China Must Turn Its Back from North Korea

[imText1]The Daily NK met Michael Horowitz, senior fellow of Hudson Institute, who had a keynote speech for the understanding of the “Regime change” on December 7, 2004 in Seoul. He is well-known for drafting the North Korea Human Rights Act and having a part in the Bush administration’s foreign policies. Analysts say he imposes dominating influence in the making of Neo-con policies towards North Korea. The Daily NK met Michael Horowitz to hear his insights on the President Roh Moo Hyun’s recent speech on North Korean nuclear issues and the American government perspective on North Korea.

Q: What was the purpose of your visit this time?

Well, I want to share some of my experiences with the North Korean Human Rights Act, about American policy towards North Korea, where I think the world is headed and finally, how these remarkable teachers of Roh Moo Hyun fit into this whole picture, and how these pictures have isolated South Korea terribly and how these pictures are inconsistent with the tradition of greatness of South Korea.

I think there is no bigger admirer of South Korea than me. I sometimes think Americans have greater admiration for the greatness of South Korea than South Koreans themselves. They are always apologizing or worrying about whether they are puppets of the United States or pleasing China or whatever when I see South Korea as a great model for the rest of the world. In less than 50 years they have developed a modern economy and culture and a democracy. Someone ought to tell the Koreans how powerful and wonderful they really are and how important it is, not just for them but for the rest of us, that they act in the spirit of their own traditions.

Q: Regarding President Roh Moo Hyun’s speech he said three things. One, he said NK is showing an attitude of reform and open door policy; two, that NK will not collapse; and three, if NK were to collapse, it would create a conflict between the US and North Korea. We were wondering what you think.

One, the question regarding NK changing: he can’t say that because we don’t yet have feelings about better life in the gulags. What we are seeing in NK, are blatant posters that say, “Death to Kim Jong Il.” People are openly raising dissent.

Secondly, well that’s the saddest of all (that President Roh thinks the regime would not collapse) because every other country except for South Korea is actively planning for or anticipating collapse of NK, Including and perhaps especially China, their so-called friend.

The Chinese would love to see Kim Jong Il stay in power and have his son control and his son and his son after that. The Chinese are very calculating, it’s the least ideological country in the world. If the cost of sustaining this regime is greater in value than keeping it in business, the Chinese will abandon Kim Jong Il as quickly as you can imagine.

I am certain as we speak now, the Chinese are discussing which general they are going to look to, maybe, tragically, talking about taking over North Korea as a new kind of Tibet, but Roh Moo Hyun’s idea that he and China will stay shoulder to shoulder is superfluous and far from the truth as impossible to death? So what I see, around the world and more in the last three months than I’ve ever seen before which explains these frantic speeches is that the world understands and is assisting in the collapse of Kim Jong Il. I will put it this way, suppose tomorrow…there’s a film called “A Day in the Life of a Gulag” which shows those pictures of murder, torture, the starvation in these prison jails: do you think North Korea will survive? Public opinion of the United States, Japan, England, throughout the world, would be overwhelming and the Chinese would understand that they were stuck with a loser.

Again as I said in the first place, hold this one as Roh Moo Hyun can hold back the truth from reality of life in North Korea can even fantasize about the regime staying in power that my only judgment is the regime, I wont pick a time but, the time is very short for the regime and I think the generals are the same.

Q. How will American pressure influence Chinese attitude towards North Korea?

I guess the other point is the relevance of the North Korean Human Rights Act is not only that America is now dead-set against another Framework Agreement which gives Kim Jong Il billions of dollars in exchange for these promises, but the fact that the law passed is so overwhelming with such powerful American coalitions that sends a signal to China that America will place increasingly heavy costs on China in terms of its relationship to the US if it continues to keep Kim Jong Il in power: the cost in terms of the Olympic games, tariffs and trade, and so forth. China’s scared so that China’s looking for the success right now. Kim Jong Il’s worshipping is looking to make love to the corpse and everybody else’s figuring out what tomorrow’s going to look like.

Q. What do you think about Roh Moo Hyun government policies towards North Korea?

There’s more I could say but one of the reasons because South Korea is not even in the talks, then I get the last question, what about the disaster of North Korean collapse here. Well, South Korean policy is ensuring that it will be a disaster rather than over it. If the six-way talks were not focused on the silly business on how keep Kim Jong Il in power, which nobody believes it’s going to happen, its how much and how we give money to Kim Jong Il, which isn’t going to happen; but instead they are sitting around thinking, “what kind of picture is there?”

It would be harder for China to pick a general and march into Pyongyang to help the people. It would be less likely that we would have a complete, overnight collapse and overnight unification. People could be thinking about which generals and form what kind of government- who could be encouraged to take over power in that country and then we could talk about a phased, orderly unification process. But because North Korea and because South Korea just refuse that, saying that “ah, he’s going to live for thousand years,” ignoring all this planning that is going outside. If Roh Moo Hyun had come and say “look, we hope for democracy in North Korea. But if that happens overnight in that primitive society becomes a modern society the cost would be enormous.” It would be a broad support and sharing burden would be United States.

The very groups who passed the Human Rights Act would be saying let’s give 100 trillion won to help ease the burden. Now, that it’s so alienated that United States and others that if the collapse occurs, and it will, there will be less opportunity and less support for the kinds of burden-sharing that would otherwise be appropriate.

Q In terms of how Bush administration for his second term, which policy do you think should be applied?

I don’t care. As far as North Korean policies are concerned, it doesn’t matter to me if Bush or Kerry is elected because what’s really important is that coalitions of Americans are insisting that not a penny be given to the gulags. Policies are driven by the people, Not by the New York Times not by the government, not by anyone. The policy is made by the people and the policy is one of human rights, the policy is one of isolating Kim Jong Il, the policy is no military action in North Korea but understanding that the collapse of this regime like the collapse of the Soviet Union, like the collapse apartheid of South Africa, that it’s entirely possible and desirable.

Q. So you think the policy is one of human rights rather than military force?

Military force is off the table. It’s absolutely off the table. There’s no chance what so ever… My objection to Roh Moo Hyun’s policy is I think it will lead into a war because dictators end up /wind up getting into a war as suppose to youth, the yearnings for freedom that exist inside the country which collapses this dictatorship- that’s history going on for a century, for the last twenty-thirty years