(July 17 – 19, 2001)
TOPIC: PROMOTING CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA
North Korea is a humanitarian problem wrapped in a political problem.
The North Korean government’s main goal is survival of the regime and the current system.
North Korea must reform to survive, but at the same time reform if not carefully managed threatens its survival.
Despite the attention given to Pyongyang’s recent diplomatic initiatives and economic experiments, North Korea’s domestic and foreign policies have not dramatically changed.
Members of the group agreed Seoul’s “sunshine policy” is constructive, and expressed hope that it would continue beyond the Kim Dae Jung Administration.
Pyongyang suspects some of its neighbors want to destroy the regime.
North Korea is relying on handouts rather than restructuring its economy.
At the moment, Pyongyang resists following the Chinese model.
Some North Korean actions have been counterproductive even with respect to the country’s own interests.
For example, Pyongyang has tried to trade threats for aid. While this strategy is partly a function of Korean culture, it has generated ill will in the West.
Chinese tend to believe the USA must make concessions; the USA, Japan and South Korea believe North Korea must make concessions.
North Korean military forces are insufficient to protect the security of the regime. North Korea needs economic interdependence as well.
Alleviate North Korea’s sense of external threat.
Help train and educate the generation of technocrats North Korea will need to successfully reform.
Separate political issues from humanitarian and economic assistance.
China and the United States should put aside differences on other issues to cooperate on Korea, where they have common goals.
Neither China nor the USA opposes Korean reunification, but both believe the process should be gradual to be successful.