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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Voice of America
DATE=2/27/97
TYPE=CLOSE-UP
NUMBER=4-09625 TITLE=U-S & SOUTH KOREA - AT ODDS OVER THE NORTH
BYLINE=STEPHANIE MANN
TELEPHONE=619-1286
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
EDITOR=NANCY SMART

CONTENT= (INSERTS & VOICED VERSION IN AUDIO SERVICES)

INTRO: NEXT WEDNESDAY (3/5), OFFICIALS FROM THE UNITED STATES, SOUTH KOREA AND NORTH KOREA ARE TO MEET IN NEW YORK CITY TO BEGIN DISCUSSIONS ON HOW PEACE TALKS FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA MIGHT PROCEED. THIS MEETING, TWICE POSTPONED BY THE NORTH, IS SEEN BY SOME OBSERVERS AS A POSITIVE SIGN THAT EVENTUALLY THE TWO KOREAS, WHICH NEVER FORMALLY ENDED THE KOREAN WAR 44 YEARS AGO, MAY BE ABLE TO REDUCE TENSIONS AND AGREE TO A REAL PEACE. AS VOA'S STEPHANIE MANN REPORTS, HOWEVER, NEW COMPLICATIONS HAVE ARISEN IN EFFORTS TO REACH PEACE IN KOREA.

TEXT: FOR MOST OF THE LAST HALF CENTURY, THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH KOREA HAVE BEEN UNITED IN THEIR OPPOSITION TO PYONGYANG AND THEIR DETERMINATION TO REPULSE ANY POSSIBLE NORTH KOREAN ATTACK ON THE SOUTH. NORTH KOREA HAS CONSISTENTLY INSISTED ON TALKING DIRECTLY WITH THE UNITED STATES AND BYPASSING THE SOUTH, WHICH PYONGYANG CALLS A PUPPET OF WASHINGTON. BOTH THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH HAVE STATED THEY HOPE FOR EVENTUAL REUNIFICATION, BUT THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN STEADFAST IN ITS BELIEF THAT, IF KOREAN UNIFICATION IS TO OCCUR, IT WILL COME AS A RESULT OF DIRECT DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE NORTH AND SOUTH.

WHILE THE THREAT FROM THE NORTH IS WHAT ORIGINALLY FORGED THE U-S-SOUTH KOREAN ALLIANCE, TODAY THAT ISSUE APPEARS TO BE DRIVING THE TWO ALLIES APART.

LARRY NIKSCH, AN ASIAN EXPERT AT THE CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, SAYS THE SPLIT BEGAN IN 1993, WHEN THE UNITED STATES BEGAN DIRECT TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA TO STOP THAT COUNTRY FROM PRODUCING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. AT THAT TIME, MR. NIKSCH SAYS, SOUTH KOREA LOST CONTROL OVER DIPLOMACY TOWARD THE NORTH. THE AGREEMENT CONCLUDED IN 1994 LAID OUT STEPS TO DISMANTLE NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND ALSO CALLED FOR RESUMPTION OF THE NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE. ALTHOUGH THE NUCLEAR PROVISIONS ARE MOVING FORWARD, LARRY NIKSCH SAYS THERE HAS BEEN NO PROGRESS ON THE NON-NUCLEAR ELEMENTS.

TAPE: CUT ONE NIKSCH :37

"SOUTH KOREA, NORTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES SEEM TO HAVE DIFFERENT PRIORITIES, STRATEGIES AND OBJECTIVES TOWARD THESE NON-NUCLEAR SECURITY ISSUES. AND THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF A TRIANGULAR RELATIONSHIP THAT HAS DEVELOPED NOW, REPLACING TO SOME DEGREE THE BI-POLAR RELATIONSHIP OF THE R-O-K (REPUBLIC OF KOREA) AND THE U-S ON ONE SIDE, AND NORTH KOREA ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT THESE DIFFERENT STRATEGIES, GOALS AND PRIORITIES COULD ESCALATE TENSIONS INTO A MORE DANGEROUS SITUATION IN THE FUTURE."

TEXT: THE UPCOMING MEETING IN NEW YORK IS DESIGNED TO BE A BRIEFING FOR NORTH KOREA ON A U-S AND SOUTH KOREAN PROPOSAL FOR FOUR PARTY PEACE TALKS, WHICH WOULD ALSO INCLUDE CHINA. HOWEVER, SEPARATE BILATERAL TALKS BETWEEN U-S AND NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS ARE ALSO SCHEDULED -- SOMETHING PYONGYANG HAS BEEN PERSISTENTLY SEEKING.

MR. NIKSCH, OFFERING HIS PERSONAL OPINION, SAYS NORTH KOREA APPEARS TO BE GETTING WHAT IT WANTS.

TAPE: CUT TWO NIKSCH :58

"NORTH KOREA IS PLAYING AN AMERICAN CARD IN ITS KOREAN STRATEGY, AND THAT IS TO DRAW THE UNITED STATES INTO AN EVER TIGHTENING SERIES OF BILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS AIMED ULTIMATELY AT BRINGING THE UNITED STATES INTO DISCUSSIONS OVER SOME OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE AMERICAN SECURITY ROLE ON THE PENINSULA, INCLUDING THE ROLE OF U-S TROOPS. AND IN DOING THIS, PYONGYANG IS TRYING CORRESPONDINGLY TO ISOLATE SOUTH KOREA FROM KOREAN DIPLOMACY, SPLITTING SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES BY THIS WOOING OF THE U-S, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ESCALATING PRESSURES ON SOUTH KOREA PARTLY IN THE FORM OF A SERIES OF MORE NUMEROUS PROVOCATIVE ACTS TOWARD THE SOUTH THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE LAST TWO YEARS."

TEXT: THESE INCLUDE LAST YEAR'S NORTH KOREAN SUBMARINE INCURSION AND THE ASSASSINATION OF A SOUTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT, BY SUSPECTED NORTH KOREAN AGENTS IN RUSSIA. [OPT] MR. NIKSCH DESCRIBES SEOUL AS RESENTFUL THAT ITS DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS ARE BEING IGNORED.

TAPE: CUT THREE NIKSCH :29

"AND IT CONSISTENTLY TRIES TO REGAIN CONTROL BY ARGUING THAT NOTHING SHOULD GO FORWARD, OR VERY LITTLE SHOULD GO FORWARD DIPLOMATICALLY WITH NORTH KOREA UNTIL NORTH KOREA AGREES TO A RESUMPTION OF OFFICIAL NORTH -SOUTH TALKS. SOUTH KOREA, HOWEVER, HAS FAILED IN ITS EFFORTS, ITS OWN EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE SUBSTANTIAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE NORTH KOREANS." [END OPT]

TEXT: MR. NIKSCH SAYS THE FOREMOST U-S OBJECTIVE IS TO PRESERVE THE NUCLEAR AGREEMENT AND INSULATE IT FROM OTHER CONTENTIOUS ISSUES. IN ADDITION, HE SAYS WASHINGTON WANTS TO BROADEN NEGOTIATIONS WITH PYONGYANG TO FACILITATE MORE FOOD AID TO THE STRICKEN COUNTRY AND DEAL WITH SUCH ISSUES AS AMERICAN SOLDIERS MISSING FROM THE KOREAN WAR.

BUT U-S SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR ARMS CONTROL, NON-PROLIFERATION AND DISARMAMENT, THOMAS GRAHAM, SAYS IT'S DIFFICULT TO CONDUCT A CONSISTENT COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY WITH NORTH KOREA. AMBASSADOR GRAHAM SAYS NORTH KOREA HAS A HISTORY OF GETTING INVOLVED IN NEGOTIATIONS, WORKING TOWARD AN AGREEMENT, AND THEN SUDDENLY CHANGING ITS POSITION.

TAPE: CUT FOUR GRAHAM :33 (TT :45)

"HERE WE HAVE A STATE THAT'S HAD TWO DISASTROUS HARVESTS, WHOSE PEOPLE ARE ON THE VERGE OF STARVATION, EXCEPT MAYBE THE SOLDIERS. HOW DO YOU HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY WITH A STATE LIKE THAT, WHICH YOU CAN'T COMMUNICATE WITH, WHICH IS VERY DIFFICULT TO NEGOTIATE WITH, WHICH HAS AN ECONOMY THAT AT LEAST THE AGRICULTURAL PART OF IT IS IN DISASTROUS CONDITION, WHICH HAS A HUGE ARMY ON A HAIR TRIGGER? [OPT ] IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO EVEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP WITH A STATE LIKE THAT. AND WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO NOW IS TO DRAW THEM INTO A REAL FOUR-POWER DISCUSSION." [END OPT]

TEXT: AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT ON KOREAN ISSUES, KATY OH, AGREES THAT NORTH KOREA IS DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH. BUT SHE SAYS BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA SUFFER FROM A HIGH DEGREE OF POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY THAT MAKES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS AT RECONCILIATION UNFEASIBLE AT THIS TIME. [OPT] MOREOVER, MS. OH SAYS NEITHER SIDE HAS A COHESIVE PLAN FOR REUNIFICATION.

TAPE: CUT FIVE OH :24

"NEITHER NORTH KOREA NOR SOUTH KOREA APPEARS TO HAVE A CLEAR UNIFICATION STRATEGY. SOUTH KOREA DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IF IT WANTS UNIFICATION. NORTH KOREA WANTS UNIFICATION ONLY IF IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE KOREAN WORKERS' PARTY TO DOMINATE SOUTH KOREA, BUT THE NORTH KOREANS DON'T EXPECT THIS IS POSSIBLE ANY LONGER. THAT'S THE REALITY." [END OPT]

TEXT: PATRICK CRONIN, AN ASIA SECURITY SPECIALIST AT THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY, SAYS UNTIL RECENTLY, THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH KOREA WERE PREPARED ONLY TO DEAL WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF ATTACK BY THE NORTH. HE SAYS THAT POSSIBLE SCENARIO STILL MUST BE CONSIDERED, BUT WASHINGTON AND SEOUL ARE BEGINNING TO LOOK AT OTHER POTENTIAL PROBLEMS THAT COULD ARISE.

TAPE: CUT SIX CRONIN :24

"WE HAVE NOW MOVED MORE TOWARD THE OPERATIONS OTHER THAN TRADITIONAL CONFLICTS, OPERATIONS OTHER THAN WAR. AND THERE, WE WERE COMPLETELY ILL PREPARED. WE WERE COMPLETELY ILL PREPARED TO DEAL WITH IT IN THE ALLIANCE. THE U-S AND THE R-O-K HAD NOT SAT DOWN UNTIL JUST A YEAR AGO TO START TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE'RE GOING TO RESPOND COLLECTIVELY TO A POTENTIAL REFUGEE CRISIS, SOME OTHER HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, SOME MESSY EXPLOSION WITHIN THE NORTH."

TEXT: MR. CRONIN SAYS THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH KOREA SHOULD CONSULT WITH OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION -- INCLUDING JAPAN, CHINA, AND RUSSIA -- TO PREPARE FOR ALL POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENTS. HE SAYS THESE MIGHT INCLUDE THE USE OF MILITARY BASES, AIRPORTS AND HOSPITALS IN THOSE OTHER COUNTRIES. BECAUSE NORTH KOREA IS AN UNPREDICTABLE REGIME AND MAY HAVE NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS, PATRICK CRONIN SAYS, PYONYANG WILL HAVE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE AND THE SOUTH MUST BE PREPARED.

[REST OPT] MR. CRONIN, MS. OH, AMBASSADOR GRAHAM AND LARRY NIKSCH MADE THEIR COMMENTS AT A SYMPOSIUM ON NORTHEAST ASIAN REGIONAL SECURITY HELD AT THE GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY IN ATLANTA. (SIGNED)

NEB/SMN/NES

27-Feb-97 3:27 PM EST (2027 UTC)
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