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The surprise trips by former President Jimmy Carter to North Korea and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to China have generated intense speculation over the future of multilateral nuclear negotiations and North Korean succession. Carter associates stated that the former president flew to Pyongyang under the condition of holding a meeting with Kim Jong Il, which did not occur. Such a meeting could have enabled Carter to unilaterally negotiate an agreement that ran counter to US foreign policy, as he did in 1994, or elaborate on his “grand vision” for tackling the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and regional peace.
Kim Jong-il’s trip to China may be related to securing Chinese understanding of an anticipated announcement of succession plans to anoint Kim’s third son as the next North Korean leader. Did Kim miss an opportunity to use Carter to undermine international support for additional US sanctions to be announced next month? Did succession plans trump foreign policy considerations? US media reports suggest Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seeking alternative options to the Obama Administration’s current two-track policy toward North Korea of pressure and negotiations. What is the potential for changes in US policy and how would stalwart ally South Korea respond?
Join us as our panel of experts discusses the implications of the Carter and Kim trips as well as potential changes in U.S. policy towards North Korea.
More About the Speakers
Dr. Michael J. Green
Associate Professor, Georgetown University, and Senior Advisor and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies
L. Gordon Flake
Executive Director, Mansfield Foundation
Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation
Director, Asian Studies Center