DPRK Commemorates the 4 July 1972 Joint Statement of North and South

[CanKor has received an email signed by four DPRK organizations commemorating the first major North-South rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula. Of interest is the fact that the 1972 Joint Statement of North and South was issued during the reign of South Korea’s President Park Chung Hee, father of the current South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Ironically, only 4 years prior to this first North-South rapprochement, a North Korean death squad had attempted to assassinate Pres. Park Chung Hee. Perhaps irony is an underrated factor in understanding Korean peninsular politics. As usual, we post the following message as we received it. –CanKor]

Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification, Pyongyang

Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification, Pyongyang

Dear friends

41 years have passed since the historic July 4 Joint Statement clarifying the three principles of Korea’s reunification was made public.

The announcement of the statement was the brilliant fruition brought about thanks to the idea and line of the great President Kim Il Sung on the national reunification, his distinguished and experienced leadership.

President Kim Il Sung regarded the national reunification as the supreme task of the nation and led the cause of the national reunification to victory with his great idea and leadership from the first day after Korea was divided into the north and south.

In August, 1971, the President, seeing through the unanimous desire of the whole nation and the urgent requirement of the development of the reunification movement, proposed a proposal for wide-ranging negotiation clarifying that the north was willing to contact all political parties including “Democratic Republican Party”, the then ruling party of south Korea, social organizations and individuals at any time.

According to the broad-minded proposal set forth by him, a high-level political meeting between the north and south was held in Pyongyang, in May 1972, the first of its kind since its division into the north and south. Read the rest of this entry »

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What a Tangled Web We Weave, by Kim Dong Jin

[Kim Dong Jin is Director of the Peace Culture Institute in Korea (PCIK), a newly-founded research institution based in Seoul, Korea. The PCIK is dedicated to sharing information, knowledge and experience on peace-building in conflict-affected societies. Pursuing a collective peace intelligence and peaceful open source collaboration, the PCIK provides space for researchers, practitioners and experts from various disciplines to discuss issues related to conflict transformation by peaceful means on the Korean peninsula, in Asia, and beyond. This article was first published on the PCIK blog site on Thursday, 30 May 2013. –CanKor]

kaesong_ind_nk_624On 22 May, the North Korean Committee for the Realization of the 6.15 Joint Statement proposed holding a joint ceremony at either Kaesong or Mt. Keumgang, to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Statement issued at the conclusion to the 15 June 2000 Summit meeting between South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The South Korean counterpart Committee responded positively, interpreting the proposal in relation to the issues at the closed Kaesong Industrial Complex.

“The suggestion to use Kaesong by North Korea as a venue for the event indirectly expresses their desire to restore the Kaesong Industrial Complex”, the South Committee said. Read the rest of this entry »

What Park Geun-hye actually said about North Korea in Washington

Remarks by President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to a Joint Session of Congress

Location: House Chamber, The Capitol, Washington, D.C., Time: 10:39 a.m. EDT, Date: Wednesday, 8 May 2013

ROK President Park Geun-hye addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington 8 May 2013. (Photo from Ebru News)

ROK President Park Geun-hye addresses a joint meeting of Congress in Washington 8 May 2013. (Photo from Ebru News)

PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE:

Speaker Boehner, Vice President Biden, distinguished members of the House and the Senate, ladies and gentlemen, I’m privileged to stand in this chamber, this hallowed ground of freedom and democracy, to speak about our friendship and our future together.

After I arrived in Washington the day before yesterday, I went to the Korean War Memorial, near the banks of the Potomac. I read the words etched in granite. Our nation honors the sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. Time and again, I’m moved when I read those familiar words. (Applause.)

Let me express on behalf of the people of the Republic of Korea our profound gratitude to America’s veterans. Their blood, sweat and tears helped safeguard freedom and democracy. (Applause.) Read the rest of this entry »

What Park Geun-hye should say about North Korea in Washington, by Victor Hsu

[From time to time we reproduce posts from our partner site 38North, for CanKor readers who may not receive 38North updates. In this case, CanKor Brain Trust member Prof. Victor Hsu offers his take on what should be South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s message to a joint meeting of the US Congress on Wednesday, 8 May 2013. –CanKor]

North Korea: Danger and Opportunity for Park Geun-hye’s Presidency

By Victor W.C. Hsu, 5 May 2013

President Park Geun-hye waves before leaving for the United States from Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Sunday. During her first foreign trip after becoming president, Park is scheduled to have a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday. (Korea Times photo by Koh Young-kwon)

President Park Geun-hye waves before leaving for the United States from Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Sunday. During her first foreign trip after becoming president, Park is scheduled to have a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday. (Korea Times photo by Koh Young-kwon)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s speech to the Joint Session of the United States Congress will be a great opportunity to signal that the Korean peninsula is headed toward a new era of inter-Korean cooperation, test the rough waters with policies for a breakthrough on the North Korea policy conundrum and dispel much of the jitteriness that has surrounded Korea since the beginning of the year. More importantly, her message can be an invitation to North Korea to grasp her outstretched hand and prove to the international community that it’s not an empty gesture but that she means business.

I am not President Park’s advisor, nor am I her speechwriter, but as an American citizen living in South Korea, here is what I would like her to say in Washington: Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama’s Edsel problem, by Donald P. Gregg

[Donald P. Gregg is a retired diplomat, currently serving as chairman of the Pacific Century Institute. From 1951 to 1982 he worked for the CIA. He was national security advisor to US Vice President George H. W. Bush. He served as United States Ambassador to South Korea from 1989 to 1993. During the time he was chairman of the board of The Korea Society in the USA, he called for greater engagement with North Korea. He wrote this opinion piece for The Korea Times on 11 April 2013. –CanKor]

Donald Gregg

Fifty-five years ago, the Ford Motor Company unveiled its highly advertised new car, the Edsel, which it expected to sell spectacularly. Instead, the Edsel flopped from the moment of its introduction, and is now rated one of the 50 worst cars of all time.

How did that come about? Apparently in those days Detroit’s engineers were vulnerable to a virulent form of groupthink that produced failure, not success.

I fear that today President Obama has a sort of “Edsel problem” as far as his North Korea policy is concerned. Many Washington policymakers focused on Korea have, since the advent of the George W. Bush administration, fallen victim to the collective belief that talking to North Korea would be a form of rewarding bad behavior on Pyongyang’s part, and that pressure, in terms of sanctions and military threats can wean North Korea away from its belief that developing nuclear weapons is the surest way to protect itself from U.S. attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

South Korea’s National Council of Churches issues Prayers for Peace

[The National Council of Churches in Korea (South) held an emergency prayer for peace on 5 April 2013. After discussing the urgent crisis on the Korean peninsula, the NCCK released this “Urgent Petition for peace on the Korean Peninsula”. –CanKor]

NCCK logoPraying for the peace of God and in the name of the Lord:

The interruption of the work at the joint South and North Korean Industrial Complex in Gaesung is just another sign of the crisis actual arising on the Korean Peninsula. The South-Korean/U.S. American military exercises are aggravating the situation and thus the conflict is rapidly approaching the next stage of danger of a confrontation between South and North Korean military forces. North Korea’s third nuclear test, the UN’s violent propagandistic sanctions towards North Korea and the American high-tech weapons being used in the large scale Korean-American joint military exercises, etc. escalate the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. In these circumstances, the irresponsible, alarming and offensive statements of both South and North Korean authorities’ are driving the citizens of both countries into fear. The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), which for a long time has desired the nation’s reconciliation, and longs for peace and reunification, opposes the movement toward this catastrophic situation and cannot suppress a severe anxiety. We call on all Korean churches which are striving for justice, and all Christian believers who are striving to make peace and become guardians of history, at this time to hold firmly a responsible attitude to this issue. In the following petition we express the earnest prayers of Korean Christians for peace on the Korean Peninsula and humbly ask for your participation. Read the rest of this entry »

Will “Trustpolitik” bring a Thaw? by Aidan Foster-Carter

[CanKor Brain Trust member Aidan Foster-Carter reviews North-South Korea relations over the past year and prospects for the coming year in this article written for Comparative Connections, a Triannual E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations published by CSIS, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, dated 14 January 2013. The first two sections of this 10-page article are reproduced here. For the remaining sections, whose sub-titles we add below, plus a chronology of North-South relations over the past two months, please follow the link to the complete article on the CSIS website.  –CanKor]

South Korea-North Korea Relations 2012-2013

Park Geun-Hye (Photo by Associated Press)

Park Geun-Hye (Photo by Associated Press)

Kim Jong Un (Photo by REUTERS)

Kim Jong Un (Photo by REUTERS)

Writing as a new year begins it seems apt to look forward as much as back. If the past four months saw little movement on inter-Korean relations, it is hardly surprising. South Korea’s current president (since 2008), Lee Myung-bak, is detested by the North – but he is on the way out. Formally, Lee’s term of office ends on Feb. 25, but the way the electoral cycle works in Seoul – presidents are allowed only a single five-year stint – has rendered him a lame duck for the past year, as attention shifted to the hard-fought race to succeed him. In that contest, despite deep overall ideological rivalries, the one certainty was that Seoul’s policy towards Pyongyang will change going forward. Both major candidates, as well as the independent progressive Ahn Cheol-soo, who made much of the running before eventually withdrawing, had promised to end Lee’s hard line and try to mend fences with the North. With her victory, the task of defining that changed policy falls to Park Geun-hye.

Fences to mend

That said, the detail among the candidates differed substantially. In a useful service, the [US] National Committee on North Korea (NCNK) – whose website is a valuable and perhaps insufficiently known resource generally – put together summaries of the candidates’ positions on the Northern question. The most radical was Moon Jae-in of the opposition Democratic United Party (DUP), who in effect was ready to resume and deepen the “Sunshine” policy practiced for a decade (1998-2007) by the late Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. Moon, who served as Roh’s chief of staff, went so far as to advocate an inter-Korean economic union – complete with its own five-year plan. This also would have included a Korean Peninsula Infrastructure Development Organization: a name surely suggestive of the now sadly defunct Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), which did much to lay the foundations for more robust North-South cooperation. Read the rest of this entry »

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