The ICAS Lectures


Road to Peace in the Korean Peninsula

Song Ryol Han

ICAS Fall Symposium
Humanity, Peace and Security
October 27, 2005 10:30 AM - 12:00 NN.
United States House Rayburn Office Building Room 2360
Capitol Hill, Washington, DC 20515

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

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Biographic Sketch & Links: Song Ryol Han

Road to Peace in the Korean Peninsula

Song Ryol Han
Deputy Permanent Representative of DPRKorea Mission to the United Nations

Presented to the
Institute for Corean-American Studies
2005 Fall Symposium
October 27, 2005 Washington, D.C.

The DPRK has made strenuous efforts consistently to reunify the country and achieve ever-lasting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, thus contributing to the improvement of security environment in Northeast Asia.

Peace on the Korean peninsula is a crucial issue affecting the overall peace and security in the North East Asia region and the world over and the U.S is the direct responsible party in it.

The US insists on its hostile policy towards the DPRK to keep the situation tense as ever, which is essential to realize the strategy. This throws a stumbling block in the way of peaceful solution to the Korean issue and constitutes a basic cause of instability in the region today.

The peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region depend on how the DPRK-US relations develop.

It is not our stand to remain an enemy of the U.S. forever.

We are developing relations with all countries that respect our sovereignty and are friendly toward us irrespective of their ideology and system.

From this standpoint we have already established diplomatic relations with Western European countries including UK, a U.S. ally which had been hostile towards us in the past, and are pushing forward the process to normalize relations with Japan.

If there were no U.S. obstruction, inter-Korean relations should have developed further and the normalization of the DPRK-Japan relations should have been realized.

We hope the US will examine the DPRK-US relations coolly to adopt a realistic policy towards the DPRK, and get rid of rigid way of thinking.

Now the Bush administration insists that the issue of improvement of the DPRK-US relations can be discussed only when all kinds of " issues" including nuclear, human rights, missile, conventional armed forces and etc are settled.

This is an absurd theory that has no feasibility in it. It shows that the Bush administration is not interested in improving the bilateral relations.

Who would lay down his gun simply because he is asked to do so by his opponent while they are still in hostile and war ?

Our nuclear deterrent is not offensive but defensive to safeguard its sovereignty and right to existence from the US threat. Therefore, we can never give up our nuclear deterrent unless the threat from the US dissipates.

Proceeding from this reality, we insist on the principle of simultaneous action.

The so-called " issues" such as the nuclear issue which the US sets as preconditions for the improvement of the DPRK-US relations are, in fact, neither serious nor difficult to solve.

If the bilateral relations are normalized and trust is built, those issues will be solved of their own accord. We have good example of improving relations with Western European countries.

The focal point is the US willingness to change its policy with intention to co-exist with the DPRK. Normalization of the DPRK-US relations is not a kind of " gift" to the DPRK by the US. It would be beneficial to both countries and to Northeast Asia.

Senior members of the Bush Administration say quite often that surprising " benefit" would be rewarded if we dismantle our nuclear program first. But improvement of the DPRK-US relations will bring about unimaginable strategical benefit to the US side.

Recently the United States is putting into practice sanctions blocking the legitimate financial transaction of the DPRK based on the false charges of "illegal deals such as drug deal and counterfeit notes".

The U.S. administration's evermore undisguised smear campaign against the DPRK is prompted by its ambition to impair the ever-rising prestige of the dignified DPRK and put international pressure upon it in a bid to shake its "system."

This indicates that the U.S. remains unchanged in its real intention to "bring down the system" in the DPRK.

It is the DPRK's understanding that by applying sanctions against the DPRK in a "roundabout way" the US seeks to put pressure upon it in advance so as to pressurize Pyongyang to accept the former's assertion that the latter should abandon its "nuclear program first" at the six-party talks slated to take place in the future.

This compels the DPRK to suspect whether the US side has the willingness to implement the joint statement of the six-party talks or not. The DPRK has already declared that it would regard the U.S. sanctions against it as a declaration of war.

If the U.S. persists in its hostile acts against the DPRK contrary to the spirit of the joint statement of the six-party talks, the DPRK will be left with no option but to take self-defence steps to cope with those acts.

The 6 party talks is a powerful mean to realize the Korean Peninsula denuclearization.

The 6 party talks that started on the DPRK's positive initiative in August 2003 were held several times for the last more than two years, repeatedly going through twists and turns. The talks, however, repeatedly proved fruitless and unproductive due to the conflicting stands among the parties concerned, contrary to the unanimous expectation of the international community toward the denuclearization 'of the Korean Peninsula.

We have approached the talks with magnanimity, patience and sincerity, proceeding from the principled, fair and aboveboard stand to achieve the general goal of the denuclearization of the peninsula at any cost. As a result, we have at last succeeded in meeting all these challenges, making it possible to agree on the joint statement, "verbal commitments".

The second phase of the fourth six-party talks on the nuclear issue opened in Beijing on Sept. 13, drawing the attention of the international community, closed on Sept. 19. This time the talks produced a joint statement, which reflects our consistent stand on the settlement of the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the US and, at the same time, the commitments of the US and south Korea responsible for denuclearizing the whole of the peninsula.

The issue over which the DPRK and the U.S. have had most serious differences in the "verbal commitments" to denuclearize the peninsula so far was the issue of the former's right to nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose, to be specific, the issue of the U.S. provision of light water reactors (LWR) to the former. It was due to these differences that the first phase of the fourth talks held in August last was compelled to go into recess without yielding any desired fruits.

The present U.S. administration, denying in principle the DPRK the right to nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose which pertains to an independent right of a sovereign state, insisted that it could not provide LWRs in any case under the pretext that the DPRK pulled out of the NPT and is no longer member of the IAEA.

The DPRK has been opposed to this wrong stand of the U.S., making it clear that the basis of finding a solution to the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. is to wipe out the distrust historically created between the two countries and a physical groundwork for building bilateral confidence is none other than the U.S. provision of LWRs to the DPRK.

It strongly demanded that the U.S. remove the very cause that compelled the DPRK to withdraw from the NPT by providing LWRs to it.

All the parties concerned except the US supported the discussion of the issue of respecting the DPRK's right to nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose and providing L WRs to it.

The DPRK will return to the NPT and sign the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and comply with it immediately upon the U.S. provision of LWRs, a basis of confidence-building.

The DPRK will feel no need to keep even a single nuclear weapon if the DPRK. U .S. relations are normalized, bilateral confidence is built and we are not exposed to the U.S. nuclear threat any longer .

What is most essential is, therefore, for the U.S. to provide LWRs to the DPRK as early as possible as evidence proving the former's substantial recognition of the latter's nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose.

The DPRK's dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent will follow the provision of L WRs, since it sees it as a physical guarantee for confidence-building. The DPRK has so far shaped its policies towards the US hardliners and will do so in the future, too.

It is the DPRK's consistent and invariable stand to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue, therefore, it will go to the 5th six-party talks at the early date in November. This reflects its sincere stand to respect and faithfully abide by the principles agreed upon in the Beijing Joint Statement.

However, the U.S is reportedly demanding the DPRK abandon its nuclear program first on the basis of CVID, staging a new campaign to pressurize the DPRK by using "human rights issue" and "illegal deal" against it.

The US seems to demand DPRK to make its voluntary report on the nuclear weapons. Reporting the nuclear weapons is a kind of "abandonment of nuclear weapons first" and unilateral disarmament.

The DPRK and the US now are at war technically and there exist tremendous filed mistrust between them. Under these circumstances, the DPRK can not accept the demand to reporting its nuclear weapons voluntarily. It will discuss at the time when the confidence and trust are fully built between the DPRK and the US.

This page last updated 10/29/2005 jdb

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