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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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      do by the outdated agreement that they can only 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 
North Korea? 
      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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