December 1, 1990

December 1, 1990 | Lecture on US-Korea Relations

Easing Cold War Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: Options for U.S. Policy Makers

(Archived document, may contain errors) An Asian Studies Center Forum

Easing Cold War Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: Options for U.S. Policy Makers

T he Honorable Stephen J. Solarz U.S. House of Representatives Dr. Edwin J. Feulner President, The Heritage Foundation The Honorable Richard V. Allen Chairman, Advisory Council, Asian Studies Center Roger A. Brooks Director, Asian Studies Center The Honorable Hyun Hong Choo Ambassador to the United Nations from the Republic of Korea Karl Spence Richardson U.S. Department of State Brent Franzel Staff of Senator Kit Bond Daryl Plunk Visiting Fellow, Asian Studies Center

Edited by Kenneth J. Conboy

T he Lehrman Auditorium The Heritage Foundation September 11, 1990

Easing Cold War Tensions on the Korean Peninsula: Options for U.S. Policy Makers

D r. Edwin Feulner: Good mornin g, ladies and gentlemen. I am Ed Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation. It's a pleasure to welcome you to our Asian Studies Center Sym- posium on ending Cold War tensions on the Korean Peninsula. I don't mean to betray my age, but it seems almost l ike yesterday that my colleagues here at Heritage were issuing papers criticizing then-President Carter's attempt to withdraw our troops from Korea. Uter, when Richard Allen joined our Asian Studies Center as Chair- man of its Advisory Council after his t o ur of duty as President Reagan's first National Security Advisor, he was quick to impress on us the importance of the Korean Peninsula. I am proud to say that Heritage has played a key role in maintaining Washington's strong sup- port for Korea over the l a st decade, especially during times when many in Washington doubted that the will of the Korean people would prevail. During the crucial events of 1987, leading up to the historic December presidential elec- tion in Seoul, our analysts were providing advic e to the Reagan Administration. We even sent observers to that election. In fact, the Asian Studies Center has issued some 30 Back- grounders, lectures, and other special reports on Korea. If I sound like Heritage is taking all the credit, let me be the fi r st to inject some modesty and say that we did have a lot of help. This came in the not-insignificant form of what be- came a bipartisan consensus on Korean policy in the late 1980s. I am particularly pleased to welcome here today one of the principal arch i tects of that bipartisan policy in the House of Representatives, the Honorable Stephen Solarz. I have asked our colleague, Richard Allen, to give a proper account of Steve's contributions, but let me say that, on the issue at hand, Steve Solarz's leadersh i p in our Congress has been crucial to a successful Korean policy. I know we all look forward to his remarks today. I would like to reflect a moment on the achievements of the Korean people over the last decade. Who could have imagined during the height of the troop withdrawal debate in the late 1970s, or during the anxious moments of 1987, that the prime ministers of North and South Korea would in 1990 be shaking hands and raising toasts, as they did last week? The Korean people deserve the credit for this current state of affairs. It's their desire for security, for democratic freedom, for economic prosperity, and finally, for the unification of their homeland, that has driven their leaders. And a large amount of credit also is due to President Roh Tae Woo . His bold Northern policy of seeking better relations with the com- munist bloc is largely responsible for the small but important thaw that we currently see be- tween the two Koreas. For four decades, Kim Il Sung's regime has provided the model of a Comm unist nightmare. From the reports of friends who have managed to visit Pyongyang recently, it is clear that this last bastion of Stalinism. cannot survive much longer.

How this chapter of the Cold War comes to its own conclusion is the focus of our panel discussion today. It is our hope that the eventual transition in North Korea will follow the example of East Germany - that is, a peaceful surrender to democracy and capitalism. But at The Heritage Foundation, we are acutely aware that the North remains u npredictable and dangerously well armed. Real peace on the Korean Peninsula will not be possible until North Korea begins to follow the example of its comrades in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland, and discards the failed nostrums of Marx and Lenin. Unt i l that time, I believe that Korea deserves American support, and a high priority in our Asian policy. In conclusion, let me say that I'm confident that President Bush will continue to build on President Reagan's achievements in this regard, and I'm confid e nt that congressional leaders, like Steve Solarz, will help to formulate a Korean policy that strengthens our friendship with the Korean people. Now I will turn the panel over to my distinguished colleague, the Honorable Richard V. Allen, Chairman of our A sian Studies Center Advisory Council. Richard V. Allen: Thank you, Ed, and welcome to all of you. We are particularly pleased to have such a strong interest and attendance this morning. Ed Feulner has told you of the contributions the Asian Studies Center has made over the years. Heritage has a reputation for taking positions on issues. One of the great virtues of 'Me Heritage Foundation, and one of the joys of being associated with it, is that Heritage posi- tions on the issues are delivered in a very tim e ly fashion. Whether you agree or disagree with our positions, they are readable and presented in a format that can be tucked into a briefcase and taken home, and provide good and solid information about the policy options open to the United States governm e nt. Heritage - for those of you who come from uptown - is downtown here on Capitol Hill, where it retains a significant path of communication to the United States Congress, to its staff and, of course, to leading media representatives, and to the Administ r ation itself. It is often said that there are two places where you do not want to be caught with Stephen Solarz. One is in his hearing room, and the second is on a tennis court. I have been in his hearing room. I have not been on the tennis court with him , but I do know that he is a for- midable opponent there, and he can also be a very formidable opponent in scholarly and civilized debate. It has been my privilege to appear before and with Congressman Solarz on numerous oc- casions, discussing issues of m u tual importance. Particularly during the years of the difficul- ties in the Philippines I came to have not only a greater understanding of what makes him tick, that is, the quest for good, bipartisan public policy, but also a genuine desire to promote dem o cracy throughout the world. In that regard, he has certainly been an extraor- dinarily consistent and able public servant. Steve graduated from Brandeis University in 1962, took his master's degree in public law and government from Columbia University, an d became a political science professor at the City University of New York. In 1968, he was elected to the New York State Assembly, and served in that legislature with distinction. In 1974, he began the first of eight successful races for election to the Ho u se of Representatives from the 13th Congressional District of Brooklyn, and he currently serves on four committees in the House: the Foreign Affairs Committee, for which he is perhaps best well known, the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, the Intel ligence Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. He is fourth


in seniority on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and he also chairs the crucially impor- tant Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs. Many of you here today have had an opportunity also to appear with or before Con- gressman Solarz. I note that his former colleague, Congressman 1,eggett, is with us, as well as Ambassador Art Hummel, who served with great distinction, among other places, in the People's Republic of China on behalf of the United States during the first years of the Reagan Administrati o n. We are happy to have you here, Art. Steve has been a very prolific writer and one who appears frequently on the most impor- tant television shows. But he always has time for undertakings such as ours and regularly contributes to policy debates at vario us institutions. We are more than delighted that you are here with us today. You grace us with your presence, and we certainly look forward to an active exchange of views with you. Join me, if you will, in welcoming Congressman Steve Solarz.


Representative Stephen Solarz: I want to thank Dick Allen very much for those extraor- dinarily gracious remarks. They certainly were a welcome contrast to a letter I received not too long ago, which went as follows: "Dear Congressman SoIarz: Until I saw you on the Mc- Neil-Lehrer Show last evening, I always thought my own Congressman, Henry B. Gonzalez of Texas, was the most stupid member of the House of Representatives." "I now realize," my correspondent went on, "how mistaken I was. Congressman Gon- z a lez is only the second dumbest Congressman in the House of Representatives." So, Dick, I appreciate your kind comments. They came at a very timely moment. I also want to congratulate The Heritage Foundation for its exquisite sense of timing in scheduling t his conference at this particular moment. It comes only a week after the meet- ing of the two prime ministers, and on the very day that we expect to be voting on the floor of the House of Representatives on an amendment to the Department of Defense author i zation bill which calls for a reduction to 30,000 in the number of American troops deployed in Korea by 1993. 1 think that both of these developments give a very special sig- nificance to the discussions that will be taking place at The Heritage Foundatio n today. 1,et me begin my substantive remarks by observing that while the Cold War may have come to an end in Europe, it clearly has not yet come to an end on the Korean Peninsula. Indeed, next to the Persian Gulf and possibly Kashmir, I can think of no ar e a of the world other then the Korean Peninsula where there continues to be a very real possibility of major hostilities. There are well over a million men under arms on both sides of the 38th Parallel. North Korea has never renounced its ambitions to reun ify the Peninsula under communist control. It continues to enjoy some significant advantages militarily in terms of armor and artillery, and manpower as well.


And therefore I do not think any of us could prudently dismiss the possibility that hos- tili ties with catastrophic consequences could erupt on the Korean Peninsula. I do not think that is likely to happen, but it is by no means inconceivable that it could happen. Therefore, I think it makes considerable sense for us to be thinking about what can be done to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula. And here I think we need to know not only what we should do, but what we shouldn't do. One of the things we shouldn't do is to reduce gratuitously the level of our forces in South Korea below the reducti o ns already planned by the Administration - that is, to 37,000 by the end of 1992. It is one thing to make a modest reduction in the number of American forces deployed south of the 38th Parallel in coordination and cooperation with our South Korean allies i n order to make sure not only that the deterrent value of our military presence is maintained, but also that the balance of power, such as it is, is preserved. It is quite another, on an un- planned and uncoordinated basis, to reduce the number of our tro o ps even further. Certainly, at a time when dialogue is underway between the North and the South, were the Congress unilaterally to mandate further reductions in American forces in South Korea, it would clearly diminish whatever incentives Pyongyang might h ave to agree to additional tension-reduction measures on the Korean Peninsula. Inasmuch as the total removal of all American forces from South Korea has clearly been for decades now one of North Korea's primary objectives, it might well reason that all it would have to do is to outwait the United States and no concessions on its part would be required. And if Pyongyang should come to the conclusion that the U.S. Congress would do its work for it, without the need for any concessions on its part, I would su g gest that the prospects for any really significant agreements between the North and the South in the con- text of the ongoing dialogue would clearly be diminished. Furthermore, from a purely domestic point of view, it's not at all clear to me what the spo n sors of this amendment hope to achieve, inasmuch as they make no provision in their proposal for the demobilization of the forces that would be withdrawn. Yet, without the demobilization of those forces, if they're simply redeployed elsewhere, not only wo n 't we save any money - which is the presumptive motivation for the amendment - but it may very well end up costing us more money to relocate them. So this is a proposal which, in my view, is bereft of strategic and fiscal logic. I don't know what the outc o me will be on the floor because the Administration, I think, has been preoc- cupied with the crisis in the Persian Gulf, and I haven't sensed any major lobbying effort on the amendment. But I do hope that reason will prevail. There can be little doubt tha t our military presence on the Korean Peninsula over the course of the last three decades has constituted a very significant contribution to the preser- vation of peace. Until such time as arrangements between the North and the South can be agreed upon whi c h would render unnecessary the need for a continued U.S. military presence in South Korea, I think it would be a serious mistake to move in this direction. What then should we do? What kind of positive contribution can we make to the reduc- tion of tensio ns on the Korean Peninsula? And here I would like to say that while I am pleased, as I'm sure all of you are, that the meeting between the two Prime Ministers took


place, and while I am encouraged that a follow-up session has been scheduled in Pyon- gy ang, I am not overly optimistic that any significant breakthrough will be achieved. Some of you may recall that I visited North Korea almost exactly a decade ago. I think I was the first, and perhaps the only, member of Congress to go there since John Gle n n last flew over Pyongyang. A lot of people asked me what it was like. My reply was that the best single book ever written about North Korea was George Orwell's 1984. If you wanted to understand how the country worked, all you had to do was to read that b o ok. While I was there and had my substantive discussions, including a four-hour meeting with the Great Leader, Kim 11 Sung, it became clear to me that their view of how to achieve reunification was fundamentally different from the view of the South. They w ant to do it in one fell swoop. They want to move instantaneously to unification through an agreement on their proposal for a Federal Republic of Korea, a Korea from which foreign troops would be withdrawn. The forces on both sides would go down to 100,00 0 . A confederation would be established in which, presumably, the political, social, and economic systems on each side would remain the same, but where they would have a common defense and foreign policy. The view of the South, however, is that the only wa y to achieve real progress toward unification is incrementally, through a series of steps including family reunifications, trade, and tourism, and the demilitarization of the demilitarized zone. These could generate the kind of confidence that would then m a ke it possible to achieve agreement on the larger is- sues. And there can be little doubt that the view of Seoul is far more realistic than the view of Pyongyang. Interestingly enough, if you look at how China is approaching the problem of Taiwan, it has a dopted an approach much closer to that of the South than that of the North. It is at- tempting through incremental steps to generate the confidence which, from its point of view, hopefully would lead to a breakthrough on the issue. And I was struck by the fact that in the meeting between the two prime ministers, according to the reports I've seen in the press, the North seemed basically to be sticking to the same approach which it had described to me back in 1980. In other words, it tends to view these inc r emental steps - like, for example, having both Koreas represented at the United Nations, or opening the border for family reunification and visits - as measures which, by making the division of Korea less unpalatable, are more likely to freeze it in perpe t uity. And therefore, so long as it sticks to that position, I don't think there is much chance for progress. Indeed, I am inclined to agree with what Ed Feulner said in his introductory com- ments, that the only real possibility for unification will come a fter the passing of the current leadership in North Korea, and hopefully the emergence of a fundamentally changed form of government in that country. I think it's illustrative of the problems facing Korea that it took the collapse of Com- munism and the e m ergence of a genuine democracy in East Germany to pave the way for the unification of Germany. If and when fundamental political change takes place in North Korea, I think the unification of the Korean Peninsula will come very, very rapidly. I look forwar d to that day, because I know how much it means to the people of the Korean Penin-


sula, and also because I think the reunification of the country would eliminate a major source of tension in Northeast Asia. In the interim, however, there are steps tha t I believe we can take. Perhaps the most im- portant, in my judgment - and I don't know that all of you will agree with this - is finding a way to deal with the growing threat now being posed by North'Korea's apparent effort to ac- quire the capacity to p roduce its own nuclear weapons, in spite of the fact that it is a sig- natory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). I view this as a deeply disturbing develop- ment. I think that if North Korea was to acquire nuclear weapons, it would be extremely destab i lizing; and it would certainly put tremendous pressure on South Korea to develop its own nuclear potential as well. Given the ever-present danger of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, who can rule out the possibility that they might one day be used? So h ow can we deal with this problem? So far, our efforts to persuade diplomatically or to pressure North Korea by encouraging the Soviet Union and China to agree to full scope safeguards have not been very effective. Indeed, I have come to the conclusion tha t an alter- native approach is necessary. What I suggest we should do is propose the establishment of a nuclear free zone on the Korean Peninsula, in which both North and South Korea, as well as the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, would all agr e e neither to develop nor deploy nuclear weapons. In exchange, the North and the South would also agree to full scope International Atomic Energy Agency (LAEA) safeguards on all nuclear facilities. It is possible that such a proposal might be acceptable to Pyongyang. They have, after all, been insisting for some time now that the United States withdraw what they believe to be the presence of live nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. To the extent that such a nuclear free zone would preclude the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons there, they might feel there was merit in agreeing to full scope safeguards. In the event that they refused to agree - which they very well might - it seems to me it would clearly put on them the onus for whatever might subsequentl y happen. And that responsibility would be very much, I believe, in the interests of both Seoul and Washington. From the point of view of South Korea and the United States, let me say that I simply can- not envision any circumstances whatsoever in which we would want to use nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. At the height of the Korean War, in the darkest days of that con- flict when the North Koreans had virtually overrun the entire Peninsula, we didn't use nuclear weapons. After the Chinese invaded, we didn't use nuclear weapons. And I do not believe that we ever would, or should, use them even in worst case scenarios. Furthermore, to the extent that the American nuclear potential contributes in any way to the prevention of war in Korea, that nuclear potential remains intact. Nuclear weapons don't have to be deployed on the Korean Peninsula in order to contemplate the possibility of using them. So I think that this is a proposal which deserves consideration, because the problem is not going to be solv e d by taking an ostrich-like attitude and hoping that it will go away. Moreover, I see little reason to believe that North Korea is going simply to agree one day to full scope LAEA safeguards without something in exchange for it. I believe this proposal co nstitutes the basis for a perfectly acceptable quidpro quo.


Indeed, I would go so far as to say that one could make an argument that even without such an agreement it might be well to announce a policy that we have no intention of deploying nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. So far, there haven't been any sig- nifi c ant protest movements in South Korea against the alleged presence of our nuclear weapons there. But there's always a possibility such a movement might emerge, and I cer- tainly wouldn't want us to take such a step under pressure. It would be far better to do it under circumstances where it was seen as a constructive and creative initiative designed to contribute to the preservation of peace. Let me just say, in conclusion, that a decade ago when I went to Pyongyang, an editorial about my visit appeared in t he New York newspaper sponsored by the Reverend Sun Myting Moon. As I recall it, the first sentence of the editorial went something like this: "Kim 11 Sung opened the door to his Communist Kingdom just a crack last week, and in slithered New York Congress m an Stephen Solarz." Well, I hope that my presence there didn't lend any comfort to the "Great Uader." I certainly made it very clear to him that the United States intended to stand by its determination to defend South Korea. I believe we have done so for t he last decade. 11at has been possible largely, in my judgment, because of the extent to which our policy toward Korea has enjoyed strong support on both sides of the aisle, in the Congress, and, of course, from the Administration. I think that this has b e en one of the great success stories of American foreign policy. It has created the underlying conditions which have made possible not only the economic miracle we all know took place in South Korea, but in recent years a political miracle as well. And I h o pe we stay the course, because I truly believe that before the end of this cen- tury, democracy will have come not only to South Korea, but to North Korea, and that the country will finally be reunified. Mr. Allen: Congressman Solarz, there's a few minute s for questions, and we'll entertain them. Guest: Mr. Congressman, do you plan another trip to North Korea? Congressman Solarz: I can say, having been there once, my appetite for returning has been somewhat diminished, but if the circumstances were right, I would certainly consider it. Actually, I almost went there a few months ago when I was hoping to see Prince Sihanouk, who was in Pyongyang at the time. It turned out, however, it was not possible for me to get there to see him. This was in connection wit h my efforts to try to move the Cam- bodian problem toward a solution. Guest: What is your view on nuclear-free zones on the Korean Peninsula, or across Asia? Congressman Solarz: Well, I don't favor a nuclear-free zone for all of Asia. I do not think that i s a practical proposal. I think there are certain areas and certain circumstances where a nuclear free zone can make a useful contribution. My view is that the Korean Peninsula is one of them, and if that enables us to solve the problem of an indigenous N orth Korean nuclear weapons program through the establishment of full scope safeguards, I think it is worth doing.


I don't know whether the North Koreans will actually accept it. They often will say things to make themselves look good politically, but when they're put to the test, they're not will- ing to do what they said they were going to do. A few months ago, they proposed to open up the border for a few weeks and let people go back and forth; and when President Roh surprised them by more or less a c cepting their proposal, they quickly backpedalled and began to invent conditions which eventually turned out to be unacceptable. So, I don't preclude the possibility that whatever they may have said about this happening in the future, when they're put to t he test, they'll say no. I think they ought to be put to the test, because if they say yes, I think we can go a long way toward solving the problem. If they say no, it will be even clearer to the rest of the world where the responsibility lies, and that w i ll in turn make it easier to mobilize international pressure against them. Guest-.There is a good bit of anti-Americanism among the younger generation in Korea. Do you see this as developing into a problem between the U.S. and Korea? Congressman Solarz: A n ti-Americanism has certainly affected much of the youth of Korea, at least judged by the demonstrations that take place with some frequency on their campuses. Having tried to get a better understanding of this phenomenon by meeting with groups of students when I go to South Korea, I can say that trying to converse with some of these young people is a very difficult task, since they seem to have a perspective on events that often bears little relationship to reality. But I do believe that while many of the y oung people may be alienated, the overwhelming majority of the Korean people have warm feelings for the United States and very much want our forces to remain. And I have the impression that when many of these young people who participate in the demonstrat i ons graduate from college and go out into the world of work and assume responsibilities for families, their political militancy diminishes somewhat. So it does not appear to be a problem that has spread to the larger society. If it did, it would obviously have very serious implications for our relationship, because one thing is clear. The American people are not going to want to keep American forces in South Korea if they believe the Korean people don't want us there. The student demonstrations notwithstan d ing, I think it is clear that the great majority of the Korean people, and their elected government, do want us to remain. I'm struck by the fact that even the opposition wants us to remain. I found in the 1970s and '80s, when I visited countries which ha d repressive regimes where American troops were deployed, that the opposition invariably wanted the American troops out on the theory that that would weaken the government to which they were opposed. But in South Korea, even before the holding of the direc t presidential elections and estab- lishment of a much freer society, opposition leaders like Kim Dae Jung for example, made it very clear he did not want a departure of U.S. forces from Korea.



Roger Brooks: Good morning. I am Roger Brooks, Director of the Asian Studies Center. I am here this morning to introduce the fine array of panelists we have to address the prin- cipal issue of our conference. So many important ideas already have been expressed this morning about the situation o n the Korean Peninsula and I am sure so much will be said by our group of panelists about the prospects for ending Cold War tensions on the Peninsula. Those of us who follow events on the Korean Peninsula find ourselves far from fully satis- fied with the results of the meeting of prime ministers which took place in Seoul last week, although one cannot help being encouraged by the fact that the event took place at all. Many observers have been right to point out that reunification of the Korean Peninsula m o st likely will not come before radical political change transforms the North. Certainly, credit must be due to leaders in both Pyongyang and Seoul for agreeing to go forward with these talks and with a continuation of the dialogue, barring subsequent disa g reement, in Pyongyang next month. Still, I think that all of us here this morning look forward to the day when the North Korean leadership can, as President Roh put it in his announcement on the exchanges of Korean people on July 20, catch the "tide of op e nness and reconciliation" which has "tom away the Iron Curtain separating East and West." This is not going to be an easy task. It is difficult, if not impossible, for us to discern any kind of democratic movement or recognizable opposition inside the Nor t h, or, for that mat- ter, to get the inklings of a free and decentralized market inside the North. I am told, how- ever, by friends who have visited the North that the aspirations of North Koreans for a bet- ter life are the same as the aspirations of peo p le everywhere. For these and other reasons, I would caution those who wish to impose the so-called Ger- man model on the Korean Peninsula, although I and my colleagues at Heritage fully under- stand the real and deeply-felt aspirations of the Korean peopl e that someday the two Koreas might follow the German model of unification. To begin this morning's panel presentations, we are deeply honored to welcome Ambas- sador Hyun Hong-Choo, the Republic of Korea's Ambassador and Permanent Observer to the United N a tions. Ambassador Hyun is one of his country's foremost experts on the politi- cal situation on the Korean Peninsula, and has had wide-ranging experience in government and politics in the ROY, He was appointed to his current post in May 1990. Before that, he had held, among other roles, the position of Minister of Legislation (February 1988 to March 1990); Member of the Presidential Transition Committee (January 1988 to February 1988); Deputy Secretary- General of the Democratic Justice Party (DJP) (July 1 987 to January 1988); and Member of the National Assembly (January 1985 to April 1988). Ambassador Hyun has asked that he be able to present his views on this morning's subject from his perspective at the United Nations.


Following Ambassador Hyun will be Karl Spence Richardson, Director of the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State, a position he has held since August 1989. One of Washington's top experts on Korean issues, Spence Richardson spent many years in the U.S. Embassy in Seoul whe r e he was Deputy Section Chief of the Political Section (1978 to 1983). Mr. Richardson will be looking at today's issue from his own experience in this field in Foggy Bottom and as a U.S. diplomat in Seoul. Tbird on the panel this morning will be Brent Fra n zel. Mr. Franzel is Legislative Counsel to Senator Christopher Bond of Missouri. A lawyer by training who has worked in the Senate since December 1986, Mr. Franzel will be looking at our conference subject from his own study of the subject and from a cong r essional staff perspective. Wrapping up the panel discussion will be Daryl Plunk. Mr. Plunk, as Visiting Fellow and former Policy Analyst at Heritage's Asian Studies Center, has written and spoken on this subject in many journals and conferences both here and in Asia. Mr. Plunk began his work on Korean affairs over a decade ago, when from 1978 to 1980 he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Kyungsang Province in Korea. Mr. Plunk also is Vice President of the Richard V. Allen Company in Washington, D. C . I will now turn the podium over to Ambassador Hyun. Ambassador Hyun: 71ank you, Mr. Brooks and The Heritage Foundation, for giving me this opportunity to speak to you about my job at the United Nations and the meaning in the Korean context of all these c hanges around the world. I arrived in New York in late May of this year and these three-and-a-half months have been a quite interesting period, and very exciting one. Since August 2, we have seen dramatic developments in the Persian Gulf and have been abl e to observe how the United Nations is reacting to this crisis. Many lessons have been learned from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait about the role of the United Nations and the meaning of regional conflict in this age at the end of the Cold War. I think the f i rst lesson from the Gulf crisis is that the decline of the Cold War by no means suggests an end to regional conflict in all areas of the world, and the United Nations can really play a peacemaking role, as had been originally envisioned by its founders. T h e second lesson is that the peacekeeping role of the United Nations can only become viable when the national interests of the countries involved converge. Had it not been for the consensus reached among the nations involved, the reaction of the United Nat i ons could have been a lot slower. The prompt reaction, in my view, was possible simply because the national interests of those countries involved were similar, or even identical, in most cases. The third lesson we have learned is that if the United Nation s is going to be effective, there has to be some muscle, whether it is political muscle or military muscle. Without this muscle, United Nations resolutions remain the repetition of empty words at most. The fourth lesson which can be drawn from the Iraqi in v asion of Kuwait is the emergence of the United States - not the United Nations, but rather the United States, as the most cru- cial key to managing the world crisis. Had it not been for the United States' muscle, troops deployed in Saudi Arabia, the situa tion could have deteriorated further, and it could have


been a disaster. Many people are talking about the new U.N., but without the United States playing a significant role, I don't think there is a new U.N. From these four lessons, much can be appli ed to the Korean situation. From the first les- son, the fact that regional conflict is not dead but alive and well, we can illuminate the fact that the Korean Peninsula could be the best candidate for becoming the next flashpoint. North Korea, as you kno w , is well armed. It is stronger than Iraq militarily, and the pos- sibility is always there something might go wrong, even as the Cold War ends. And because of this, the United Nations, which was designed to be a peacemaking body, can have a very signific a nt role in preventing possible conflict on the Korean Peninsula. If there is any term like preventive diplomacy, Korea is the very area where that kind of diplomacy should be implemented. What the United Nations can do to prevent further con- flict on the Korean Peninsula is to let the two Koreas participate fully in the works of the United Nations. In other words, make the two Koreas full members. I'm not suggesting that U.N. membership of the two Koreas in and of itself would guarantee the peace and secu r ity of the Korean Peninsula. I would like to stress the fact that because the United Nations is an effective and institutionalized channel of communication between member states, if the two Koreas joined the United Nations, the channel of communication co u ld be utilized for meaningful dialogue between them. We are now engaging in various dialogues, but I think that the dialogue which can be engaged in in the quiet lobbies of the United Nations is the best one for genuine com- munication. And by so talking, we would be slowly building confidence in one another. Then if that happened, I think it would be a very significant breakthrough in North-South relations. Tle second lesson, if it is applied to Korea means that all national interests of the countries sur r ounding the Korean Peninsula should converge if we are to expect meaning- ful progress in resolving intra-Korean issues. In the case of Korea's membership in the U.N., I see no reason that any of the surrounding countries should oppose it. The United Stat e s has been the most ardent supporter of our membership at the U.N. for several decades, and we are grateful for that. And the United States' interest will be better served by having Korea become economically strong and politically mature, and by having it s security guaranteed. T'he peaceful situation which we can expect from the Koreas' simul- taneous U.N. membership will help achieve these goals. In the case of Japan, simply because of geographic proximity, it has no objection to Korea's becoming a stable country, and it too is supporting our membership at the U.N. As for China, it has no desire to see any armed conflict erupt again on the Korean Penin- sula. It is in its national interest to insure that the Korean Peninsula remains peaceful. If Korean mem b ership could contribute to the peaceful settlement of the Korean issue, China would have no reason to object to it. The Soviet Union is trying to establish diplomatic relations with us. I think the an- nouncement will come very soon, if we are to believe what has been reported by Soviet newspapers. It will come sometime, anyway. And it, of course, has no objection to the Koreas'membership.


Some member states have suggested that having the two Koreas simultaneously becom- ing members of the United Nati ons might perpetuate the division. I think that it goes against the precedent set by Germany. Germany, having enjoyed several years of simul- taneous membership, is now on the threshold of unification. So the second lesson concern- ing national interests, which is very important in making the U.N. feasible, is that all the countries involved have their national interests converge on this point of accepting the two Koreas' membership. Against the argument that it would perpetuate division, we say that it ra t her would facilitate unification. That is very clear from the experience of Germany. The third lesson we can learn from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. It is that we can provide some muscle to the United Nations if we become a full member. Even without bein g a full member, we felt honored - as well as embarrassed - when President Bush, in his press con- ference, named Korea, right after Japan and before West Germany, as countries to which he was sending two envoys, Secretary Baker and Secretary Brady, to ask financial coopera- tion for the management of the Gulf crisis. Even without membership, we will contribute. But if we become a member, I think Korean taxpayers will be much more comfortable in supporting the U.N. effort. The fourth lesson, which says the U nited States' role is a key one, is easily applied to the Korean situation. By having a strong show of support from the United States for Korea's membership - it has been its most ardent supporter - then most U.N. member states will feel more confident in supporting us. It could lead China, the last stumbling block to our ef- fort to gain membership, to change its mind. If the United States wants to achieve some- thing, we see that many things can be achieved. Well, that's my understanding of the lessons w e have learned from the Gulf crisis. And as a former United States Ambassador to the U.N. once noted, "The one peace dividend at the end of the Cold War will be a more effective United Nations." I think that her predic- tion is quite correct - this was mad e in 1988 - and I can assure you that, as a full member, the Republic of Korea could make a positive contribution to the United Nations, and make that peace dividend a little bit bigger. Perhaps not significantly bigger, but bigger. And I think it would be good for Korea, the United States, and the United Nations. Mr. Franzel: Ive been asked today to focus my comments on congressional action relat- ing to reunification and future options for U.S. policy makers on the Korean Peninsula. You've already had the opportunity to get a firsthand account of the congressional view- point from Congressman Solarz, one of the members who is most involved in U.S.-Korean matters. I certainly can't match his experience, but I'll try to build upon his comments by dis- cussin g some of the matters relating to Korea that have come before the Congress this year. Clearly all of these actions by Congress will affect developments on the Peninsula, and will affect U.S.-Korean relations. There has been little discussion in Congress so far this year regarding reunification or the meetings that have just taken place in Seoul. This is understandable., given the fact that Con- gress has not been around for most of the time that those talks were going on, and the fact that the attention of most members of Congress has been turned toward the Gulf. But a few individual members have taken the opportunity to comment on the activities that took place both last week and when President Roh made his July 20th speech. In state-


ments on the House floor, members of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Com- mittees have praised President Roh for his proposal to open the border to travel in August. Others have noted the recent move on behalf of the North, for the first time s ince 1954, to return some of the remains of U.S. soldiers, expressing hope that this will perhaps at some point lead to an improvement in relations between our two countries. Now that Congress has returned and is discussing these issues on the floor and i n commit- tee, I am sure we will hear many more members, both in the House and Senate, offer their support for the recently concluded talks and their hope for a continued, successful dialogue. As Congressman Solarz noted this morning, one issue of importan c e to Korea that has been a primary concern to many members of Congress over the past several years has been the continued presence of 40,000 U.S. troops in the South, and who should pay for them. There have been a number of calls over recent years for a w i thdrawal of some, or all, of the U.S. troops stationed in the South. Most supporters have cited budgetary concerns as the need for withdrawing troops, but others have suggested that the troops are no longer needed there. Underlying all of these calls has b een the suggestion that the United States should not be paying to base troops in South Korea at a time when that nation is running a large trade deficit with the United States. The Administration's announcement earlier this year that it would reduce the n u mber of U.S. troops in Korea by 7,000 as part of an overall force reduction, seems to have taken some of the pressure off these congressional efforts to cut troops. There were, for example, no efforts on the Senate floor this year during consideration of t he Defense Authorization Bill to cut troops, as there were last year. However, as Congressman Solarz noted, we are seeing an effort along that line in the House today, and we hope that it will not be success- ful. But it raises the fact that it is still a n issue of concern to many members of Congress, and one that will continue to be discussed. At the same time, it has been encouraging to see that there have been some actions taken in Congress to reaffirm the importance of a continued U.S. troop presence i n the South. Several members have gone to the floor over this during the past summer to express their view that the United States must maintain its commitment to the South's defense. Earlier this summer, the House passed a resolution unanimously expressing the sense of Congress that the United States remains firmly committed to its mutual defense treaty with the Republic of Korea. The sponsors of this measure - Congressman Solarz being the prin- cipal one - stated that their purpose in passing this resoluti o n was to make it clear to North Korea and the rest of the world that the planned troop withdrawal by the Administration did not signal any change in the U.S. policy toward Korea, or any wavering of the U.S. com- mitment to South Korea's defense. In additi o n, I believe that the recent events in the Gulf, specifically the unexpected in- vasion of Kuwait by Iraq, will act as a brake on most congressional efforts to pull additional troops out of Korea. The Gulf situation serves as a stark and constant reminder to all mem- bers of Congress that, despite the changes we have seen in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the world remains a dangerous place, and the United States must be prepared to respond at a moment's notice to regional threats, such as the one th at we see on the Korean


Peninsula. I'm hopeful that members of the House will remember that as they go to vote on the withdrawal amendment today on the floor. At the same time, there continue to be calls in Congress for South Korea, along with other c ountries including Japan and some European countries, to contribute more toward the cost of basing American troops overseas. Pressure for increased burden sharing will only grow as budget pressures in the United States increase. As Senator John McCain, a R epublican member of the Armed Services Committee, stated earlier this year: "The politi- cal realities of the situation are simple. Ile United States can only maintain a stable presence in the region if Japan and South Korea take advantage of their growin g economic strength to help offset the cost of the disproportionate military efforts of the United States." It is important to note, of course, that Korea has recently announced steps to increase its portions of the costs of keeping U.S. troops there. That action, combined with a substantial lowering of the trade deficit with the United States, seems to me likely to go a long way toward easing congressional pressure on this issue. However, I believe the Korean government should not be lulled into a false se n se of con- fidence by these recent moves. Burden sharing remains, and will remain, a significant issue in Congress, one that rings true with the folks back home, and therefore one that is not like- ly to fade anytime in the near future. In fact, the burde n -sharing debate has taken on a new twist in recent weeks, as the United States has scrambled to gain international support for its efforts in the Gulf. President Bush, as we all know, has issued strong calls to all nations to support the U.S. effort with t roops, with economic assistance, and both if possible. Members of Congress have already begun to look very carefully at how individual nations are responding to that effort, and some have begun casting a critical eye at South Korea. Just yesterday, for ex a mple, in introducing an amendment in support of President Bush's effort to enlist the aid of other countries in the Gulf, Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona noted that while most countries are responding to Bush's call for assistance, some rich countries can do more. And he specifically cited Japan and South Korea as two examples. He noted that South Korea relies heavily on oil imported from the Gulf, and he said that Korea could do more to help, including sending troops, sending additional transport, and in- creasing aid to the region. There is a feeling among many members of Congress that the United States should not continue to bear the entire cost of military actions that help our allies as much as, if not more than, the United States, the effort to pr o tect Gulf shipping being the most recent ex- ample. And I believe members of Congress will watch very closely in the coming months to see how individual nations respond to the current situation, and they will not soon forget who was helpful, and who was n o t. T'hough this concern is not directed solely at South Korea, it is clear that that country is in for close scrutiny by some members of Congress. Finally, I'd like to touch on one additional issue which has been of interest to Congress this year - the Ko r ean fighter program. The South's decision to purchase 120 F/A- 18 Homet fighter aircraft, which will be co-produced with McDonnell Douglas, has drawn the atten- tion of several members of Congress, many of whom believe that the planes should be bought off the shelf, rather than produced partly in the United States and partly in Korea.


Senator Alan Dixon, a Democrat of Illinois, has been the leader of those who have sought to put roadblocks in the path of the deal. He has expressed concerns that the de al will help Korea build an aerospace industry with which the United States would then have to com- pete. He has taken several actions, most recently in August, when he offered, and then withdrew, an amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization Bill whic h would have set aside the normal process for considering arms sales and would have instead required Con- gress to pass a resolution approving the sale. Senator Dixon has indicated his intention to raise this issue later this fall. Those supporting the Kor e an fighter deal and opposing Dixon's efforts to raise obstacles, including my boss, Senator Bond, have argued that the deal is a good one for both Korea and the United States, pointing out that the United States will gain almost $4 billion in ex- ports to Korea which will, of course, help us with our trade deficit, and that Korea will get an important weapons system that will go far towards strengthening its defensive capabilities. In the end, I believe Congress will allow the Korean fighter program to go f orward. This is important to the United States-Republic of Korea relationship, because it will further solidify our defense relationship; it will put a large dent in our problematic trade deficit with Korea; and it will allow the Koreans to play a larger r ole in the defense of their nation. In summary, I would say that although there continue to be some isolated issues on which members of Congress will see the need to continue to put pressure on Korea, the issue of burden sharing being the most obvious one , Congress will remain strong in its support for Korea. It will remain firmly committed to the United States' defense role there, and the Congress will over the years serve a positive role in support of the South's efforts to achieve peace and to achieve r e unification. Mr. Richardson: Thank you, Roger - and I'd also like to thankThe Heritage Foundation. I was here not quite a year ago, just before President Roh's visit to Washington, and I think it's terrific what organizations like The Heritage Foundation h ave done to encourage public dialogue and understanding of America's foreign policy. Today I want to talk about the U.S. government's perception of the so-called Nordpolifik, or South Korea's opening to the Communist and socialist countries, and about U.S . policy toward North Korea. We are all well aware of the scope and structure of South Korea's economic miracle. These economic, political, and diplomatic advances have been matched by a concurrent period of economic decline, political confusion, and diplo m atic reversal in the Communist world. This has given the Republic of Korea the opportunity to expand its ties with its former adversaries, especially China and the Soviet Union. Dubbed "Nordpolitik, " this initiative dates from about two years ago, and ha s drastically altered the frame of reference in North-South relations. The North Korea diplomatic universe has been turned upside down, and the pressures on an already troubled and weak economy have been intensified. Increasingly hindered by low capital in vestment, rigid management, a military budget consuming over 20 percent of its GNP, the North has fallen into virtual stagnation.


Isolation increasingly has described Pyongyang's diplomatic position. The former Eastern bloc has rushed to embrace Seo ul, depriving Pyongyang's counterbalance to South Korea's numerous diplomatic links with the West. The Soviets and the Chinese remain linked to Pyongyang by security agreements and trade, and for the time being, membership in the communist club; but the h a rd facade of Socialist solidarity has been cracked by economic self-interest. I believe that last week's prime ministerial talks took place largely because of the success of Nordpolilik over the past couple of years. South Korea had the confidence to host the meeting and make concessions. As Congressman Solarz said, once the North had proposed a border opening, the South went them one better. The Republic of Korea is increasingly confident. It can be confident of the backing of its allies, especially the U n ited States. It can be confident that the national debate over reunification and North-South relations will not seriously threaten the country's political in- stitutions. Were the talks a success? Although no agreements were signed, the mere occurrence of the talks was a major step in South-North dialogue. The prime ministers are scheduled to meet again in Pyongyang in mid-October. Who knows? Maybe there will at last occur a meaningful dialogue between the two Koreas. Although the principal context of U.S. policy toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the U.S. security commitment to the Republic of Korea, Nordpolitik has also shaped U.S. and thinking toward the Korean Peninsula. We have supported Nordpolitik from the very first, and we w e re proud to play the modest role of supplying a venue for the historic June meeting between Presidents Roh and Gorbachev. Nordpolitik's successes have also underlined our support for Korean unification. Some in Korea say that they doubt that U.S. really s u pports the unification of the two Koreas. Let me state that the U.S. unequivocally supports the peaceful reunification of North and South on terms that are acceptable to all Koreans. This is simple, this is clear, and this is American policy. In October 1 9 88, in support of President Roh's July 7, 1988, opening to the North, and be- cause it is in the joint U.S.-Korean interests to draw North Korea out of its isolation, the United States took four steps. This package remains in force. First, we now encourag e unofficial, nongovernmental visits from the DPRK in academic, sports, cultural and other areas. We have granted visas to several North Korea academic and religious delegations. More delegations will visit this year. Two, to facilitate the travel of U.S. c itizens to the DPRK, the U.S. now permits travel ser- vices to North Korea on a case-by-case basis, such as those travelling for academic and fami- ly reunion purposes. Three, trade regulations have been revised to permit commercial exports from the DPRK o f goods that meet basic human needs, such as food, clothing, medicines, and other sup- plies. Four, U.S. diplomats may hold substantive discussions with DPRK counterparts in neutral settings. My boss and I and the people on the Korea desk have spoken to N orth


Koreans either here in Washington or, most recently in my case, in a seminar at Stanford University. The U.S. and the North Korea political counselors in Beijing have held eleven meetings since December 1988. We find these contacts useful and h ope that they will lead to an in- creased mutual understanding, and perhaps eventually to improved relations. Since announcing the October 1988 package, we have waited for reciprocation. We have suggested areas in which the DPRK could make a positive resp o nse. We would like to see progress in South-North dialogue, the conclusion of a nonproliferation treaty safeguards agreement, return of war remains, military confidence-building measures, an end to anti- U.S. slander, and credible assurances that Pyongyan g does not support terrorism. We have not said that these are preconditions to improve relations, or that they must all be satisfied at once. When North Korea takes positive steps toward better relations, we, for our part, will take further steps. Let me j u st mention a couple of the issues on the North Korea conclusion of a nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is of great con- cem to us. By signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1985, North Korea incurred an obliga- tion to apply L4,EA safeguards. Application of international safeguards, and full disclosure of fissile material would help satisfy international concerns - not just of the U.S., but of all countries - about North Korea's nuclear energy program. T h e North Korea conclusion and implementation of a safeguards agreement would be seen by us, and by other countries, as a very positive step. We made it clear to North Korea that we welcomed the return of five sets of war remains, presented to Congressman S o nny Montgomery through the Military Armistice Commis- sion. Return of war remains is an obligation North Korea assumed when it signed the Armi- stice agreement. We have provided North Korea with maps and diagrams of burial sites, and we would like to see t he return of the remains of all who fought in the Korean conflict. On confidence-building measures, North Korea academicians with close ties to the government - in most cases, they are in the government - have held detailed discussions with American schol a rs. And we can all be pleased at the manner in which confidence- building measures figured in the just-completed prime ministerial talks. Terrorism is a very difficult issue to resolve. We are not asking for an act of contrition on the part of North Korea , but we do expect a credible promise that the North does not sup- port terrorism. By law, a country cannot be taken off the so-called terrorist list unless the President certifies that its record has been clean for the past six months, and it has given as - surances that it does not support terrorism. Politically, the requirements are probably tougher, since Congress would have to be persuaded to consent to the Administration's decision to redesignate a country that has no constituents in Washington. Our Oc tober 1988 initiative was not taken with the expectation that it would spark quick, major changes in DPRK policy matters. Ile question remains, how to induce North Korea to reciprocate this initiative?


North Korea officials tell journalists they have reciprocated by engaging in exchanges with mainstream U.S. academicians and by seeking high level contacts. We have told Pyon- gyang we seek steps that are more durable on issues of U.S. interest, especiall y in the security area. Ixt me make it clear. We have never said that these are preconditions for improving DPRK-U.S. relations. The North Koreans should realize that positive, as well as negative, actions on their part will prompt a proportionate U.S. res p onse. Meanwhile, U.S. policy toward North Korea remains consistent. We applaud the success of the prime ministerial meetings in Seoul, and South Korea's Nordpolitik. We hope that Seoul and Pyongyang will continue toward what would be a meaningftil dialogu e . The U.S. will stay the course. We will support our South Korea allies while at the same time being ready to improve relations with North Korea. We are willing to do what we can, although the two Koreas are the principal players to bring about the peacef u l unification of Korea. Mr. Plunk: There is perhaps no communist country in the world that has been a stronger holdout in the wave of economic and political reform sweeping through much of the com- munist world than the repressive regime in North Korea. I n the capital of Pyongyang, the longest ruling Communist tyrant, Kim Il Sung, imposes what is probably the world's most isolated and repressive political system upon his people. Furthermore, North Korea maintains a formidable military force, whose forward d eploy- ment and offensive capability pose a continuing threat to the Republic of Korea, and American soldiers are stationed there with the mission of deterring possible North Korean aggression. Of great concern are credible reports that the North is pursu i ng a nuclear weapons development program. So, for all these reasons, and many more, the Korean Peninsula is one of the last remain- ing Cold War hot spots in the world. Last week, Seoul and Pyongyang held a series of meetings between their respective prim e ministers, an encouraging development which represents the highest level contact ever be- tween the two sides. While no significant progress resulted from this first round of talks, it is perhaps a sign that the North is feeling the effects of its growin g isolation and the interna- tional opposition to its longstanding intransigence at the bargaining table. I was struck by the many interesting reports from Seoul about the prime ministerial sum- mit. I was reminded of an incident in 1985 during the last ro u nd of high-level talks. On their way to a bargaining session in Seoul, several North Korean officials were delayed in one of the ROK capital's infamous traffic jams. The Northerners began complaining to their South Korean colleagues in the front seat, and finally accused them of bringing all the cars in the country into Seoul just to impress the North Korean delegation. One of the South Koreans in the front seat turned around and said, "Geez. That was noth- ing. You should have seen how difficult it was to bring all of these skyscrapers here." The obstacles which have for years impeded productive dialogue remain formidable. They include sharp differences over the process of achieving reunification itself. Con- gressman Solarz made a very good point about th is conflicting stance. The North has taken


an all-or-nothing approach and calls for enormous initial steps, such as its confederation for- mula. Similarly, it has proposed sweeping arms and troop cuts without first allowing for agreements on basic c onfidence-building measures. Seoul's formula aims first at achieving basic confidence-building measures, such as bor- der openings and expanded North-South trade. These fundamental measures would lead to gradual tension reduction and pave the way for a co n sideration of the more contentious political and military issues. Rightly, I believe, Seoul stresses that this gradual approach is the more realistic way to reduce the high degree of tension between the two sides. Throughout the past forty years, Kim Il S u ng's policies toward the South have not been aimed at fostering good faith negotiations, but rather at eventually dominating the entire Peninsula under his rule. Kim has tolerated sporadic dialogue with Seoul when it has suited his purposes. Over the year s , for instance, the timing of North Korean policy initiatives appears to have been designed either to bolster the North's sagging international image, or score points during periods of political instability in Seoul. Pyongyang's repeated use of violence a n d military force against its rival, beginning with the 1950 invasion of the Republic of Korea, also lends credence to the charge that it's simply n

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