Comprehensive Approach Reconvention of Six Party Talks Cannot Solve

[imText1]Professor Aaron Friedberg of Princeton University and former advocate to U.S. Vice-president Dick Cheney stated at a U.S. congress hearing on the 21st that changes in North Korean policy can only be seen by exerting pressure. He asserted that “The financial measures taken by the U.S. one year ago, has proven effective in engaging North Korea’s interest.”

As an advocate for Vice-president Cheny who is responsible for the U.S. North Korea policy, these comments have received much scrutiny as it is seen to be setting the tone for the current Bush Administration. Professor Freidberg also said that by persuading countries like China to cooperate, will increase further pressures on North Korea.

Basically, he is saying that the Bush Administration has succeeded in engaging North Korea by depleting it’s wallet through aggressive foreign policy. Here he mentioned holding yet another card, the U.N North Korea resolution. He refers to the two-track pressure of economic sanctions and embargos on military weapons. It appears that this double-edged sword is trying to stop the treacherous acts by the North and pressure North Korea to reconvene in the six-party talks.

Following North Korea’s missile launch, the U.S. began having increasing doubts in regards to resolving the nuclear issue through talks and thus used the double-edged sword for a different purpose. However, it seems that the U.S. is still making painstaking efforts. While North Korea still possesses nuclear weapons and the U.S. tries to obstruct this, preparations need to be made as there is a possibility that the two fundamental ideals may clash. This is what will accelerate North Korea from within.

In recognition of this and the U.S. position, the agreement of the ‘Joint Comprehensive Approach’ by South Korea-U.S. will inevitably be different. As we can see through the discussions made at the summit in regards to President Roh’s BDA investigation, it appears that the South Korean government is interested in pacifying North Korea policies with U.S. concession. On the other side, it appears that the U.S. aware of this, is always open to discussing basic fundamentals.

Until now and prior to the six-party talks, the comprehensive approach premeditated by the South Korean government was pacifying measures to propel the U.S.-North Korea bilateral talks and prevent proliferation of financial sanctions. The present list for North Korea could even be specified in the case North Korea did rejoin the six-party talks.

However the chances of North Korea being interested in the bilateral talks or present list are low. For now, the U.S. approach to induce participation in the talks is by using a whip, yet North Korea seems to be considering the financial measures as a tool to destruct the system. Whenever an opportunity arises, North Korean authorities continue to profess ‘We cannot go to the talks wearing a penalty hat.’

Since the missile launch, it seems that North Korea is no longer showing any dependence on China and South Korea’s arbitration. As U.S. Assistant secretary Christopher Hill known in the U.S. for his negotiations articulated, the talks must rely on North Korea surrendering nuclear weapons. When political circumstances are considered, South Korea’s comprehensive approach can be deliberated as being a degenerative and ineffective idea like the idea to ‘express ideals to surrender nuclear weapons and 2mn kw of transmission.’

Rather the Korean government claims that the proposal will strengthen the current situation long term and aid North Korea’s endurance. The Korean government believes that it would be better to delay reconvening the six-party talks.

The main issue is North Korea. If North Korea adheres its opinion that the U.S. withdraws precedence from the financial sanctions, South Korea’s comprehensive approach will be disregarded and the idle six-party talks unavoidable.