News Release

Crisis with North Korea: Critical Analysis


As representatives of six governments hold talks in Beijing regarding North Korea’s nuclear capability, the following analysts are available for interviews:

Author of several books including The Origins of the Korean War, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History and most recently Parallax Visions: American-East Asian Relations at the End of the Century, Cumings is a professor of history at the University of Chicago.
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Suh is an organizer with the group Nodutdol for Korean Community Development and assistant professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. She said today: “This is a dangerous situation; the U.S. has included North Korea on a list of possible nuclear first-strike targets. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has spearheaded Operations Plan 5030, in which the U.S. engages in military and other actions to topple the regime. These maneuvers are so aggressive that even Washington officials oppose them…. North Korea … has committed to dismantling its [nuclear] program if the U.S. guarantees it will not attack. Given the experience of Iraq once it gave up weapons without such a guarantee, who can blame the North Koreans? A war in Korea could mean the deaths of countless numbers of Koreans; both North and South. The DMZ [demilitarized zone] is within a two-hour car ride from both Seoul and Pyongyang. Beyond Korea, the entire region is threatened. If the U.S. bombed North Korea’s nuclear plant, the fallout could contaminate the entire region: Japan, China, Russia, and of course South Korea. I have family in both North and South Korea so this is very real to me…. Most Americans don’t know that the Korean War is still not officially over.”
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Author of Korea: Division, Reunification, and U.S. Foreign Policy and director of the Political Economy Program at Lewis and Clark College, Hart-Landsberg is also adjunct researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, South Korea. He said today: “U.S. policies toward the North, including threats of embargo and military strikes, are greatly increasing the chance of a new war on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. government claims that current tensions are the result of North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons in violation of the 1994 Framework Agreement. However, it remains unclear whether the North does indeed possess nuclear weapons. Most importantly, the Bush administration’s policies towards the North are counterproductive if our goal is regional peace and U.S. security. The North has repeatedly said it will satisfy U.S. concerns if the U.S. would accept direct negotiations leading to the signing of a peace treaty to end the Korean War, normalization of relations, and an end to the economic embargo. The North wants a non-aggression treaty. These are not unreasonable demands, yet the U.S. refuses to even discuss them. The North has good reason for distrusting U.S. intentions. It was the U.S. government that first introduced the threat of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula. It stationed nuclear weapons in South Korea beginning in 1957, and engaged in simulated nuclear attacks against the North in the 1980s. The U.S. itself violated the Framework Agreement, which called for, among other things, progress towards normalization of relations and an end to the economic embargo.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167