An Open Letter to President Obama
Peaceful Policies toward North Korea; the Campaign Promises You Made to Korean Americans
Dear President Obama, your surprise announcement on December 17, 2014 pronouncing the normalization of the U.S. relationship with Cuba was not much of a surprise at all to many Korean Americans, who worked hard for your election during your first campaign for the White House by forming a political action committee called “Korean Americans for Change Political Action Committee” (KACPAC).
This is because one of their major motivations supporting your candidacy during the time was your repeatedly publicized clear commitment to dialogue and negotiation with countries that are at odds with U.S., namely Cuba and North Korea. Many progressive Korean Americans at that time were of the opinion that, the tensions present in the Korean peninsula during that time; our fading hope for re-unification; and the emergence of a nuclear North, all stemmed from the Bush Administration’s harsh and unrealistic policy toward North Korea. Thus, your election campaign promises, spelled hope for the beginning of a bright future in the Korean peninsula.
After your entry to White House, the hopes and expectations of Korean American supporters were heightened when they heard your Berlin Speech on world denuclearization and saw you being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, since then, there have been continuing disappointments as we observed your North Korea policy, called “Strategic Patience” which was recently tied to your so called “Asia Pivot Policy,” which, of course is your U.S.-China policy.
In terms of your policy toward North Korea, sanctions and embargos were tightened; dangerous military maneuvers were held seasonally right at the doorsteps of North Korea, including flights of nuclear bombers near North Korean air space. Almost every channel of contact with North Koreans, official or otherwise, has been closed from our end. Humanitarian aid, including food aid to the North Korean people, has been discontinued.
This dangerous hard-line policy observed by our government, led by you, was paralleled by the appearance of a conservative South Korean regime led by Myung-bak Lee, later followed by a second conservative Geun-hye Park two years ago. The pressure of these two right-wing conservatives has heightened the possibility of war in the peninsula again; a prospect that should not be even imagined.
Dear President Obama, the progressive Korean Americans who supported your candidacy in the past, still look upon you as a U.S. president who can play a peacemaker’s role in Korean peninsula and make a difference in the future of Korea. They still believe that you could carry out initiatives to bring about dialogue, negotiation and reconciliation in the relationship between our country, United States and North Korea.
Unlike Cuba, the improved relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) has a great potential to benefit Korean Americans and all Americans. One of the most important benefits would be to end the 70-year old enmity between the two countries, which started with an armistice agreement and no peace treaty after the Korean War. A peace treaty and diplomatic normalization between the U.S. and the DPRK would allow the DPRK to reduce its defense spending and move on with its economic agenda.
We all recall the fact that, in 1994, the two countries came very close to achieving this mutually-beneficial goal in the form of the “Agreed Framework” signed in Geneva during the last U.S. democratic administration under President Clinton. At that time, North Korea’s number-two man visited the White House and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang. We urge you to act so that this level of diplomatic normalization and civil discourse can be achieved once again.
The following statistics on North Korea are being provided to you to show why the country is in such a tight economic bind, and how liberation from external threats, most of them coming from the U.S., is needed in order to restore the economy and shift resources from defense spending to fulfilling human needs:
DPRK is about the size of the state of Maine, (approximately same size as South Korea), but has 24 million people, about half the population of South Korea, whose people are ethnically identical to the people in the South. The combined total Korean population of 72 million in the peninsula, is about that of Italy. North Korea’s GDP is estimated at $33 billion (about 1/30 of South Korea) and three percent of the U.S. GDP. North Korea spends 30 percent of its GDP on her national defense, the highest rate in the world. South Korea spends about five percent of its GDP on national defense, but that amount is four times what North Korea spends.
Further, North Korea has 1.2 million men in arms (South Korea, about 650,000) and has acquired an obviously expensive nuclear arms capability based on both plutonium and uranium technology. However, unlike the U.S. and other nuclear countries, North Korea labels its nuclear technology as a “Force of Deterrence,” not as an offensive weapon system. Its leaders have repeatedly declared that their nuclear force is no threat to any countries except those who threaten them, like us, the United States..
These series of statistics on North Korea provides an almost self-explanatory reason why the country is in such a tight economic bind, and why loosening it requires liberation from external threats, sanctions, and embargoes, most of them imposed by the U.S. over the past 70 long years!
Dear President Obama, in spite of this political, military and economic isolation, the DPRK has sustained its national integrity, and its model socialist political and economic system has emerged intact, after 70 years. This is in contrast to the fate sustained by many of the eastern European countries.
In other words, as you stated in your recent speech about Cuba so clearly and frankly, isolation, sanction, embargo and military pressure failed to achieve regime change. This is the case in North Korea as well as Cuba. Therefore, the policy of “Strategic Patience” toward North Korea needs to change. This success of North Korea is not achieved only through military strength, rather, it depends on the willingness and determination of the North Korean people to bear and accept continued economic hardships, including food shortages, and compromises in civil liberties needed to deal with the harsh realities in their society brought by externally-imposed isolation.
In other words, contrary to our common perception that North Korea is a “hermit kingdom,” we need to view North Korea as a country whose door is locked from the outside, by us, the U.S. As you know, North Korea is a member of the United Nations and maintains full diplomatic relations with its 165 member countries. It has maintained consistent international relationships with many countries over the years.
There is an additional factor, the idea of “Juche” ideology, which contributes to the cohesiveness of the North Korean society. This idea is often misunderstood and misjudged by outside observers as being authoritarian and dictatorial. However, it is simply a ruling philosophy through which North Koreans view their society as an organism that needs to be led by a single leadership-entity venerated unconditionally by the people with an almost religious fervor. Therefore their often idiosyncratic, often shrill-sounding reactions to criticism of their leadership for so-called human right issues must be understood in the context of their unique political ideology.
Indeed, the “Juche” ideology explains, in part, the survival of the regime for the past 70 years despite the hostility of the U.S. The Cuban regime and the North Korean regime are alike in the respect that neither has collapsed even after 53 years and 70 years, respectively, of isolation by the U.S. You noted the persistence of the Cuban regime in your speech as a reason to normalize diplomatic relations. Why not look at North Korea in the same light? Indeed, the policy of “Strategic Patience” will only serve as a justification for a North Korea’s continuing a strong defense posture, which is at the expense of its people’s welfare.
Dear President Obama, additionally, it is important to note that continued provocation of the North Korea, could one of these days, engender an accidental or miscalculated reaction by the North Korea, resulting in a horrendous holocaust not only involving the Korean peninsula but also its neighbors, Japan, Okinawa, Guam and even our mainland, as their nuclear weapons system is getting to be miniaturized and delivery technology becomes advanced.
There are other matters that North Koreans consider to be insulting to their national pride: accusations by the U.N. of human rights abuses; the recent comedy film depicting the assassination of their leader; and the launching of balloons by defectors from South Korea toward North Korea filled with malicious and derogatory notes about the North Korean leader. Of course, these incidents are beyond your control, however, as the commander-in-chief of the U.S., you have control over military matters, particularly the joint military maneuvers between U.S. and South Korea, held so often and so close to their border. These military exercises need to be minimized or eliminated.
Dear President Obama, please remember that the Geun-hye Park administration of South Korea recently reneged on transferring and accepting the wartime operational control of its military force from the U.S., meaning that any South-North conflict, accidental or otherwise, will automatically involve the U.S. military, and you, as the commander-in-chief of our country.
Dear President Obama, as a Nobel Peace Laureate, it behooves you to take steps to make peace, to normalize the relations between the U.S. and North Korea, which the North Korean leadership has repeatedly indicated it desires so ardently. This could end the 70 years of enmity between the two countries. In so doing, you can help to bring about peace, denuclearization, an economic upswing, and eventual re-unification of the two Koreas. Thank you.
오바마 대통령에 대한 공개장(번역문)
미국의 대 북한 평화정책: 귀하가 재미 한국인들에게 행한 선거 공약
오바마 대통령 귀하,
귀하가 큐바와의 관계정상화를 하겠다고 한 12월 17일의 돌연한 발표는, 귀하의 제 1차 대통령 선거에서 ‘미국 정책 변경을 위한 한국계 미국인 정치행동 위원회(KACPAC) 를 조직하여 귀하의 당선을 위해 열심히 일한 많은 우리 한국계 미국인들에게는 별로 놀라운 일이 아니었습니다. 그 이유는 그들이 그때, 귀하의 대통령 선거를 지지한 주요 원인의 하나가, 귀하가 대통령에 당선되면, 큐바와 북한과 같이 미국과의 관계가 나쁜 국가들과 대화와 협상을 하겠다고 누차 천명했기 때문입니다. 그때 미국내의 많은 진보적 한국계 미국인들은 한반도의 긴장계속과 통일의 기대 감퇴, 그리고 북한의 핵무장은 모두가 부시 행정부의 가혹하고 비현실적인 대북한 정책에 기인한다고 보았습니다.
그래서 귀하의 선거 공약은 하반도의 밝은 미래의 시작을 의미하는 것이었습니다. 귀하가 대통령에 취임한 후, 귀하의 세계비핵화에 관한 베를린 연설을 듣고, 또 노벨 평화상 수상을 보고 우리 지지자들의 희망과 기대는 고조되었습니다.
그러나, 그 후 우리는 귀하의 소위 ‘전략적 인내’라는 대북한 정책을 보고 계속 실망하지 않을 수 없었습니다. 이 정책은 최근에 와서 소위 ‘아시아 재균형 정책’이라는 귀하의 대 중국정책과 결부되었습니다. 이와 같은 귀하의 대북정책에 따라 북한에 대한 제재와 ‘엠바-고’(embargo)가 강화되었고, 북한 영공 가까이의 핵폭격기 비행을 포함한, 북한 근처에서의 위험한 군사 훈련을 정기적으로 실시해 왔습니다. 북한과의 모든 공식적, 비공식적 접촉 채널은 미국측으로부터 단절되고, 식량을 포함한 인도적 지 원도 중단되었습니다. 귀하에 의한 미국정부의 위험한 강경정책에 이어 한국에서도 이명박 보수 정권에 이어 2년전에 박근혜 보수정권이 발족했습니다. 이 두 개의 우익 보수정권의 압력은 우리가 상상조차 해서도 안되는 한반도의 전쟁 가능성을 다시 높혔습니다.
오바마 대통령 귀하, 이전에 귀하의 대통령 선거를 지지했던 우리 진보적 한국계 미국인들은 아직도 귀하가 미국 대통령으로서 한반도의 평화와 장래를 위해 중요한 역할을 할 수 있을 것을 기대합니다. 우리는 귀하가 아직도, 한국과 미국, 북한간의의 대화, 협상, 화해를 위해 선도적 역할을 할 수 있다고 믿습니다.
큐바와는 달리, 북한과의 관계개선은 한국계 미국인들과 또 모든 미국인들에게 이익을 가져 올 수 있는 큰 가능성이 있습니다. 가장 중요한 이익의 하나는 양국이 한반도 전쟁이후 휴전협정을 평화협정으로 대체하지 못하고 70년간 계속하여온 적대관계를 종식시키는 것입니다. 미국과 북한간의 평화협정 체결과 외교관계 수립은 북한이 군사비를 줄이고, 경제개발에 주력할 수 있게 합니다.
우리들 모두는 크린턴 대통령 당시의 1994년에 양국이 제네바에서 체결한 ‘기본합의서’에 의해 이와같은 상호 유익한 목표를 거의 달성할 수 있었다는 것을 기억하고 있습니다. 그리고 북한 정권의 제2인자가 백악관을 방문했고, 미국의 ‘올브라이트’ 국무장관도 평양을 방문했습니다. 우리는 귀하도 이 정도의 외교적 정상화 노력을 다시 한번 하기를 촉구합니다.
다음 통계는 북한이 왜 이렇게 어려운 경제상태에 놓여있으며, 북한이 경제를 회복하고, 자원을 국방비로 부터 국민들의 생활 필요에 전용하기 위해서는 외부로 부터의 위협으로부터 해방되는 것이 얼마나 필요한가를 보여주고 있습니다. 그런데 이 위협의 대부분은 미국으로 부터 나오고 있습니다.
북한은 미국의 ‘메인’주의 면적과 비슷합니다마는 인구는 남한의 약 반수인 2천 4백만명입니다. 남북한은 동일한 민족입니다. 북한의 국내총생산(GDP)은 330억미불로 추산되며 남한의 30분의 1, 미국 GDP의 3퍼센트에 불과합니다. 북한은 GDP의 30퍼센트를 국방비에 충당하고 있으며 이는 세계에 서 가장 높은 비율입니다. 남한의 국방비는 GDP의 약 5퍼센트이지만 이것도 북한 군사비의 4배가 됩니다. 더욱이 북한의 병력은 120만명이며(남한은 약 65만), 플루토늄과 우라늄기술의 값비싼 핵무기 능력을 보유하고 있습니다. 그러나 미국과 기타 핵무기국가들과는 달리, 북한은 그들의 핵기술이 공격용무기가 아닌 ‘억지력’이라고 부르고 있습니다. 북한 지도자들은 그들의 핵전력이, 미국과 같이 그들을 위 협하는 나라들이외에는 어떤 나라에도 위협이 되지 않는다고 누차 선언한바 있습니다.
이상 북한에 관한 통계들은, 북한이 왜 이렇게 심한 경제난을 겪고 있으며, 거기서 벗어나기 위해서는 주로 미국이 지난 70년간 실시해온 위협,제재, ‘엠바-고’의 해제가 필요하다는 것을 자명하게 보여주고 있습니다.
오바마 대통령 귀하, 북한은 이와같은 정치적, 군사적, 경제적 고립에도 불구하고, 70년동안 국가보전과 사회주의 정치, 경제제도를 지속해 왔습니다. 이것은 많은 동유럽 국가들이 겪은 운명과는 대조적입니다. 환언하면, 귀하가 큐바에 관한 최근 연설에서 분명하고 솔직하게 말한 바와같이, 고립과 제재, ‘엠바-고’, 군사적 압력으로는 정권교체를 이룰 수 없었습니다. 이것은 큐바와 같이 북한도 마찬가지입니다. 때문에 북한에 대한 ‘전략적 인내’정책은 바꿔야하는 것입니다. 북한의 이와같은 성공은 군사력만으로 이룬 것이 아닙니다. 오히려 북한 주민들이 식량부족을 포함한 계속적인 경제곤란과, 외부에서 강요한 고립이 초래한 그들 사회내의 가혹한 현실에 대처하기위해서 필요한, 시민적 자유에 대한 제한을 기꺼이 그리고 결연히 견디고 받아들인 때문이기도 합니다.
환언하면 북한이 ‘폐쇄된 나라’라는 우리의 통념과는 반대로, 우리는 북한이 미국에 의해서 외부로부터 닫혀진 나라라고 보아야 할 것입니다. 아시다 싶히 북한은 유엔 회원국이며 165개국과 정식 외교관계를 맺고 있습니다. 북한은 그 동안에도 많은 나라들과 꾸준히 국제관계를 유지해 왔습니다. 또 이에 추가해서, 북한 사회의 단결에 기여하는 ‘주체’사상이라는 또 하나의 요소가 있습니다. 외부사람들은 이 사상을 권위적이고 독재적인 것으로 종종 오해하기도 합니다마는, 이 주체사상은 북한 사람들이 그것을 통해서 그들의 사회를 단지 하나의 유기적 조직체로 보는 지배적 철학입니다. 그리고 이 유기적 조직체는 국민들이 거의 종교적 열정으로 무조건 존경하는 단일 지도자에 의해 이끌어져야하는 것입니다. 그 때문에, 소위 인권문제로 그들의 지도자가 비난을 받으면, 그들이 종종 이상할 정도로 격렬이 반발하는 것은 그들의 독특한 정치 이데올로기와 관련해서 이해되어야 합니다. 실제로 지난 70 년간에 북한정권이 미국의 적대에도 불구하고 살아남은 것은 이 주체사상에도 일부 원인이 있습니다. 큐바정권과 북한 정권은 각각 53년과 70년동안의 미국에 의한 고립에도 붕괴하지 않았다는 점에서 비슷합니다.
귀하는 연설에서 큐바정권의 지속성(持續性)을 국교정상화의 이유로 들었습니다마는 왜 북한에 대해서는 동일하게 보지 않습니까? 실제로 ‘전략적 인내’정책은 오직 북한이 국민들의 복지를 희생해가면서 강력한 국방 태세를 유지하는 정당성을 주게 될 뿐일 것입니다.
오바마 대통령 귀하, 추가로 지적해야 할 중요한 것은, 북한이 그들의 핵무기를 점차 소형화하고 미사일 기술을 발달해가는 이때, 북한을 계속 도발하면, 북한측의 우발적 또는 오산(誤算)에 의한 반응으로 한반도뿐 만 아니라 일본, 오키나와, 괌 그리고 미국 본토까지도 가공할 만 한 대량 살상 사태에 휩쓸릴 수 있다는 것입니다.
북한이 그들의 국가적 자존심을 손상한다고 생각하는 것들은 또 있습니다. 즉, 인권 침해에 대한 유엔의 비난; 북한 지도자의 암살을 묘사하는 최근의 코메디 영화; 남한내 탈북자들의 풍선에 의한 북한 지도자 비방전단 살포가 있습니다. 이 건들은 귀하가 통제할 수 없겠지만, 미군 통수권자인 귀하는 군사 문제, 특히 북한 국경 가까이에서 자주 실시하는 한국과의 합동 군사훈련은 통제할 수 있습니다. 이 군사 훈련은 축소하거나 폐지되어야 합니다.
오바마 대통령 귀하. 최근 한국의 박근혜대통령은 한국군에 대한 전시 작전 지휘권을 미국 으로부터 환수 하는 것을 어기고, 이것을 무기한 연장하는 것을 미국측과 합의했습니다. 귀하는 이 합의로 인해 남북한 간에 우발적이건 아니 전쟁이 발생하면 자동적으로 미군이 개입하게 된다는 것을 기억하시기 바랍니다.
오바마 대통령 귀하, 노벨 평화상 수상자인 귀하는 북한이 절실히 요구해온 평화협정 체결과 미-북 관계정상화를 위한 조치를 취하셔야 합니다. 이것은 70년간 지속된 양국간의 적대를 종식시킬 수 있습니다. 이렇게 함으로써 귀하는 한반도의 평화와 비핵화, 경제발전과 궁극적인 통일을 이룩하는 것을 도울 수 있습니다. 감사합니다.
The ad was made possible by the contributions and donations of many peace-minded Korean Americans, concerned by the current dangerous North Korea policy of our president Mr. Barak Obama.
Please feel free to disseminate it as widely as possible among the Korean American community, as well as the mainstream U.S. society.
- Hahm, S. Michael
- Yoon, Kil-sang
- Moon J. Pak
- Ri, Keum-soon
- Kim, Ryo-sik
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- Lee, Meeil
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Second Step & Third Step Toward the Peace Between U.S. and North Korea
March 27, 2015
The movement by concerned Korean Americans to urge the Obama administration to move toward a peaceful resolution of the dangerous, confrontational situation in Korean peninsula resulted in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times on March 14, 2015, entitled “An Open Letter to President Obama.”
Prompting this action was the announcement by the Obama administration made on December 17, 2015, that the diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, previously hostile and frozen since the Cold War, will be formally normalized and thawed. Key to this announcement was the fact that over 50 years of U.S. sanction and embargo against the Cuba failed to achieve regime change and the dissolution of its socialist government. Naturally, the immediate thought among many Korean Americans was “Why not do the same with North Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)?”
The relationship between the U.S. and North Korea, similar to that of the U.S. and Cuba, has been frozen and in a state of hostility for more than 70 years. Like Cuba, North Korea has survived the sanctions and embargoes imposed by the U.S. Not only that, North Korea has emerged as a politically cohesive country with a well-prepared military with a nuclear arsenal. It is a formidable unification partner to its immediate neighbor to the south, the Republic of Korea (ROK), a faithful subordinate of the U.S. under the current conservative regime led by Park Geun-hye.
Indeed, Cuba and North Korea are significantly dissimilar in the fact that North Korea is a larger and more militarily superior state than Cuba. North Korea also has considerably larger population, ideological cohesiveness and is in a key geographical location in northern Asia.
Many Korean Americans are deeply concerned that an accident or miscalculation could incite war with North Korea, and that with all the modern firepower that would be brought to bear, such war would quickly result in needless loss of life and destruction on the Korean peninsula. This is to be avoided at all costs.
Yet, we still see the U.S. and South Korea engaged in war mongering activities rather than peacemaking activities when it comes to North Korea. The prime example of this are the joint military maneuvers, i.e, war games, operating under code names like “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle,” that the U.S. and South Korea engage in every year, often in disputed maritime territory off the western coast of South and North Korea, despite strong objections from the North Koreans.
In addition to North Korea’s known nuclear weapon system (that they have succeeded in miniaturizing), it is known to have developed two additional significant military capabilities recently. There is a land-to-sea missile system designed to threaten U.S. naval forces operating near its territorial waters. There are also new submarines capable of launching missiles, similar to the U.S. Treident. Any hostile military operations near its waters could face an extremely grave risk. And to what end?
Although no link to the notorious hack to Sony Pictures has been established, North Korea definitely has cyber-attack capability. There has also been speculation about North Korea’s possible development of Magrav technology (a new magnetic-gravitation technology, attributed to Iranian scientist Mehran Keshe).
Brokering normal relations with North Korea would be highly beneficial to the U.S., South Korea, and globally. North Korea has a population of 24 million and armed forces of 1.2 million; Cuba’s population is less than half that of North Korea and its military has been estimated at 60,000.
Additionally, North Korea’s defense budget is equal to 30 percent of its gross domestic product. It has air defense forces sufficient to defend its air space, highly-trained special forces with individual sub-units, each geared to landing and occupying certain specific areas of the peninsula, missile force with various ranges, short, medium and long, land to land and land to sea. It is suspected that the DPRK is developing high-altitude intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of carrying miniaturized nuclear war-heads. It has relatively a small population but military service of eight years long is required of every adult.
The entire country is fortified and most of its stationary army bases and naval vessels are placed underground, based on the experience of being carpet-bombed indiscriminately by the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. It has been said that the total tonnage of bombs dropped on North Korea during the three year war was equal to or greater than the total ammunition U.S. spent during the entire Pacific War. A significant part of North Korea’s military is stationed near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along with several thousand underground long-range artillery weapons, which are a formidable deterrence against possible incursion from the South.
In a recent Congressional testimony, a high-level U.S. military commander said that a full scale war in Korea could bring about the complete devastation of both Koreas in only a few weeks, and the U.S. would be automatically involved in it fully, since it has the war-time operational control of the South Korean army.
The U.S. may be the main provocation to North Korea, but it is not the only source. A North Korean defector group in the South, with financial support from the U.S. organization, The Human Rights Foundation, has launched balloons towards the North carrying materials demonizing their leader and their society. They have recently announced plans to do more of the same by sending drones over the DMZ and into North Korean territorial air space. These ideas are beyond the bounds of rational thinking.
Most recently the U.S, decision to place a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (or THAAD) base in South Korean near the city of Taegu. There is also to be a new naval base on Jeju Island, both of which will further provoke North Korea and China as well.
The recent “Open Letter to President Obama” in the New York Times therefore represents an urgent message from worried Korean Americans to our president to think beyond Cuba and normalize diplomatic relations between the U.S. and North Korea as well. The North Korean leader, the North Korean government and media has indicated many times in the past that they desire peace with us, so that they can relax their military-first policy and place more emphasis to the economic development of their country. The open letter to Obama suggests a “First Step” toward this goal.
A “Second Step” the Korean Americans should take to urge the U.S. administration toward peaceful and normal relations with both Koreas, is to organize a civilian peace-building event, which would involve interaction between Americans and North Koreans. The event could be called the Pyongyang Peace and Security Symposium. The symposium should be attended by invited scholars, think-tank people, former diplomats and others who are North Korea experts in the U.S. The event would allow them to meet and exchange ideas with their North Korean counterparts in Pyongyang.
U.S. invitees would be chosen for their expertise on U.S.-North Korea policy and include (but not be limited to): Author/journalist Selig Harrison; author/scholar Leon Sigal; Joel Witt, a senior resource scholar and North Korea energy policy expert; Peter Hayes of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability; Siegfried Hecker, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation; journalist/professor Donald Oberdorfer of Johns Hopkins Institute; and Morton Halperin, senior advisor with the Open Society Foundations.
North Korean counterparts for these notable scholars would be selected from among their academic and diplomatic experts in consultation with the Korean American organizers. After the two days of symposium, they will mix with these American visitors socially and take them to tours of various places and facilities in North.
The Symposium content would be prepared for publication. On the last day, the North Korean leader could address the group to express his desire for peace between DPRK and U.S.
Hopefully the group will produce a final recommendation urging a next level symposium or conference, to be attended by top level former U.S. leaders and or diplomats with experience dealing with North Korean leaders; the “Third Step” toward the peace between U.S. and DPRK.
For their “Third Step” in promoting peace with North Korea, Korean Americans should take steps to mediate a “Pyongyang Peace and Security Conference” for top-level past U.S. leaders who have been responsible for decision making on U.S.-North Korea policy. This list could include (but not be limited to): President Jimmy Carter; President Bill Clinton; President George W. Bush; Madeline Albright; Donald Gregg; Robert Galluci, Bill Richardson; William Perry, Stephen Bosworth, and Christopher Hill.
This group would be housed at a top-level government guest house in Pyongyang and treated as national guests. Their events would include a series of closed meetings with high-level officials of North Korea led by their supreme leader Kim Jong-un. These would invite in-depth discussions on a variety of topics. Depending on issues raised and questions brought about, fact-finding subcommittees will follow up the discussions and report back to the group. The visitors would be treated to some appropriate cultural events and tours of Pyongyang.
At the conclusion of the conference, this group, led by the former presidents, will produce a brief letter of recommendation to be presented to the White House upon their return, based on the direct contact with North Korean leaders during the conference.
Moon J. Pak, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice-President, Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC) Chair, US-DPRK Medical Science Exchange Committee (UD-MEDEX)
Published in “Korean Quarterly”, Spring 2015. VOL. 18, NUM. 03