Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

DATE=9/7/2000
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
TITLE=NORTH-SOUTH KOREA
NUMBER=5-46979
BYLINE=STEPHANIE MANN
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
INTERNET=YES
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  After the recent Korean summit and family 
reunions, some observers describe the mood in South 
Korea as euphoric - with many people hoping for speedy 
reunification of the divided peninsula.  But analysts 
in the United States say their optimism should be 
tempered by a large dose of caution, as this week's 
incident in Frankfurt, Germany, indicates.  
Correspondent Stephanie Mann reports.
TEXT:  The June summit in Pyongyang has led to 
dramatic progress in efforts to improve relations 
between North and South Korea.
Reunions have been held among family members separated 
since the Korean War 50-years ago, and there are plans 
for more such reunions.  The two sides are talking 
about reconnecting a cross-border railway, and they 
have also agreed to hold military talks to try to 
reduce tensions.  In addition, South Korean President 
Kim Dae-Jung is proposing the two Koreas sign their 
own peace treaty to formally end the state of war that 
has existed since the conflict stopped in 1953.
So much progress in just a few weeks has prompted a 
lot of enthusiasm in South Korea and raised hopes 
about reunification.  
Professor Samuel Kim, director of the Center for 
Korean Research at Columbia University (in New York), 
says the June summit was a positive historic 
development.  But he cautions against undue optimism. 
            // ACT ONE - KIM //  
      I think it has aroused the expectation of some 
      sort of unification miracle (to) come about, 
      expectation that now with this inter-Korean 
      summit there is no need for the presence of 
      United States troops, and (it) also gives 
      powerful ammunition to the radical leftist 
      forces, and anti-American movement.
            // END ACT // 
In recent weeks, anti-American demonstrations have 
been held in Seoul.  Protesters say U-S troops are no 
longer needed in South Korea because the two Koreas 
are on the path of reconciliation.
But Korea expert Gordon Flake says the protests do not 
represent a groundswell of opinion in South Korea. 
            // OPT // ACT TWO - FLAKE //
      We are entering a very precarious period of time 
      when emotions can sometimes outstrip logic, and 
      when it is an extremely sensitive nationalistic 
      period of time.  There is going to be pressures 
      on the U-S troop presence.  I think policy 
      makers on both sides, and apparently now in both 
      Koreas, recognize the utility and the necessity 
      even of keeping them on board.
            // END ACT // END OPT //
Mr. Flake is executive director of the Mansfield 
Center for Pacific Affairs in Washington.  He says the 
summit was made possible not because of any changes in 
North Korea, which still maintains strict control over 
all aspects of society.  Instead, Mr. Flake gives all 
the credit to South Korea and President Kim Dae Jung's 
so-called "sunshine policy" of opening to the North.  
            // ACT THREE - FLAKE //
      Basically, it is Kim Dae-Jung who is the first 
      president in South Korean history who is come in 
      confident enough to make compromises, to realize 
      that they can concede and themselves compromise 
      as a way of moving things forward.
            // END ACT //
But Gordon Flake says South Korea's concessions to 
foster cooperation with the North have not been 
matched by any substance from Pyongyang. 
            // ACT FOUR - FLAKE //
      What North Korea has done is to make a number of 
      very symbolic and admittedly important symbolic 
      compromises.  But at the same time, the 
      fundamental shifts in their society that would 
      be necessary for any real reconciliation have 
      not begun to take place.
            // END ACT // 
Mr. Flake says North Korea must open its society to 
allow more than what he calls stilted exchanges of 
family members.  He says North Korea must make 
fundamental reforms to loosen its control over the 
movement of people, the flow of information and the 
methods of production for real progress to be made in 
the North-South dialogue. 
Samuel Kim says because such reforms would pose a 
threat to the government in Pyongyang, the North is 
reluctant to open up to the South. 
            // ACT FIVE - KIM //
      If you have more and more exchanges - family 
      exchange, trade exchange, diplomatic exchange - 
      then North Korean people become more and more 
      aware of all the lies they have been told.  And 
      the system becomes more and more unstable.  And 
      I think North Korean leaders are fully aware of 
      this.
            // END ACT //
But Professor Kim says there are things North Korea 
can do to reciprocate for the economic aid it is 
getting from the South.  For example, he says the 
North can allow family reunions that are not just 
showcases, open North Korea to international 
investment, engage in real military dialogue and 
redeploy some of its troops away from the 
demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. 
Yet until there is real change in North Korea's 
leadership and basic policies, Professor Kim says 
there is no real foundation for long-term peace on the 
Korean peninsula. 
Gordon Flake says because of the North's history of 
reneging on promises or just changing its mind, many 
analysts in the United States expect something to 
happen to shatter the current mood of optimism.
            // OPT // ACT SIX- FLAKE // 
      I think those who watch North Korea closely are 
      now kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop.  
      Or another way to put it is we have become very 
      familiar with a process in North Korea of two 
      steps forward, one step back, or sometimes one 
      step forward, two steps back.  And we are all 
      waiting for the step back, in anticipation of 
      something going awry here.
            // END ACT // END OPT // 
Samuel Kim says past efforts at North-South dialogue - 
in the 1970's and again in the 1990's - were halted by 
seemingly small incidents.  And he points to the most 
recent incident in Frankfurt when North Korean 
diplomats cancelled a trip to New York because they 
were subjected to a security search by a U-S airline.  
Professor Kim says that episode likely will affect 
talks between the United States and North Korea, but 
he says it should not hurt the dialogue between the 
North and South.  Nevertheless, Mr. Kim says, it may 
dampen the euphoric atmosphere and return a bit of 
realism to the mood in South Korea.   (SIGNED)
NEB/SMN/RAE
07-Sep-2000 12:09 PM EDT (07-Sep-2000 1609 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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