Bruce Klingner on How to Make Reciprocity a Reality
Writing in today’s Korea Herald, Bruce Klingner gives some recommendations to Lee Myung Bak for making his North Korea policy more effective and better coordinated with the Six-Party Talks:
President Lee, therefore, should more clearly delineate the linkages between South Korea’s current and future economic incentives and the concrete steps that North Korea must take toward nuclear compliance. He should condition the planned expansion of Gaeseong to successful completion of Phase II of the six-party talks, including a viable data declaration and rigorous verification regime. His administration should distinguish between those October 2007 Korean summit proposals that provide direct economic benefit to Seoul and those that are politically motivated, linking the latter to defined benchmarks in North Korean economic and political reform. No new projects should be initiated, including those from the summit, without clearly defined linkage.
Lee should downplay outgoing President Roh Moo-hyun’s emphasis on peace treaty negotiations and instead insist that they occur no sooner than successful completion of Phase II of the six-party talks. The proposal for a Northeast Asian security forum is also a distracter from the real issue, i.e. North Korean denuclearization. In inter-Korean relations, the new administration should also emphasize that the Northern Limit Line is the inter-Korean maritime boundary and that South Korea’s sovereignty will not be abrogated through vague and one-sided “peace zones.”
South Korea, the United States, and Japan now have the opportunity to more closely integrate their initiatives toward North Korea in order to enhance negotiating leverage for securing Pyongyang’s full denuclearization. A more responsible policy would include Seoul joining the Proliferation Security Initiative, monitoring North Korean airborne and maritime shipments, and interdicting any suspicious shipments. It would also be useful for Seoul to condition its unilateral aid to North Korea with the action-for-action requirements of the multilateral six-party talks process. South Korea should adopt World Food Program monitoring standards to ensure Pyongyang does not divert humanitarian assistance.
President Lee must also define the degree to which South Korea’s engagement policy will incorporate human rights issues. Seoul should accede to U.N. resolutions condemning North Korean human rights abuses, demand that Pyongyang discuss its continued retention of 500 South Korean prisoners of war and 400 South Korean post-Korean War abductees, and insist upon enhancing the scope and pace of separated family reunions.