TITLE=KOREA MISSILES Q & A (L-ONLY)
INTRO: U-S envoy Robert Einhorn has been holding
talks with South Korean officials this week on a
possible deal to allow Seoul to produce missiles with
longer range capabilities. The talks come after Mr.
Einhorn and North Korean officials deadlocked
Wednesday over curbs on Pyongyang's missile exports.
V-O-A's Alisha Ryu discussed the implications of this
week's meetings with Robert Manning, senior fellow at
the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
RYU: The United States plans to endorse South Korea's
wish to produce missiles capable of reaching North
Korea. What kind of an impact do you think this
decision will have on the North/South relationship as
well as the U-S/North Korean relationship?
MANNING: Well, I think that South Koreans have
some legitimate concerns. Here we have North
Korea, who they're facing down, which is in the
process of creating a third generation of
ballistic missiles, intermediate, and
potentially long-range. And yet, they're (the
South Koreans) limited in what they're able to
do by the outdated agreement that they can only
have missiles up to 120 miles (193 kilometers),
I believe it is. Since that was negotiated (in
1979) the U-S and its allies created the Missile
Technology Control Regime and even by that
standard, you're allowed to go up to 300
kilometers. So, we're holding them to a
different standard than we've tried to make as a
norm. So, that was somewhat irritating,
particularly while they're threatened by a whole
range of missiles from the North. Secondly, I
think they see it as both at the time and a
bargaining chip. That is to say, having these
missiles in the hands of Koreans is different
from what the U-S may do, and that will get
North Korea's attention. Secondly, it creates a
little more leverage for both the U-S and South
Korea in terms of trying to get a handle on the
North Korean missile program. And, we just saw
the talks break down and North Koreans ...
RYU: If you put this in the context of sort of the
rapprochement (improved relations) that's been reached
last month between the North and South, you don't
think this will have an adverse effect on that?
MANNING: Well, it doesn't seem to me that the
North Koreans have much of an argument. Here's
a country where a million people or more have
starved to death, their economy has shrunk for
the last decade, and here they are spending tens
if not hundreds of millions of dollars on
ballistic missiles. It doesn't seem to me
they're in a position to tell South Korea. They
have no argument against South Korea developing
missiles, unless they're prepared to start
negotiating away their own missiles. So, I
think, if anything it may create more of a basis
for arms control or some kind of arms reduction
talks between the North and South.
RYU: The timing of this has been sort of suspect,
people say, because it comes on the heels of North
Korea demanding up to a billion dollars to quit their
nuclear weapons program. What is the motive?
MANNING: Well, we've seen this before, right?
Every time North Korea has done something in the
last five or six years, done something
obnoxious, and after they agree not to do it
anymore, suddenly there was a huge shipment of
American food aid, and of course it was never
linked. Well, I guess you could consider it
non-linkage linkage. But there is clearly a
connection. I think the U-S negotiators do view
this deal with South Korea as enhancing their
leverage with the North.
RYU: Can South Korea be militarily strong without
jeopardizing the relationship it had established with
MANNING: Well, think of it his way, for most of
the last decade we've been dealing with the
symptoms of the problem rather than the cause.
Well you know, missiles and nukes are the
symptoms of the cause. The cause is the
North/South division, North/South confrontation.
[South Korean President] Kim Dae Jung, for the
first time, has opened up the possibility of
dealing with the root cause of the problem. So,
if you look at it that way, then it seems to me,
if this thing goes forward, if we build on this
process, then it seems to me the equation has to
be a reduction of a North Korean threat. If
they want their economy reconstructed, then it
seems to me that the price tag has to be
reducing the military threat.
RYU: North Korea has been insistent that it needs the
missile production as an export item for which it can
get badly needed hard currency rather than as weapons
it intends to use. Do you believe that?
MANNING: Well, first, let me make a couple of
quick points. One is that the U-S position is
not based on any kind of law. North Korea is
not violating any agreement it's made with us or
international commitment as opposed to, for
example, the nuclear issue where they broke
their international not for proliferation treaty
commitments. So it's really about three chords
to the administering of foreign affairs: logic,
bribes and threats. And I think when you are
talking about North Korean missile programs, the
problem with the negotiation the U-S has been
having is they are rather absurd from point of
view of North Korea because we don't have
anything serious on the table given the
importance they attach to missiles. And I think
that what is changed now is with Kim Dae Jung
getting to the core issue of North-South
reconciliation. He's putting some very large
incentives on the table: communications
networks, roads, railways, energy grids. These
are the kinds of major things that are necessary
if North Korea is going to survive as a state.
RYU: So you are optimistic that some sort of
agreement can be achieved in the near future?
MANNING: No, I wouldn't say I'm optimistic. I
think we are going to see slow but incremental
progress because it appears to me that there has
been some major decisions made in Pyongyang.
But, we don't know what they are yet, and the
only way one can find out in a system that is so
-- that is the least transparent system in the
world -- is by testing them. And I haven't seen
anybody put any serious proposals on the table
14-Jul-2000 08:31 AM EDT (14-Jul-2000 1231 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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