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North Korea - prospects for peace. Tim Beal Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand United Nations Association, Wellington Thurs 12 July 2007. Setting the scene. Thanks Title Why not US: Prospects for Peace? A brace of characters. This (real) gentleman.

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North korea prospects for peace

North Korea - prospects for peace

Tim Beal

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

United Nations Association, Wellington

Thurs 12 July 2007


Setting the scene

Setting the scene

  • Thanks

  • Title

    • Why not US: Prospects for Peace?

  • A brace of characters

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


This real gentleman

This (real) gentleman

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Met a fictitious one in 1757

Met a fictitious one in 1757

  • The occasion?

  • Admiral John Byng’s execution

  • Fictitious one: Voltaire’s Candide

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


John byng and candide

John Byng and Candide

  • Byng is executed

    • in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others

  • Byng was not close enough to the French fleet, but Candide asked

    • Weren’t the French as far from the English, as the English from the French?

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Us nk us

US - NK – US

  • Just as NK is as far from US as US is from NK, so negotiation has two sides

  • Media exclusively focuses on denuclearisation of NK

  • What does NK think?

  • Two aspects

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Nk on denuclearisation

NK on denuclearisation

  • Not just NK but SK and other countries (i.e. US) in respect of Korean peninsula

    • US nuclear weapons in SK land and waters, and long-range weapons elsewhere

  • Nuclear programme to

    • Deter US from attack

    • Force US to drop ‘hostility’

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Hostility

Hostility

  • NK wants US to accept peaceful coexistence

  • Lift sanctions

    • Large responsibly for devastation of economy

      • Hundreds of thousands of deaths

      • Malnutrition

      • Barrier to rehabilitation and development

  • In effect, adhere to UN charter

  • Let us ask Candidian awkward questions

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


The importance of questions

The importance of questions

  • Often it is the asking of questions that is important

    • The answer falls into place

  • Similar to the little boy observing that the emperor was naked

  • Power does not like questions

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


The portrayal of things

The portrayal of things

  • Events and issues are often portrayed as if the received interpretation is unquestionable

  • Vital to ask ‘naive’ questions

  • Such as?

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Examples

Examples

  • Which country threatens peace, NK or US?

  • Which country threatens the other, NK or US?

  • Does US have a moral right to nuclear weapons denied to NK?

  • If we are concerned about nuclear weapons, should we not look at the country which has 10,000 rather than the country which has none?

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


In this spirit let us examine some issues

In this spirit let us examine some issues

  • NK, US and the UN

    • NK Missile tests July 2006

    • NK Nuclear test October 2006

    • US allegations about UNDP in NK January 2007

  • BDA affair

  • Agreement of 13 February 2007

  • Prospects for peace

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Forthcoming article

Forthcoming article

  • December issue of NZ Journal of Asian Studies

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Tests resolutions

Tests >resolutions

  • Both sets of tests led to ‘unanimous’ condemnatory resolutions, imposing sanctions

  • Unanimous is misleading

  • Opposition from China and Russia but veto is out of fashion

  • Water down and then often ignore

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


South korea

South Korea

  • Also opposed but

    • Does not have a veto

    • Cannot openly defy US

  • Caught in dilemma and does contradictory things

  • Eg suspends aid but continues Kaesong Industrial Complex

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Missile tests

Missile tests

  • July 2006 >>Japanese sponsored resolution 1695

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Candide would be bemused

Candide would be bemused

  • Reaffirming that proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

  • Why ‘proliferation’ rather than ‘possession’

    • Once you ask the question you know the answer

    • US possesses, US enemies proliferate

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Why concern at nk ballistic missiles

Why concern at NK ballistic missiles?

  • Expressing grave concern at the launch of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), given the potential of such systems to be used as a means to deliver nuclear, chemical or biological payloads,

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Candide s questions

Candide’s questions

  • Don’t all missiles (even US ones) have this potential?

  • Why specify ‘ballistic missiles’ rather than missiles?

    • NK missiles are ballistic, US tends to employ non-ballistic (i.e. cruise) missiles

    • Britain alone has up to 2000 Storm Shadow and unknown number of Tomahawks

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Moratorium

Moratorium

  • Registering profound concern at the DPRK’s breaking of its pledge to maintain its moratorium on missile launching,

  • Wasn’t this moratorium (Clinton 1999) self-imposed and contingent on US negotiations on issue continuing?

    • Bush had broken off negotiations

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Missile tests1

Missile tests

  • Not illegal

  • Very common

  • For instance in period June-November 2006 many countries conducted tests of long range missiles

    • Minor tests and exercises not reported

      • Unless NK…

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Tests

Tests

  • France

  • India

  • Pakistan

  • Russia

  • US

    • 3 tests of Minuteman missiles across Pacific

  • UK

    • No major tests but decided to replace Trident

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


October nuclear test

October nuclear test

  • UN condemnation replicated double standards of July

  • US currently does not conduct physical tests but may return to it

  • Developing new generation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems

    • Policy of first use

  • And the track record…

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Purpose of nk tests

Purpose of NK tests

  • Force US back into negotiations

    • In abeyance because of BDA affair

  • Combined with other factors was successful

    • Middle East

    • Mid-term elections

  • Negotiations were resumed and this led to Agreement of 13 February 2007

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Bda and undp affairs

BDA and UNDP affairs

  • This agreement was to implement the initial stages of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005

  • JS had been suspended by the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) affair

  • In Sept 2005 US Treasury designated BDA as a ‘primary money laundering concern’ under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Bda charges

BDA charges

  • Treasury claimed that BDA was laundering ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ for NK

    • Drugs, counterfeit cigarettes, counterfeit currency

  • Produced no evidence, even in private to SK or China

  • Audit by Ernst & Young cleared BDA

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Reasons for bda action

Reasons for BDA action

  • Derail Joint Statement/ Six Party Talks

  • Warning or test against China

    • Exercise of extraterritoriality against Chinese bank on Chinese territory

  • Practice at using Patriot Act against other enemies eg Iran

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Effect of bda

Effect of BDA

  • Froze $25m NK money in BDA accounts

  • More important, expelled NK from international banking system

    • ‘financial sanctions’

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Treasury state conflict

Treasury/State conflict

  • From late 2006 to date there has been a battle between Treasury and State

  • Rice apparently got Bush’s agreement to negotiate with NK and lift financial sanctions

  • Talks in Berlin January 2007>>Agreement of 13 February

    • Financial sanctions to be lifted in 30 days

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Treasury down but not out

Treasury down but not out

  • Treasury forced to unfreeze accounts but barred BDA from US banking system

    • Ensuring sanctions remained

  • Four months struggle by State to lift sanctions so Agreement could go ahead

  • Successful?

    • For the moment yes…

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Meanwhile undp affair

Meanwhile, UNDP affair

  • January 2007 Deputy U.S. Ambassador to UN Mark Wallace alleged that NK was diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from UNDP operations there

    • Also complained that UNDP was paying local staff in hard currency

  • Wallace

    • Protégé of John Bolton

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Undp rebuts charges

UNDP rebuts charges

  • If it paid in won it would need to buy that with hard currency, so effect would be the same

  • It was only spending a few million in NK each year

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Ban ki moon

Ban Ki-moon

  • Ban widely seen as ”America’s man” immediately order external audits on UN operation in NK

  • 1 June Ban announces audit clears UNDP

  • US returns to attack with fresh charges

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Charges flimsy

Charges flimsy

  • One was NK had spent money on embassy property abroad at same time as UNDP had been spending money in NK

    • But currency is fungible

  • ‘To Mr. Wallace’s charge that the program had transferred $7 million to its counterpart agency in the North Korean government, the program said that the amount actually had been $175,000 and that most of it had gone for workshops on vegetable growing and seed processing ‘

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Even ridiculous

Even ridiculous

  • Most risible was complaint that UNDP had funded a project on arms control and disarmament, and supplied books

  • The one the Americans singled out was…

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


End of western civilization

End of Western civilization?

  • Jacques E. C. Hymans

    • Smith College, Massachusetts

  • Cambridge University Press

    • £17.99

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Prospects for peace

Prospects for peace

  • Positions of governments

  • Power of governments

    • Rogue elements

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Japan

Japan

  • Wants crisis to continue in order to facilitate remilitarisation (and perhaps nuclearisation)

  • Uses ‘abduction issue’

    • NK wants Japan out of Six Party Talks

    • SK, (Russia, China) and even Rice have expressed annoyance at Japanese

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


China and russia

China and Russia

  • Want peaceful resolution

  • Want NK to survive and thrive

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

SK

  • Wants peaceful resolution

  • Wants NK to survive, develop and eventually unify with SK

  • Even opposition GNP softening its line on NK

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

NK

  • Peaceful coexistence with US

    • Removal of US military threat

  • Lifting of sanctions and barriers to economic development

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

US

  • Much more difficult to pin down

  • Ambivalent, incoherent, fluctuating

    • Depends on who has bush’s ear at any particular time

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Power of governments

Power of governments

  • Unlikely that there are ‘rogue elements’ to disrupt policy

    • China, Russia (for war)

    • Japan (for peace)

  • However Abe unpopular and Upper House election 29 July

  • The Koreas?

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

NK

  • No doubt some/many in military would prefer present situation to continue or are worried about danger of détente

    • Giving up nuclear deterrent is no easy thing

      • Cf discussion in Britain

  • No sign of effective opposition to Kim Jong Il

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Kim jong il

Kim Jong Il

  • How long will he continue?

  • 65

  • Reports of bad health - diabetes, heart disease, operations

  • However, photo of meeting with Chinese FM on 3 July indicates he is well, and has lost weight

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Kim and chinese fm yang jiechi

Kim and Chinese FM Yang Jiechi

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


South korea1

South Korea

  • Military is strong but western observers discount possibility of coup

    • Incidents may be another matter

  • Defusing of tension will disadvantage right in forthcoming Presidential elections

  • Roh keep to have a summit with Kim

    • Rumour that Kim will soon visit Kaesong

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


United states

United States

  • Bush and ‘Strategic incoherence’

  • Who speaks for US government

    • State or Treasury?

    • Bush, Cheney, Rice….?

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Mixed signals on terrorism list

‘ mixed signals’ on Terrorism List

  • In Feb Agreement US agreed to remove NK from terrorism list

  • 27 April press conference with Abe Shinzo Bush said that dependent on Japanese satisfaction on abductee issue

    • Ie never

  • However Rice told Abe that abductions ‘no bar to delisting’

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Prospects for peace1

Prospects for peace

  • Mainly depends on US

  • Washington is unpredictable

  • Depends on who has the ear of the president

  • There are also two landmines

    • Financial sanctions

    • Heavy enriched uranium

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Financial sanctions

Financial sanctions

  • No certain that they have really been removed

  • Treasury is still powerful

  • NK has hinted that it is watching progress, but is for the moment giving Hill the benefit of the doubt

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

HEU

  • Ostensible reason for Bush tearing up Agreed Framework that Clinton had signed

  • Claimed NK had clandestine uranium weapons programme

  • Hill has backtracked somewhat but difficult to see how NK (or Hill) can satisfy US right

    • Kumchangri solution?

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Process is underway

Process is underway

  • Six Party Talks due to reconvene in Beijing on 18 July

  • NK has reacted quickly to the ‘settlement of BDA issue’

    • IAEA visited Pyongyang following day

  • Considering accelerating suspension of nuclear programme

    • NK has issued a warning

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


Prospects

Prospects

  • Bush - Unstable, lame duck administration, beset with difficulties

  • Washington full of important people, in and out of office, who oppose settlement with NK

  • And then there are the landmines…

  • Prospects are problematic

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


North korea prospects for peace

UNA Wellington 12 July 2007


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