise for ASEAN to take an increased role with regar d to the Korean Peninsula as a neutral facilitator of diplomatic contact between North Korea and the outside world. Thus far, there has been no ASEAN mechanism for the formulation of security and diplomatic policy. Yet, given that ASEAN itself remains a work in progress, there are grounds that ASEAN can take an increased security and political role in promoting security in the Asia Pacific region. Moreover, the basic infrastructure to facilitate an increased role for ASEAN is already in place. In 1994, ASEAN declared that political and security matters in the Asia Pacific would be discussed and addressed through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The ARF, which has 27 members (including all the members of the Six Party Talks, which participate in ARF Summits on a regular basis), envisaged itself as a neutral institution through which preventive diplomacy and confidence building measures could function to enhance political and security dialogue and thereby strengthen regional peace and security. It is notable that, in contrast to the ‗on-off-on-off‘ pattern of the Six Party Talks, the ARF has maintained continuous dialogue with Pyongyang. In other words, ASEAN is the link between the DPRK and members o f the Six Party Talks. Away from the media spotlight dominated by Washington, the ARF has the potential to function as the unsung hero that helps facilitate international efforts to promote regio nal peace, not through threats of sanctions and high-profile military exercises (which have, for th e most past, resulted in increased DPRK defiance), but through neutrality, diplomatic sensitivity and face-saving measures that can pave the way for rapprochement between regional rivals. As such, ASEAN can be seen as an under-utilized ‗honest broker‘ capable of bringing all members of the Six Party Talks together. Herein, one notes the track record of the members of the Six Party Talks establishing contact or floating diplomatic proposals with one another on the sidelines of the ARF. During the ARF Summit in July 2000, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was able to hold an impromptu press conference with her DPRK counterpart, Paek Nam-Sun, in affirming Washington‘s hope to pursue a ‗promising approach to resolving differences and establishing common ground.‘100 Albright‘s attempt at outreach was in turn followed up by the exchange of high-level envoys between Washington and Pyongyang in October 2000 that culminated in the signing of the US-DPRK Joint Communiqué. Although tensions re-emerged in subsequent USNorth Korean relations over the DPRK‘s Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) program, it appears that this had more to do with a lack of diplomatic finesse on the part of the Bush Administration.101 100 Madeleine Albright, cited in Press Stakeout Following Bilateral Meeting With DPRK Foreign Minister Paek, 28 J uly 2000, http://fas.org/news/dprk/2000/dprk-000728.htm , a c c e s s e d 2 8 J u n e 2 0 0 7; see also ‗Albright Meets North Korean but Learns Little About Missile Plans‟, New York Times, 29 July 2000. 101 North Korea, for its part, apparently undertook the HEU program to retaliate against the Clinton Administration‘s 83
    • Set against this backdrop, an increased ASEAN role via the ARF in the implementation of CSBMs between North Korea and the international community can help to not only sustain the process of diplomatic engagement with the DPRK whilst strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Given that a key component of ASEAN‘s identity is the promotion of a nuclear-weapons free zone in the Asia Pacific, the ARF serves as an excellent setting for the organization to take a larger role in addressing North Korea‘s nuclear ambitions. The international membership of the ARF enables it to convene meetings and negotiations at every ARF meeting, not only with North Korea, but also with members of the Six Party Talks. The ARF also provides North Korea the opportunity to negotiate economic and diplomatic issues with 27 countries simultaneously, a feat that isolated Pyongyang cannot achieve on its own. More importantly, ASEAN's aspiration to develop the regional security architecture through the ARF would also enable it to counterbalance against the preponderant influences of China and the US in inter-Korean issues. Moreover, in light of the foray by the Choson Exchange into introducing DPRK citizens to the world of the international, globalised economy, the grouping‘s good relations with Pyongyang offer a wide range of channels through which ASEAN institutions as well as members can adopt an increased role in assisting in North Korean capacity building to initiate and sustain internal reform. The presence of several hundred North Korean students and entrepreneurs in Bangkok,102 and the recent conclusion of agreements between North Korea and Laos in the areas of information technology and education,103 suggest a North Korean strategy aimed at strengthening cooperation with ASEAN countries. Conversely, there is clear recognition amongst ASEAN members that the organization should increase its purview beyond its past focus on Southeast Asian affairs. In October 2008, the ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-Sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy in Singapore in October 2008 envisaged ASEAN addressing non-traditional security issues such as ‗climate change, food and energy security ... and natural disasters ... [that] pose serious threats to regional security.‘ 104 Similarly, the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in December 2008 sought an ‗ASEAN Community by 2015‘ that sought to promote a ‗genuinely people-oriented community.‘105 Such an increased role for ASEAN in North Korean capacity building can take many forms. One possibility is to follow the lead taken by the Choson Exchange in undertaking social enterprise and education projects that provide business skills and experience to DPRK citizens. By facilitating human development in business management skills, such an Endeavour may lead to a new generation of North Korean technocrats able to promote the emergence of an exportdriven industry that raises living standards. Furthermore, in light of North Korea‘s under- slow implementation of the 1994 Agreed Framework. 102 ‗Thailand faces dilemma with North Korean refugees‘, The Nation, 6 November 2006, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/11/06/opinion/opinion_30018147.php, accessed 26 October 2012. 103 ‗Laos, DPRK enhance cooperation‘, Laos News Agency, 8 August 2012, http://www.kpl.net.la/english/news/newsrecord/2012/Aug/08.8.2012/edn1.htm, accessed 10 October 2013. 104 Co-Chairs‘ Summary Report, ‗ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-Sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy‘, Singapore, 8 – 10 October 2008, http://aseanregionalforum.asean.org/files/lib rary/ARF%20Chairman%27s%20Statements%20and%20Reports/The%20Sixteenth%20ASEAN%20Regional%20F orum,%202008-2009/Co-Chairs_Summary_Report_-_ARF_ISG__final__15_Oct.pdf, accessed 11 November 2013. 105 Chairman‗s Statement of the 14th ASEAN Summit, ‗ASEAN Charter for ASEAN Peoples‗, Cha-am, 28 February - 1 March 2009, http://www.aseansec.org/22389.htm, accessed 11 November 2009. 84
    • developed infrastructure and recurrent food shortages, ASEAN can join other international organizations, such as the United Nations Development Program, the Food and Agricultural Organization, United Nations Children‘s Fund, World Health Organization and World Food Program in offering food, financial and developmental aid. Given that the latter is humanitarian in nature, such efforts can have the effect of saving lives. Given that the European Union already has consultancy offices in Pyongyang involved in the distribution of humanitarian aid, ASEAN doing likewise can enhance the role of international institutions in North Korea. VI. Conclusion Even whilst highlighting ASEAN‘s potential role in North Korean capacity-building, it is, however, necessary to qualify the extent to which ASEAN can influence Korean Peninsula affairs, both as an institution, as well as in the bilateral relations between ASEAN members and Pyongyang. It should be remembered that ASEAN, as a regional grouping, does not have the type of centralized diplomatic policymaking mechanism that has characterized other groupings such as the European Union. In this regard, ASEAN members have been known to use their membership of the grouping in line with their own national interests, rather than ASEAN‘s collective interest. This has been illustrated with ASEAN‘s inability to reach a diplomatic consensus in response to China‘s growing assertiveness in laying claim to the disputed Spratly Islands, most notably since July 2012 when China announced its plans to deploy a garrison to the Spratly Islands.106 In spite of its chairmanship of ASEAN, Cambodia has blocked efforts by other ASEAN members to reach a Joint Communiqué asserting the grouping‟s opposition to China‟s plan to deploy military forces to the Spratley Islands. Given that China has steadily increased economic aid to Cambodia in recent years, the Vietnamese and Filipino Governments have claimed that China had bought Cambodia off into accepting a pro-Chinese position on the Spratly Islands.107 Given that the tenets of the ASEAN Way are likely to remain strong for the foreseeable future, the absence of a centralized policymaking mechanism in the grouping may complicate attempts at reaching a regional consensus on increasing ASEAN‟s role on the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, the extent to which Vietnam and Singapore can influence North Korean economic reform has to be qualified. Ambassador Nguyen noted that, even with the DPRK‘s efforts to establish more SEZs, the end-result of North Korean attempts at modernization ‗will depend on the extent of the North Korean leadership‘s willpower to implement economic reform.‘108 In a similar light, in 2013, a US Government official opined to the authors that the Korean and Vietnam Wars were two totally different conflicts, with totally different root causes. More to the point is the aspect of North Korea‘s nuclear weapons program that is a security threat not only to ourselves, but also our allies in the ROK and Japan.‘ 109 In other words, Vietnam‘s support for the NPT has enabled it to participate in the globalised world economy; in contrast, given that North Korea‘s Pyongjin strategy envisages continued work on developing its nuclear and missile programs, the available avenues through which foreign investment can enter North Korea will remain limited for the foreseeable future. Given that the nuclear status of North 106 Jane Perlez, ‗China Sends Troops to Disputed Islands‘, New York Times, 23 July 2012. Luke Hunt, ‗Cambodian Ambassador Packs for Home‘, The Diplomat, 10 August 2012. 108 Interview with Ambassador Nguyen. 109 US Government Official, 2013. 107 85
    • Korea presents a direct security concern for the ROK, Japan and the US, the Six Party Talks will remain the primary forum for bringing North Korea in line with the NPT. The extent to which North Korea can borrow ideas for economic modernization from Singapore also has to be qualified, given the starkly different levels of economic development and transparency between Singapore and North Korea. At the time of its independence in 1965, Singapore had a number of advantages, including the superpower patronage of both the UK and US, its location on the vital maritime shipping lanes between Europe and Asia, and a skilled, literate working population. Isolated diplomatically as well as geographically, North Korea has few of these variables in its favor. Rather, a North Korean attempt to reform itself along the lines of 1960s Singapore is very likely to lead to the regime‘s vulnerability to external economic forces as well as the emergence of a civil society that questions the legitimacy of the Kim Jong Un regime. Seen in this light, the authors conclude that ASEAN‘s role with regard to North Korea should neither be seen as irrelevant, nor as dominant. Rather, the authors contend that there is significant potential for expanding ASEAN‘s role in contributing towards peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula in a number of indirect ways. In light of the ASEAN Way of noninterference in others internal affairs, it is evident that the North Korean leadership has less reason to fear ASEAN-styled economic development as a ‗Trojan Horse‘.110 Rather, the good bilateral relations between ASEAN members and Pyongyang can help facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills that enable the emergence of an export-oriented economy in the DPRK, with a possible ‗trickle-down‘ effect that improves living standards in North Korea. Moreover, at the institutional level, cooperation between North Korea and ASEAN can build on existing frameworks, in particular the ARF. Given that ASEAN‘s overall diplomatic position has been one of neutrality, the grouping is well-placed to facilitate third-party mediation in sustaining the process of US and ROK engagement with North Korea. To date, ASEAN has become an ‗institutionalized meeting point‘ for big powers to discuss the issue of denuclearization with North Korea. In so doing, ASEAN is contributing to preventive diplomacy by mitigating instability arising from the leadership transition in North Korea. In the long run, given appropriate backup from all regional power brokers, ASEAN could even play a larger role and become a complimentary force to the Six Party Talks if it is prepared to create a sub-group for the Inter-sessional Support Group Meeting on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy and/or establish a particular working group to discuss denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. 111 Having already shown interests in the various economic models in Southeast Asia, the creation of ASEAN working groups to discuss denuclearization might be welcomed by the political and military establishments in Pyongyang as an alternate but not mutually exclusive arrangement to resolve the North Korean denuclearization. 110 The North Korean Government has repeatedly accused US and ROK offers of economic and humanitarian aid as a ‗Horse of Troy‘, within which Washington and Seoul are really attempting to undertake regime change against Pyongyang. 111 Jonathan B. Miller, ‗Leveraging ASEAN's Role on North Korean Denuclearization‘, Forbes, 23 July 2013. 86
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