[imText1]The six party talks started at last. The participating countries of the six party talks held preparatory meeting on July 25th, opening on the 26th, and held the first general meeting on the 27th.
The three six party talks previously held had the general meeting immediately following the opening ceremony. As the result, the meetings mainly had each country read out country statement and ended only with checks on differences of each other’s positions.
If we consider the six party talks as “blind date in group,” it was like having a time to introduce oneself after the opening ceremony. In such a case, if one spend about ten minutes in introduction and the other five ask one question each, the time flies by. In the previous meetings, the six countries did the “introduction going around” and their first day ended.
For this reason, they had a day in between the opening and the first general meeting. It was planned in calculation that the participants of the talks would naturally greet and introduce to one another if they are let loose in the hall, unless they have separate plans. Holding a general meeting a day after building acquaintance was the method for the six party talks currently held.
The participating countries had various bilateral talks including ROK-DPRK, US-DPRK, and ROK-China. They also met a day before the opening ceremony. Sitting down on the sofa outside the conference hall or standing outside the hall, the participants naturally exchanged their views. Then the country statement started on the 27th.
US says A → Z, North Korea says Z → A
The country statements taht called for much attention were with no doubt those from the US and North Korea. In conclusion, there is no progress made from the last six party talks. The only difference may be the relatively softened use of language compared to harsh expressions previously used. Some assertions on principles previously clearly expressed are now expressed more vaguely and ambiguously.
The US confirmed that it is holding the same position as “the June proposal,” and North Korea also holds the same position as before. Actually, North Korea’s demands on dismantlement (armament reduction) conference and building peace regime “as a nuclear state” are a level up now. The US insinuated the possibility putting human rights and missile issues on the agenda as well.
When we look at suggested solutions provided by the US and North Korea, we can see that the order of suggestions are reversed between the two countries. While the US argues for ‘A to Z’ method, the North argues for ‘Z to A’ method.
● US suggested Solution for the North Korean Nuclear (based on the June Proposal)
North Korea’ s Nuclear Abandonment Statement
○ Completely freeze all nuclear activities
○ Report on nuclear program and facilities
○ Nuclear inspections
○ Dismantlement of all the nuclear facilities
Multilateral Security Assurance for Potential Threat against North Korea
Provide heavy oil, electricity, and economic assistance
○ Gradational Nuclear Dismantlement
○ Security Assurance Assessment for North Korea
○ Non-nuclear energy assistance
○ Verification of dismantlement of nuclear facilities
○ Building a continuous inspection system
○ Discussion for the removal North Korea from the list of terrorist countries
○ Discussion on lifting economic sanctions
○ Discussion on normalization of the diplomatic relations
● Solution for the North Korean Nuclear suggested by North Korea (based on the country statement of July 27)
○ Legal and systematic measure for building trust between the US and DPRK
○ Peaceful Coexistence (US’s withdrawal of desire for regime change in North Korea )
○ Unconditional non-use of nuclear as a warrant
US, South Korea
○ Nuclear Weapons Dismantlement within South Korea and Ban of nuclear weapons entry in South Korea
○ Withdrawal from providing nuclear umbrella
○ Compensation for the economic losses
As we can see on the above tables, the US and South Korea consider North Korea’s nuclear dismantlement as a precondition. It means that the US and South Korea will undertake actions (such as providing heavy oil) once North Korea declares nuclear dismantlement (prior to any actions) and meanwhile undertakes the gradational steps for North Korea’s nuclear dismantlement.
The nuclear solution process aims for “US-DPRK normalization of diplomatic relations”
However, North Korea starts with a reversed order. The North suggests US-DPRK peaceful coexistence, whose expression actually means that the US will not attack North Korea, and suggests the establishment of legal and systematic measures to assure it. North says this is the start; the end is the nuclear dismantlement.
US says, “North Korea’s nuclear possession is the problem,” North Korea says, “American hostility towards the North is the problem”
Such difference in the position is based on the differences of perspective, what the two believes to be the origin of the North Korean nuclear crisis.
US-DPRK Differences of Perspective
○ Started from North Korea’s secret nuclear development
○ Believes North Korea is determined for nuclear possession
○ What is important is North Korea’s nuclear dismantlement and abandonment
○ Started from American accusations
○ Believes US is determined to attack North Korea
○ What is important is abandonment of hostile policy toward North Korea and desire for regime change in North Korea
The US believes the current nuclear crisis started from North Korea’s nuclear development effort which spurred from the HEU program, thus insists that the start of the nuclear problem solution must be North Korea’s clear statement of nuclear dismantlement and the actions to be followed accordingly.
On the other hand, North Korea argues that the current crisis started from American accusations concerning nuclear development which did not even take place, and justifies the possession of nuclear weapons as a defense against such American hostility. Therefore, the start of the solution must be sought with abandonment of hostility toward North Korea and providing regime assurance from American part. Since now that it possesses nuclear weapons, it argues that it must be recognized as a nuclear state and holding of a dismantlement talks with the US.
The Six-Party Talks for Northing if the Parallel Confrontation Continues
The currently ongoing talks assured us of differences in perspectives between the parties and that solving the North Korean nuclear is not at all easy. The US suggested an alternative that if North Korea declares nuclear dismantlement, the US will provide a security assurance in text form and by openly describing North Korea as a sovereign state, showing that it recognizes North Korean regime.
Thus North Korea has the key, but it is still resisting to open the huge gift box which will be opened only by “nuclear dismantlement declaration.” Yet is it still insisting on unrealizable demands such as withdrawal of American providence of nuclear umbrella to South Korea. South Korea, as a member of the NPT, receives nuclear protection from the US, on the condition that it will not develop nuclear weaponry. North Korea’s demand for the US to stop providing South Korea with nuclear umbrella means to cut off the US-ROK relations.
Despite the high expectations of the 4th six party talks, if the parallel confrontation between the US and North Korea continues, the voice for “good for nothing theory” will inevitably increase.