CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES IN NORTHEAST ASIA: EXAMINING MULTILATERAL AND BILATERAL DYNAMICS AT WORK

Hello! The below report is written in English. To translate the full report, please use the translator in the top right corner of the page. Do not show me this notice in the future.

NAPSNet Special Report

Recommended Citation

JANICE K.M. HEPPELL, "CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES IN NORTHEAST ASIA: EXAMINING MULTILATERAL AND BILATERAL DYNAMICS AT WORK", NAPSNet Special Reports, July 20, 1994, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-special-reports/confidence-building-measures-in-northeast-asia-examining-multilateral-and-bilateral-dynamics-at-work/

Prepared for the Conference on 

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia and the Nuclear Issue

East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii

July 17-20, 1994

 

 The Asia-Pacific region has witnessed remarkable changes over 
the past few decades; most states in the region have posted 
double-digit economic growth, developed more representative 
political institutions ("democracy" in Asia has its own flavour), 
and have improved relations among themselves.  However, the post-
cold war era, while bringing many positive developments has also 
led to uncertainty, as the once familiar playing field has become 
one with new and unfamiliar parameters, leaving nations to 
speculate about where the primary threat to their security is 
originating.  

As countries in the region struggle to identify and address these 
ill-defined threats, some misperceive the resultant actions as 
offensive preparations, based in part on logical calculations but 
often to a degree on underlying mistrust related to historical, 
economic or diplomatic factors.  To prevent a buildup of weapons 
in a time of relative peace, it is essential for nations of the 
region to begin dismantling the barriers to better understanding 
of their neighbours.  Although many have called for a 
multilateral framework within which to undertake such confidence 
building measures (CBMs), others have argued that too many 
barriers exist for a multilateral framework to be effective.  

Confidence building is not simply the negotiation or the adoption 
of specific measures, but rather it is the relationship between 
negotiation and implementation that is the key, which ultimately 
leads to a transformation in threat perceptions.  Although recent 
history has demonstrated that confidence building measures can be 
portable, it is ineffective to simply apply a blanket package of 
confidence building measures to a situation and expect them to be 
effective, even if they had been completely successful in 
previous circumstances.  

Over the past five or six years, a variety of proposals have been 
tabled to transfer the structures and measures of the Conference 
on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) to the Asia-Pacific 
region.  However, great controversy has arisen because those  
specific arrangements cannot effectively address the distinct 
differences in history, culture, force structure, domestic 
politics, levels of economic development, nor the intra-regional 
animosities and rivalries, non-contiguous nature of states or 
divergent threat perceptions.  As James Macintosh notes, 
"disassociated from the larger political process and purpose, 
confidence building loses much of its meaning and becomes a 
narrow, information enhancing activity incapable of fundamentally 
altering a security relationship."  However, this is not to say 
that the lessons learned cannot be applied with care and 
attention.

 In a multilateral framework, like the CSCE, positive 
developments in some areas can be held up by unrelated problems 
existing between other countries.  Consensus is not easily 
achieved and the timing for solving these problems is critical; 
the resolution of issues may be impeded if efforts are not 
actively pursued at the bilateral level, where a "window of 
opportunity" may exist for solving each problem.  It is unlikely 
that these opportunities will occur simultaneously in a 
multilateral context.  As an example of the difficulty of 
reaching consensus on anything in Northeast Asia, the attempt by 
the United Nations Security Council to agree upon and pass a 
resolution on the application of sanctions to North Korea in June 
1994, in response to its recalcitrance on the nuclear issue will 
be examined, highlighting the challenges inherent in multilateral 
problem-solving efforts and illustrating the fact that the North 
Korean nuclear crisis of June was ultimately solved along 
bilateral lines.  Additionally, the reasons why consensus was 
impossible to reach, or in other words, the individual reasons 
for each country to support or not to support sanctions will be 
put forth, showing the complexity of the competing interests in 
the region.

For this reason, it is essential to continue to pay heed to the 
importance of bilateral relationships in the region, not only to 
maintain the good ones but to seek to improve those characterized 
by some degree of strain.  Relying only on a web of bilateral 
alliances would be a regression in security thinking, but rather 
active pursuit of problem solving efforts at the bilateral level, 
in order to facilitate the development of a cooperative security 
regime is the only way to effectively address the common problems 
that exist in the Northeast Asian region.  In this vein, the 
second section of this paper will examine the bilateral 
relationships in the region, identify the stumbling blocks to 
confidence and trust, and give suggestions of modest CBMs.

Common security problems, such as environmental degradation, 
migration flows, security of the sea lanes of communication, 
resource claims, drug trafficking, proliferation of weapons of 
mass destruction, sustainable energy (nuclear), safety of nuclear 
facilities, and storage of nuclear waste all require cooperative 
efforts to be effectively addressed.  Some can function as 
catalysts in the development of a multilateral consultative 
structure, while others will need to be settled within such a 
structure once it develops.  Although such aforementioned 
problems pose a security risk to all, a conflict of interest is 
likely to develop in many of the cases, between polluters and the 
polluted or between proliferators and non-proliferators.

Those issues which have the potential to be catalysts in the 
development of a regional regime demonstrate the necessity of 
giving equal attention to both function and form, where function 
should receive even more attention than form at the outset.  
There is a great deal of talk about form, but not enough about 
function.  The terms "architecture" and "structure" receive a 
great deal of ink, while practical assessments of such proposals 
receive insufficient consideration. Cooperative security should 
be "issue driven" and realistic.  The last section of this paper 
will suggest a project which could meet the criteria involved in 
this line of thinking.

 Confidence building measures will have to be modest at the 
outset, as they were in the European context twenty years ago 
when the institutionalized process began, involving primarily 
information and communication military CBMs which were 
implemented against the backdrop of increased cultural contacts 
between adversaries. Their value will be as much in the process 
of consultation that develops as in the value of the information 
exchanged, laying the groundwork for a regular dialogue channel 
in the event of heightened tensions in the future.  However, if 
the confidence building efforts are truly successful, such a 
tense situation might never develop.

 THE CHALLENGES OF PROBLEM SOLVING IN A MULTILATERAL CONTEXT

In June 1994, nothing has captured the attention of the world 
like the mounting crisis over North Korea's suspected nuclear 
weapons program and its continued intransigence regarding its 
refusal to submit to inspectors from the International Atomic 
Energy Agency (IAEA).  Its actions had many implications: 1) it 
challenged the integrity of the non-proliferation movement and 
the NPT, up for renewal in 1995; 2) it threatened the security 
environment of the Asia-Pacific region but especially Northeast 
Asia; and most directly 3) it put the safety of 70 million people 
on the Korean peninsula at great risk.  Of course, this was 
nothing new, for we have all been following it at least since 
Pyongyang's announcement in March 1993 of its intention to 
withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  

For the purposes of this discussion, the events of June 1994 will 
serve as an illustration of the articulation between multilateral 
and bilateral processes at work in the Northeast Asian region.  
From there, factors will be suggested which may have worked to 
enhance or prevent the support of sanctions by each of the main 
actors in the conflict,  illustrating the difficulty in 
establishing a effective multilateral political/military 
framework in Northeast Asia.    

 THE CRISIS OF JUNE 1994

To set the stage, on May 27, Pyongyang refused to shut down the 
refuelling of its nuclear reactor or identify the critical 89 
fuel rods which replaced the broken ones in 1989, which the IAEA 
needed to analyze the history of the reactor.  It is suspected 
that North Korea reprocessed in 1989, the last time that the 
reactor was reloaded, and a time when the International Atomic 
Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors had been barred from observation. 
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) warned North Korea to 
cooperate with the inspectors, and cease changing fuel rods 
without the presence of inspectors.  A veiled reference to mild 
economic sanctions was made, which North Korea rejected, refusing 
to allow the United States and the IAEA to stifle [the]country.  

On May 30, South Korean President Kim Young-sam ordered case-by-
case countermeasures against North Korea's possible nuclear 
weapons program, noting that upon entering a serious stage in 
relations, the South Korean government should prepare itself for 
the possibility that the UNSC would take up the problem.  It 
didn't ease matters when North Korea test fired a silkworm 
missile into the Sea of Japan.

By the first of June, Seoul was ready to consider sanctions, 
although lawmakers were divided over their effectiveness.  The 
South Korean government began to consider banning trade and other 
forms of contact with the North, but was still looking for a 
negotiated settlement with Pyongyang.  While visiting in Seoul, 
China's Vice Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan showed reluctance to 
join international pressure against North Korea, emphasizing that 
"a superpower like the United States should not wield its power 
ruthlessly against a small power" like North Korea. Despite such 
statements in Seoul, at the UNSC meeting in New York, China did 
not try to tone down the strongly worded statement issued by the 
UNSC May 30, which was a significant departure from its previous 
performance in the security meetings.  This could be viewed as a 
means of demonstrating some semblance of a compromise with the 
West.  In cooperation, it also pledged to stop supplying food and 
oil to North Korea in addition to halting border trade, a promise 
which if carried out earnestly, would have significant impacts on 
North Korea.  Yeltsin also threw Russia's support into the 
international community's camp, when he promised Kim Young-sam 
that he would support sanctions if negotiations were 
unsuccessful.  Russia's idea of convening an eight-party 
conference to deal with the nuclear issue was again floated by 
Russian Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov in Seoul, but without much 
response. Some degree of consensus regarding the seriousness of 
the situation seemed to be taking shape and on the surface it 
appeared that an agreement on sanctions might be possible.  
However, in reality at this point it was quite clear that a 
meaningful sanctions package would not likely get China's or even 
Russia's approval.

On June 2, Washington pledged to seek sanctions and cancelled the 
third round of high level talks, after the IAEA reported that it 
could no longer guarantee that Pyongyang had not diverted 
plutonium, given that the North had already removed all but 1800 
fuel rods from the reactor.  With tensions soaring, Pyongyang 
reiterated its previous warning that sanctions would be 
tantamount to a declaration of war.  During talks with Kim Young-
sam, Yeltsin officially stated that Moscow would not extend its 
military treaty with Pyongyang.  This was particularly 
significant as it came at a time of high tensions on the 
peninsula.  

One June 3 (Washington), the IAEA offered another possible route 
for Pyongyang to comply, by allowing special inspections of the 
nuclear waste sites, since it could not examine the used fuel 
rods, now almost entirely in the cooling pond.  At the same time, 
the United States began intensive consultations with Tokyo, 
Moscow and Seoul. Discussions touched on the option of "allied 
sanctions" in the event that Beijing vetoed UN sanctions.  Japan, 
under mounting pressure to show its solidarity with the 
international community's commitment, prepared a 10-point package 
of economic sanctions that it could enforce against North Korea, 
although the government was clearly apprehensive about possible 
retaliation by its pro-Pyongyang Korean community. Sanctions also 
posed difficulty for the shaky Hata minority government, which 
was treading carefully so as not to alienate the large Japan 
Socialist Party (JSP), which has significant backing from the 
pro-Pyongyang Korean minority.

 June 6 saw some very serious statements.  US Secretary of 
Defense William Perry, although not recommending such action at 
the time, stated that a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's 
nuclear installations was not out of the question, a reversal of 
his stance two months prior. While South Korean Foreign Minister 
Han Sung-joo was on his way to New York to address the UNSC, 
President Kim Young-sam  also came out with a stiff and terse 
warning for the neighbour to the North, stating that North Korea 
would face destruction if didn't abandon its nuclear program.  
"We will not tolerate North Korean possession of even half a 
nuclear bomb," he threatened, which was the first time that he 
had retaliated verbally against the North on the issue.  This 
show of solidarity was underscored by a joint statement issued by 
the US, Japan and South Korea, declaring that the international 
community should make the appropriate responses, including 
sanctions.  The result was a draft for a two-stage embargo 
against North Korea, beginning with limited economic  sanctions 
and moving to a total trade stoppage.  The resolve of the 
"allies" appears strong.

Not to be pushed around without a fight, the following day 
Pyongyang threatened to quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 
(NPT), declaring that it would no longer feel the need to be part 
of the IAEA if it felt too much pressure.  Conflicting sentiments 
regarding Russia's eight- party conference proposal were 
registered: North Korea's Foreign Minister Kim Young-nam said 
that he was considering the idea, while a North Korean diplomat 
in Geneva that it was not a matter for an international 
conference because the issue was between North Korea and the 
United States -- if it were a general nuclear disarmament matter, 
it might have been possible but on this issue, it was not a 
suitable approach to pursue, he stated.  Russia was not on side 
with its former ally either.  In the recently concluded meetings 
with Kim Young-sam, Russia had promised to participate in 
international sanctions.  Back in Seoul, President Kim Young-sam 
called a National Security Council Meeting. The objectives were 
threefold: to show the world, the North Korean administration and 
the South Korean people the seriousness with which Seoul was 
approaching this situation. 

However, despite what appears to be consensus among "the 
players", there was still one holdout.  As Foreign Minister Han 
Sung-joo was on his way to Beijing to discuss the nuclear issue, 
Chinese President Jiang Zemin was pledging to Choi Gwang, chief 
of the General Staff of the Korean Peoples' Army, Beijing's 
unwavering friendship with Pyongyang.  Without mentioning the 
nuclear crisis, he proclaimed "Our two communist parties, two 
countries and two armies have a tradition of friendly 
relationships," .  These sentiments were echoed by Choi's Chinese 
counterpart, Zhang Wannian, who reportedly said:

 "The traditional friendship between China and North Korea has 
been formed by the
blood of the Chinese people and the military, and the heroic 
people of the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea who achieved a great success in 
building a nation and
military under the leadership of President Kim Il-sung."

June 8 saw a significant split in the international resolve on 
the sanctions, or basically between China and "the others" in the 
international community.  China slammed the idea of sanctions, 
saying that they would aggravate the situation in Beijing's 
opinion.  It is possible that China was attempting to increase 
its influence over Pyongyang by assuming a more sympathetic 
attitude, in order to reach a negotiated settlement, and/or it 
believed that the "cure" (sanctions) was more dangerous than the 
"disease" (North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons capability). 
Effective sanctions could have precipitated a collapse of the 
North Korean regime, bringing about instability on the peninsula 
which is one of China's backyards. North Korea's envoy to the 
IAEA reiterated North Korea's firm stance against inspections of 
the two nuclear waste sites.  On the other side of the field, 
South Korean officials called for joint readiness of South Korean 
and American forces, increased surveillance activities and 
strengthened early warning capabilities.  Sanctions were seen to 
be unavoidable by both South Korea and the US, who would not be 
intimidated by threats.  President Yeltsin, using a hotline set 
up on the basis of agreements made the previous week in Moscow, 
called President Kim Young-sam to reiterate his continued support 
for sanctions.  All for one and one for all, except China.

By June 9, the IAEA drafted up its own set of sanctions against 
North Korea, to freeze about $500-600,000 worth of technical aid 
a year to North Korea.  After promising the visiting Foreign 
Minister Han Sung-joo its "best efforts" to resolve the nuclear 
standoff, China abstained during the vote on the IAEA's draft 
resolution, which was significant because many might have been 
reluctant to support the motion if China directly opposed.  In 
response, the North Korean envoy Yun Ho-jin emphatically stated 
that North Korea would not allow any more inspections and 
suggested that the IAEA inspectors in North Korea would have to 
leave.  Washington continued to talk tough about pushing  forward 
.on a UN resolution. Perhaps in the hope of securing Russia's 
declared support for sanctions, Washington finally endorsed 
Russia's eight-party conference plan.  At this heightened state 
of tension, the "powers" appear to have a fairly strong front, 
although China is a question mark.

 On June 14, in preparation for unforeseen developments at the 
heightened level of tension, Seoul ordered civil defense drills 
involving 6.6 million civil defense corps members, to organize 
evacuations and provide first aid for air raid victims.  These 
beefed up drills, which had been held regularly in the past, 
though on a much smaller scale, captured the attention of the 
international media, which focussed on a "frenzied situation" in 
South Korea, where all South Koreans were stocking up on ramyon 
(instant noodles) and buying gas masks.  Of course, the recent 
events had been serious enough to catch the attention of the 
South Koreans, who are usually quite complacent regarding any 
imminent threat from the North, something that has become part of 
their daily lives.  Certainly many started making preparations, 
but not anywhere near the level depicted in the media.  That hype 
combined with usual North Korean rhetoric generated North Korean 
verbal attacks on the South for drumming up tension on the 
peninsula.  The following day, North Korea announced its 
intention to pullout of the IAEA, although no mention of the fate 
of the inspectors was made.

The ante was upped after that statement.  North Korea called for 
direct talks with the US on the 14th.  Russia's Foreign Minister 
Kozyrev said that he saw sanctions as only a last resort. China, 
continuing to maintain its somewhat ambiguous position, made a 
statement, declaring "We hearby deplore the adverse turn of 
events.  The Chinese government once again appeals to all parties 
concerned to be cool-headed and to exercise restraint." 

At this critical juncture of June 14, under great pressure, the 
fissures in the multilateral effort began to grow.  Pyongyang 
went ahead and officially withdrew from the IAEA, the first 
country to ever quit the international agency. The United States 
tabled a draft at the UNSC, delineating a two-phased approach and 
giving Pyongyang a month to comply with the safeguards accord and 
implement the inter-Korean declaration.  Reaction to the proposal 
was the least supportive compared to any of the previous drafts.  
The South Korean opposition objected to using neighbouring 
countries to push through an embargo which could lead to war, 
challenging South Korea to lead the way. China rejected the 
draft, urging further negotiations.  It also emphasized that 
"China, in principle, doesn't subscribe to the involvement of the 
Security Council in the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula or 
resorting to sanctions to solve it.  The only way is direct 
dialogue."  Russia, angry about not being consulted in advance on 
the draft, withheld its support, not because it opposed the 
contents but rather because it was not consulted during the 
preparation.  Japan, although supportive would certainly have 
preferred not to have to enforce sanctions. This is the last true 
test of the will to cooperate on sanctions.  It failed.

The Carter visit is still something that I do not completely 
understand, but although people were very sceptical of its 
potential to diffuse the tension and broker some peace, in the 
end it turned out to ease tension considerably.  Where did the 
idea of Carter come from?  It is not certain, but in mid-May 
during the former South Korean opposition leader/human rights 
championer Kim Dae-jung's visit to Washington, he brought up a 
possible role for Carter to Washington officials.  To defuse the 
crisis with North Korea, he suggested dispatching "an elder 
statesman, respected internationally, trusted by the Chinese and 
North Koreans and sharing the views of President Clinton."  He 
noted that face-saving is "even more important in dealing  with 
North Korea, a country ruled for five decades by one man with 
absolute authority, Kim Il-sung."  He noted that dispatching Rev. 
Billy Graham in early February with Clinton's personal message 
apparently increased Kim Il-sung's readiness to negotiate. He 
mentioned that North Korea had long admired President Carter. 

On June 16, taking a somewhat moderate approach, Washington 
offered Pyongyang a grace period to settle the dispute before 
sanctions would be activated and indicated it would impose 
tougher measures only if Pyongyang took further steps to threaten 
security.   In addition, the South Korean ruling Democratic 
Liberal Party (DLP) asked the government to reconsider the 
denuclearization policy, which is based on the Joint Declaration 
for Denuclearization of the Peninsula, given the fact that North 
Korea appeared to have clearly violated it and looked unlikely to 
abide in the future after its announced withdrawal from the IAEA.   

 After arriving in Pyongyang on the June 15, by the 17th, Carter 
and Kim were making promises. Kim Il-sung authorized a joint 
search for American MIAs of the Korean War, agreed to freeze 
nuclear activities and to allow international nuclear inspectors 
to remain in North Korea.  On the other side, Carter announced 
that the movement for sanctions had been suspended and that 
Washington had provisionally agreed to a third round of talks and 
support for acquiring a light water reactor.  

Washington, however denied that sanctions were on hold and stated 
its commitment to pursue them until Kim's pledges could be 
measured in deeds.  Reaction from Seoul was also reserved, based 
on years of deep feelings of distrust and a belief that Carter's 
visit was more of a photo opportunity than a chance for a 
resolution to the conflict.  Carter explained his opposition to 
sanctions:  Declarations of sanctions would be considered as an 
insult to their nation, branding it as an outlaw country and an 
insult to their so-called great leader, by branding him as a liar 
and a criminal.  Although many people would suggest that past 
deeds warrant such a characterization of Kim Il-sung and believe 
that you should "call a spade a spade", Carter's face-saving 
treatment of Kim Il-sung earned a lot of mileage.  However, it is 
certain that many South Koreans and also officials in Washington 
considered Carter's approach and moves naive in dealing with 
someone such as cagey as Kim Il-sung.  In his recommendations to 
Washington to establish formal relations with Pyongyang, he 
added, "Diplomatic relations are not a gift or favour or reward 
to be handed out between two countries.  It's a common belief 
that the exchange of ambassadors and opening of relations is of 
mutual benefit.  My opinion is that it would be of great mutual 
benefit to have open communication and better understanding 
between my country and North Korea."  During Carter's meeting 
with Kim Young-sam June 18,  he delivered a proposal by Kim Il-
sung to meet with his South Korean counterpart "anywhere, at 
anytime, without any conditions," which Kim Young-sam accepted 
immediately, indicating the sooner the better.  

Although it cannot be determined how much Carter's visit changed 
Kim Il-sung's position in the nuclear standoff or whether it was 
more of a face-saving "out" of an increasingly hopeless situation 
for both sides, it was later learned that days prior to Carter's 
visit, China's Foreign Ministry in Beijing called in the North 
Korean ambassador and warned that his government could not depend 
indefinitely on Chinese support in the confrontation with the 
United States over the nuclear issue and that it would be in 
Pyongyang's best interests to cooperate more with international 
efforts to inspect its nuclear facilities.  Not only was this a 
significant move on China's part after opposing the international 
call for sanctions, but it also marked a big change in China's 
previously stated stance that it maintained little or no 
influence over North Korea.  

Over the next week, while the parties involved were trying to 
establish the sincerity of recent pledges, tension eased 
gradually and offers for bilateral improvements in relations 
began to flow in.  Japan's then Foreign Minister Koji Kakizawa 
offered to help Pyongyang convert its nuclear facilities to a 
light water reactor in a gesture aimed at normalizing bilateral 
relations, coming the day after Carter returned to Seoul.  In a 
possible return gesture, Pyongyang lifted a ban on Japanese 
tourists, implemented in June 1993, although this cannot be seen 
as purely a goodwill gesture, given that Pyongyang desperately 
needs foreign exchange.  Once the moves were afoot to realize the 
historic North-South summit, Seoul offered to encourage phased 
economic cooperation, beginning with small-sized joint ventures 
in light industry, leading to cooperation in mining, agriculture 
and communications fields, ultimately fostering an economic 
community.  The development of rail links and direct navigation 
routes were also proposed.  Private businesses, anxious to 
implement long awaited plans for joint ventures or investment, 
began to talk seriously again of the possibilities.  The issue of 
sanctions fell to the background, as tensions subsided. Everyone 
breathed a sigh of relief.  All parties were let off the hook.



FACTORS PROMOTING AND PREVENTING CONSENSUS ON SANCTIONS

In the Northeast Asian region, the circumstances that drive 
policies in each country are far from homogeneous, which is one 
of the reasons why the establishment of a much talked about 
multilateral security forum is so challenging.  Consensus is 
often almost impossible to reach.  The following section suggests 
(the lists are not exhaustive) possible reasons for and against 
supporting sanctions, illustrating the challenges to 
multilateralism in the security field. 

CHINA

REASONS FOR SUPPORTING SANCTIONS 1) Preserving the great strides 
made over the past three years in its relationship with South 
Korea.  Particularly in the area of economic cooperation and 
trade, China and South Korea have become valuable partners.  In 
order to preserve this important relationship, China does not 
want to be drawn into a situation where it has to play its last 
card.  Although if push came to shove and it had to choose one of 
the two to be partners with, it would almost certainly give the 
nod to Seoul, it does have an interest in maintaining relations 
with Pyongyang. China played a much greater role in cooperating 
with the international community against its formerly close ally 
than it would have a few years ago, although it was the main 
holdout in the search for a consensus on sanctions. 2) Preventing 
North Korea from going nuclear.  A nuclear armed North Korea 
would force both South Korea and Japan to consider their non-
nuclear pledges. 3) Preventing friction with the US, after 
tensions regarding Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status, 
human rights, arms sales and recent underground testing.  China 
doesn't need another flare up with the US.

REASONS FOR OPPOSING SANCTIONS  

1) Preserving stability on its frontier. Nuclear weapons on the 
peninsula would alter the security equation in the region however 
more importantly from China's perspective, a North Korea with 
nuclear weapons would not pose as much of a threat to China as a 
collapsing North Korea. China has an interest in preventing a 
hard landing for North Korea as it enters the international 
arena.  In the event of collapse, China would be forced to 
consider intervention lest the United States and South Korea move 
in to establish order, removing the buffer area on that Chinese 
border.  Whether one considers that sanctions would preserve 
stability or threaten stability really depends upon one's 
perspective. 2) Prevention of further feelings of isolation by 
Pyongyang which could provoke a rash response. North Korea's 
isolation, upon Seoul's normalization of relations with both the 
Soviet Union/Russia and China has been cited as one cause for 
Pyongyang's recalcitrance and pursuit of nuclear weapons as an 
equalizer in the unfavourable shift in the military balance. 3) 
Possibility of more leverage by being "on side" than against 
Pyongyang.  Beijing has continually denied any significant 
leverage over Pyongyang, although it appears that its actions 
behind the scenes just prior to Carter's visit may have laid the 
foundation for a more receptive Kim Il-sung. 4) Feelings of 
"kinship" for its comrades in arms.  The octogenarian leadership 
of both China and North Korea have had an enduring relationship 
for over 40 years.  Although not always on the best of terms, the 
octogenarian set in China is likely the only group in the world 
to possibly know the North Korean leadership well.  Despite their 
differences, they may have felt great difficulty in completely 
abandoning their former comrades in arms. 5) Inability to 
effectively enforce sanctions along the border.  Trade along the 
remote border of Jilin Province, formed by the Tumen River, 
accounts for more than 40% of North Korea's trade with China.  
The trade is important to the local economy on the Chinese side, 
which is home to most of China's Korean minority.  Attempts to 
enforce the sanctions would have been difficult at best. 6) 
Irritation by Washington's continued interference on human 
rights. It could be said that Beijing threw its support in the 
sanctions ring after Washington granted MFN privileges at the end 
of May.  However, if the US irritated China enough, China could 
use the sanctions card to frustrate the US and demonstrate its 
strength. 7) China dual role as both an emerging superpower and 
as a representative of developing nations.  China stated that the 
United States shouldn't push around smaller nations like North 
Korea. 8) China is willing to support arms control relative to 
other countries but doesn't want to draw attention to its own 
program or set a precedent for retaliation.  Despite movements 
toward the extension of the NPT and a ratification of a CTBT, 
China has conducted two tests in less than a year, to the great 
disappointment of other nations.

JAPAN

REASONS FOR SUPPORTING SANCTIONS (basically international)

1) Demonstrate commitment to the US-Japan relationship but also 
to follow the US lead in security issues, despite trade tensions.  
2) Show commitment to international security efforts, after its 
hesitancy to respond during the Gulf War and international 
criticism of its chequebook diplomacy. 3) Demonstrate its 
commitment to the non-proliferation movement.  There are 
suspicions that if North Korea were proven to have nuclear 
capability, Japan would entertain the thought of developing its 
own arsenal. 4) Ensure that it has a place at the table regarding 
issues related to Korea.  If it didn't support sanctions and 
contribute to solving the issue, its role in contributing to the 
Korean problem in the first place as a colonial power could have 
been emphasized. 5) Preserve the modest improvements made in 
Japanese-South Korean political and economic relations, despite 
still suffering lack of trust in military and social relations.

 REASONS FOR OPPOSING SANCTIONS  (basically domestic)

1) Political liquidity of Japanese domestic politics. Now on its 
third Prime Minister in almost as many months, Japan is led by a 
shaky coalition government, which affects consistent foreign 
policy. 2) Strong influence of the Japan Socialist Party (JSP).  
The current leader, Tomoiichi Murayama is the first socialist 
leader in four decades.  Although considered a moderate, the JSP 
has not  supported sanctions.  3) Difficulty in controlling 
remittances to North Korea Although Murayama is seen as a 
moderate, the Japan Socialist Party receives a significant amount 
of support from the pro- Pyongyang Korean minority and would face 
great opposition from that small but quite powerful group. 4) 
Threats by Pyongyang that any actions to cut off remittances will 
result in retaliation. Many people feel that Japan is a primary 
target for North Korean missiles, possibly moreso than the Korean 
brethren in the South. 5) Domestic opposition to participation of 
the Self Defence Forces (SDF) in an international embargo.  
Japan's current constitution would not allow Japan to participate 
in a UN embargo. The issue of constitutional revision is a hot 
topic both in Japan and within the region. 6) Fears of reprisal 
for "squeezing" the Korean minority in Japan.  By attacking the 
pro- Pyongyang Korean community in Japan, Tokyo could have a 
significant "minority" issue on its hands, if the pro-Seoul 
Koreans rally behind their brethren, seeing the issue as another 
slap in the face to the ever-oppressed Koreans in Japan.

RUSSIA

REASONS FOR SUPPORTING SANCTIONS 

1) Demonstrate commitment to burgeoning Russian-South Korean 
relations.  Seoul and Moscow have made great strides in economic, 
diplomatic, and military cooperation in a very short time.  2)  
Demonstrate commitment to its place in "the western camp" and at 
try to hold onto a role as a political power, if it cannot be an 
economic power at this point. 3) Demonstrate commitment to the 
NPT and prevent blame being laid for already contributing to 
North Korean nuclear weapons development. 4) Keep the West happy. 
Russia's reliance on western aid/support for its political and 
economic survival limits its ability to take stands against those 
supplying such aid.

REASONS FOR OPPOSING SANCTIONS  

1) Retaliation for not being consulted on draft resolution in 
mid-June. 2) Desire to demonstrate that its vote still counts and 
has some clout.

SOUTH KOREA

REASONS FOR SUPPORTING SANCTIONS 

1) Take an active role in drafting sanctions, rather than being 
marginalized by Pyongyang 2) Reassert and maintain the co-lead in 
the negotiations with North Korea, vis-a-vis the United States. 
Not only did North Korea succeed in marginalizing Seoul, but also 
the United States effectively marginalized South Korea as well.  
3) Assure South Korea a co-lead position in any regional 
negotiating forum, either during the push for sanctions or in a 
post-sanctions situation. 

REASONS FOR OPPOSING SANCTIONS  

1) Fear of retaliation by Pyongyang if sanctions are imposed. The 
"sea of fire" comment will not be soon forgotten. 2) Give 
Pyongyang "a way out" by dealing with South Korea, despite 
constant marginalization by Pyongyang  as it dealt primarily with 
the United States. 3) Fear of economic collapse and subsequent 
hard landing. South Korea is keenly aware of the costs of 
unification, which would be significantly higher in the event of 
collapse in the North.  After tasting the benefits of economic 
growth and prosperity, many South Koreans do not wish to take a 
step down in that standard of living, a situation sure to arise 
if the North experiences a hard landing.

UNITED STATES

REASONS FOR SUPPORTING SANCTIONS 

1) Show strong resolve in foreign policy which has been under 
fire for  being too weak and inconsistent under Clinton. 2) 
Demonstrate commitment to the security of the Asia-Pacific region 
in general and to South Korea in particular. Concerns regarding 
the future of the US military presence and security guarantee in 
the Asia-Pacific region has generated numerous concerns. 3) Show 
strong resolve for enforcing the NPT and the global non-
proliferation regime, by demonstrating to cheaters that they 
cannot avoid serious consequences.  Deter threshold states from 
entertaining ideas of following North Korea's lead.  The NPT 
extension conference and the drive for a CTBT weigh heavy on 
Washington's mind.

REASONS FOR OPPOSING SANCTIONS  

1) If they were not 100% certain that they could 1) get consensus 
on sanctions and 2) ensure their effectiveness, sanctions should 
not have been pushed for.  Sanctions are better as a threat than 
a reality.  Once you move to sanctions and if they fail, the 
bargaining leverage is lost.  2) If sanctions succeed, they could 
cause either implosion (collapse) or explosion (retaliation). 
Both situations are extremely dangerous. 3) Avoid conflict with 
China. 



LESSONS FROM THE DRIVE FOR SANCTIONS 

We can see a direct relationship between the increasing 
prominence of sanctions and the growing tensions on the peninsula 
and among participants.  However, as sanctions grew in 
importance, the consensus began to wane as individual factors or 
conditions affecting each individual player were brought into 
starker reality.  Although there was unanimity on the severity of 
the situation, it was impossible to come to a consensus  on the 
appropriate response, due to the stark differences in the 
circumstances related to their respective domestic and foreign 
policies.  

The "sanctions of June issue" was in reality an attempt at 
alleviating the problem multilaterally but which was played out 
and ultimately solved along various bilateral lines, with both 
positive and negative results.  As the tension reached its peak, 
the exercise became one of a bilateral showdown between North 
Korea and the United States, resulting fortunately in an 
improvement in their very strained relationship, and subsequently 
breathing new life into North-South dialogue, IAEA-North Korean 
dialogue, and further US-North Korean dialogue. 

The complexity of the Northeast Asian region makes it difficult 
to reach multilateral consensus in a timely fashion.  In this 
case, the value of the multilateral effort lay in 1) its success 
in defining the severity of the issue, 2) defining the priorities 
of the major players, 3) maintaining pressure while bilateral 
dynamics played out.  In reality, despite how successfully the 
international community could rally together, what Pyongyang 
wanted was direct, high- level talks with the United States, 
which is exactly what it ultimately got.  The nuclear card 
allowed the North Korean leadership attain and sustain (sometimes 
off and on) high level dialogue at the international negotiating 
table, most often with its desired partner, Washington.

It appears that bilateral efforts made the difference at critical 
junctures, but also served to derail the process from time to 
time, such as US-China tensions over MFN and both Moscow's and 
Washington's infantile protests of not being consulted prior to 
the tabling of their respective proposals. The Carter visit let 
everyone off the hook in having to put their money where their 
mouths were.  With the death of Kim Il-sung, the situation has 
now been frozen in time, giving all parties, including those of 
us trying to keep up with the situation, some time to breathe. 

 THE APPLICATION OF CBM MENUS IN BILATERAL CONTEXTS

In attempting to improve relations, timing is everything, and 
what can be offered or agreed upon by one party may not occur at 
the same time for all involved.  In general, by continuing to 
strive for improvements in bilateral relationships, it is 
possible to take advantage of the "windows of opportunity" that 
may exist for solving a long standing problem or building 
confidence, which will not occur at the same time for all parties 
involved.  By earnestly pursuing policies to understand and 
address the individual needs and concerns of Northeast Asian 
neighbours and in conjunction with efforts to establish regular 
channels of mulitlateral dialogue, it is possible to work toward 
an official  multilateral dialogue in the future. However, it 
will always be a difficult struggle.  

 The bilateral relationships of Northeast Asia are characterised 
by an intricate blend of political/diplomatic, economic and 
military stumbling blocks while different priorities (economic 
growth, political reform, military modernisation) exist within 
each country each year. Based on the five Northeast Asian States 
(China, Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea, there are ten 
different bilateral relationships, only two of which have any 
current or previous alliance affiliation (North Korea-China and 
North Korea-Russia).  As a result, there are eight independent 
relationships, falling at different points along the friend- 
enemy spectrum, which require the development of measures to 
promote trust and solve some persisting problems, so that central 
decision makers will come to see that neighbours are not the 
threat they once were or  the threat they might become.  

By initially utilising a combination of basic information, 
communication, and constraint CBMs, it is possible to attempt to 
negotiate, what Gerald Segal refers to as an effective menu of a 
la carte measures. For the Northeast Asian region, it is also 
important to include a category of non-traditional CBMs, either 
quasi-military or non-military CBMs, to deal with comprehensive 
security concerns, including economic, political, environmental 
and cultural security issues.  Although not part of the European 
experience, they would prove useful in the intricate Northeast 
Asian security context.  The measures proposed here are very 
modest in nature, like the Helsinki CBMs of 1975, yet they could 
provide a starting point in developing a habit of dialogue and 
allow individual pairs of countries to move at their own pace in 
improving their relations and addressing issues of mutual 
concern.  As most of the threats at this point are not imminent, 
this exercise has value in establishing avenues of dialogue 
before crisis situations occur and provides a foundation for a 
regional security dialogue and broader CBM regime in the future.  
The following section will trace recent developments in the eight 
bilateral relationships and delineate modest packages of CBMs 
that form the foundation for a more comprehensive regional 
security mechanism in the near future.

   

RUSSO-JAPANESE RELATIONS The Northern Territories dispute serves 
as a diplomatic stumbling block to building confidence as it 
impedes developments in both the military and economic arenas; 
consequently, many have argued for delinking the territorial 
dispute from efforts to develop contacts in other areas.  
However, some progress has been made recently. Indeed, Russian 
President Boris Yeltsin finally visited Tokyo for a long awaited 
summit in October 1993, after failing to show for two previously 
scheduled summit meetings, where Yeltsin and then Japanese Prime 
Minister Morihiro Hosokawa discussed a proposal for the transfer 
of two of the four disputed islands.  If realised, such a 
development would be the most significant in Japanese-Russian 
relations to date and would pave the way for greater cooperation, 
particularly economic, which Japan had stated cannot be fully 
realised until resolution of the dispute. Returning the disputed 
Northern Territories has met with strong opposition form within 
Russia for two reasons: 1) nationalist resistance to losing yet 
another piece of Russian territory, and more importantly 2) 
relinquishing the strategic advantages provided by the islands. 
The islands screen the Sea of Okhotsk, which hosts Russian 
submarine bases and ballistic-missile-firing area, serve as bases 
for advanced jet fighters and signals-intelligence posts, and 
bestow valuable mineral and fishing rights.  Although there is 
little likelihood of Russian military aggression against Japan, 
the presence of Russian naval, air and ground forces within the 
sight of Hokkaido coupled with uncertainty in Russia's domestic 
politics is of concern to Tokyo.  

An additional stumbling block in Russo-Japanese relations is 
Russia's persistent dumping of nuclear waste at sea, which has 
been carried out for over 20 years and which continues due to the 
"lack of funds" necessary to establish suitable land based 
storage.  The dumping endangers both Japanese and South Korean 
waters and Russia has been pressuring Japan for aid in 
establishing a comprehensive waste disposal system.  

Russia and Japan already signed an agreement on the Prevention of 
Incidents at Sea in September 1992 and military officials have 
been engaging in bilateral security dialogue. Yeltsin and 
Hosokawa agreed to increase high level exchanges of officials, 
promote non- proliferation, enhance the role of the United 
Nations and work to make Russia a part of the Asia-Pacific 
community.    Further confidence building measures could include 
the following:

* No first use of force declaration * Exchange of data on defence 
spending, force structure and deployment.  Japan is still 
concerned about Russian deployments in the Far East, especially 
after the conclusion of the CFE Treaty, and the fate of the 
Russian Pacific Fleet.  * Exchange of military officials  This 
should include contacts with both central and regional officials, 
as authority within Russia is steadily devolving to regional 
administrations and many decisions are increasingly being made by 
regional commands. * Notification of airforce and particularly 
naval manoeuvres and movements  Japan's concern over security of 
the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) makes this a particularly 
vital issue.  The observation of military manoeuvres could be 
negotiated in the near future, after the mutual dialogue process 
is underway. * Establishment of a hot line and a cool line * 
Establishment of a nuclear consultative group to discuss issues 
of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear waste disposal, nuclear 
safety and nuclear power.  These issues are of mutual concern to 
both countries and could provide a focus for unofficial 
discussions of concerns and strategies regarding these issues.  
The findings could be communicated to respective governments, 
providing an unofficial and non-confrontational dialogue channel 
between administrations.

JAPANESE-NORTH KOREAN RELATIONS Negotiations on normalisation 
between Japan and North Korea broke off at the eighth round of 
talks in Beijing in November 1992, when Pyongyang refused Tokyo's 
demand for an investigation into the alleged abduction of a 
Japanese national.  However, when there seemed to be an easing of 
Pyongyang's recalcitrant attitude toward nuclear inspections by 
the IAEA early in the year, Tokyo stated in mid February that it 
would seek to resume negotiations with Pyongyang, although this 
was sidelined by the negative events beginning in March 1994 when 
Pyongyang prevented the IAEA from completing thorough inspections 
of North Korean nuclear facilities.  Nonetheless, Japan is in a 
good position to participate in economic cooperation with North 
Korea since it has the money and is not obstructed by the 
intricacies of the reunification issue.  Possible confidence 
building measures could include: 

* No first use of force declaration Although both North Korea and 
Tokyo fear the use of nuclear weapons more than conventional 
weapons, the inclusion of "nuclear" in such a declaration would 
imply 1) an undeclared intention of Japan to develop a nuclear 
capability, and 2) the current development or existence of 
nuclear weapons by North Korea.  Discussion of that issue would 
only serve to impede other CBMs and thus, a general declaration 
covering all types of weapons (conventional, chemical, biological 
and nuclear) would be more effective. * Consultation between 
defence officials should be encouraged if only that it 
establishes a channel for dialogue, available for use in the 
event of a crisis situation. * Notification of military 
manoeuvres in the Sea of Japan Although North Korea's cash- 
strapped economy precludes large scale military manoeuvres at 
this time, such a promise would be a good place to begin a 
reciprocal agreement.  Japan staged its largest military exercise 
in post-war history during early October 1993, and the first 
combined exercise since 1983.  Observation of manoeuvres would 
not be agreed to by Pyongyang, for fear of revealing weaknesses 
more than strengths. * Consultations on economic cooperation and 
tourism Pyongyang is appealing for foreign investment in free 
trade zones, and although the conditions are not favourable for 
investment due to lack of infrastructure, it is an opportunity 
for Japan to encourage North Korea out of its isolation, while 
the cooperative experience could be the basis for greater 
developments in the political or military realms.  

These measures are extremely limited but do represent a start to 
the process. Basic communication measures are the only reasonable 
measures that can be suggested at this time.

JAPANESE-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS Despite a continued underlying 
lack of trust, relations and cooperation continue to improve. 
South Korean President Kim Young Sam hosted Japanese Prime 
Minister Hosokawa for a successful summit meeting in November 
1993, where Hosokawa delivered a clear apology to Koreans for 
Japan's aggression during the colonial period and WWII, the first 
time a Japanese politician had sufficiently addressed the issue.  
However, former Justice Minister Nagano did significant damage to 
the goodwill that was engendered by Hosokawa's remarks.  
Confidence building measures that have been agreed upon to date 
include frequent meetings of defence ministers and ranking 
defence officials, agreements for reciprocal goodwill portcalls 
by naval vessels,which will carry Korean naval academy cadets to 
Japan this autumn while a Japanese warship is scheduled to make a 
return visit next year, and  the exchange of flight schedules of 
military aircraft to aid in avoiding collisions.  During the 1994 
Rimpac exercises which ended in late June, the U.S., Japan and 
South Korea exercised as a team against the Canadian-Australian 
team, a first but not something that was easily agreed upon.  
Such agreements represent significant developments in the 
military sphere, if they are indeed carried out, but compared to 
bilateral economic and political cooperation, military and 
cultural exchanges still lag far behind.

* Non-use of force declaration * Direct exchange of military 
information, including published white papers, defence budgets, 
force structures, weapon systems, and weapons system development 
information.  As both have mutual security treaties with the 
United States, there is little threat of short term military 
confrontation, but the act of exchanging information is more 
important that the actual information exchanged,  in establishing 
the process of information sharing. * Exchange of defence 
officials and defence ministers to establish communication on a 
high level and provide an opportunity to clarify misplaced threat 
perceptions and discuss mutual concerns. * Exchange of military 
delegations of mid-ranking and lower ranking military personnel. 
This would provide the opportunity for better understanding the 
fundamental nature of each group.  This should be conducted on 
the basis of invitation, demonstrating goodwill and a desire for 
better relations. The inclusion of naval cadets on warships 
conducting port calls is an important step. * Establishment of 
hot lines and cool lines In the short run, these may serve more 
as a communication link relating to the North Korean crisis 
rather than an emergency link between the two countries. * 
Notification of military activities, particularly naval and air 
in the Sea of Japan. * Observation of military activities This 
could be undertaken by joint teams of Korean and US Forces Korea 
military personnel and Japanese and US Forces Japan military 
personnel, the US forces acting as a buffer between direct Japan-
South Korean activity.  The US Forces, having a working 
understanding of both militaries, may be well positioned to 
clarify misunderstandings or aid in communication.  This should 
be undertaken at first by invitation, along the lines of the 
Helsinki CBMs, later expanding to obligatory observation. * 
Promotion of the cultural exchange high school and university 
students, sponsored by both government and business groups with 
commercial interests in the other country.  Emphasis should be 
placed on visiting a variety of historic and culturally important 
sites, providing students the opportunity to better understand 
the foundations of the other culture and to dispel persistent 
disdain.  In addition, students should be asked to identify 
issues that they consider to be important on a regional or global 
scale.  Issues of common interest could then serve as a focal 
point for an ongoing and task oriented project addressing the 
concerns.  Access to quality mass culture (such as movies, music  
and arts) should be permitted and promoted jointly.  This 
unconventional measure is important to address the persistent 
lack of accurate understanding about each country.  Prejudices 
persist and will continue to breed suspicions in the future 
unless addressed now. 

After implementation of these information and communication CBMs, 
South Korea and Japan could move to apply constraint CBMs.

* Mutual inspection of facilities related to nuclear energy, the 
nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear weapons development capability.  
After employing these basic information and communication CBMs 
and developing a habit of consultation, it would be useful to 
discuss implementation of such an inspection regime, given that 
both South Korea and Japan are concerned about future weapons 
development  spurred by changes in the international environment.  

 SINO-JAPANESE RELATIONS Both China and Japan share suspicions 
about one another's aspirations for economic and military 
dominance in Northeast Asia in the 21st Century. However, China 
and Japan have made moves to establish links between both their 
foreign and defence ministries.  Inaugural security talks were 
held in December 1993, where Japan's defence policy and China's 
rapid equipment modernisation program were discussed, providing a 
good starting point from which to proceed with modest CBMs.

* No first use of force declaration * Publication and exchange of 
defence budget, force structure and deployment. China recently 
printed a white paper on defence, although it was a very brief 
document which contained basically the same information found in 
the IISS Military Balance.  However, the fact that Beijing 
produced one at all is a significant step in itself.  China's 
defence budget does not include revenue earned from the 
production of civilian goods or arms sales, nor does it include 
arms purchases.  Efforts should be made for standardisation of 
this information and subsequent direct exchange. * Continued 
exchange of high level defence officials The military still has a 
great deal of influence politically in China, and thus it is 
important to establish positive relations with those in charge at 
the higher levels.  In addition, the military has become involved 
in business and development projects.  Economic cooperation in 
general but particularly with military enterprises producing 
civilian goods could establish a mutually beneficial 
relationship. * Establish hot and cool lines * Notification of 
naval and air manoeuvres or movements China, Japan and Taiwan all 
claim the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. 
Beijing's recent bold reassertion of its sovereignty over the 
Senkakus, the Spratly's and the Paracels and subsequent 
stationing of additional troops in the Spratly's has alarmed many 
in the region, fearing that Beijing may be willing to take the 
islands by force. This casts suspicion over unexpected manoeuvres 
or deployments and thus advance notification by both is very 
important. 

The Chinese have been known to value their secrecy, which 
although it makes a good case for transparency, necessitates 
development in a very gradual manner.  China staunchly advocates 
non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and 
thus would resist implementation of intrusive measures, at least 
in the formative stages of a relationship.

 SINO-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS  Seoul and Beijing have witnessed 
bilateral trade soar, particularly since they normalised 
relations in August 1992.  Memorandums of Understanding have been 
signed in telecommunications cooperation, joint development of 
natural resources in the Yellow Sea, high technology, aerospace 
and automobiles, cultural exchanges, fisheries concerns.  On the 
diplomatic front, in 1993 China returned the remains of five 
Korean independence fighters to South Korea, and have agreed on a 
joint public servant training program.  On the military side, the 
foreign ministers agreed to exchange military attaches between 
embassies - four South Korean attaches were sent to Beijing last 
year, while two Chinese army colonels have recently been 
stationed at a military attach  office in Seoul. Although most of 
the developments between the two former enemies are in the 
economic sphere, small steps are being made in the security 
arena.  This heightened interdependency certainly contributed to 
China's moderating role in the sanctions debate.

* Non-use of force declaration * Publication and exchange of 
defence budgets and  force structure * Notification of naval and 
airforce manoeuvres particularly in the East China Sea. * Hot 
lines and cool lines  for immediate consultation in crisis. This 
could be most useful in dealing with developments in the North 
Korean situation.

As Pyongyang's lone remaining ally, Beijing has been sensitive 
not to alienate Pyongyang by undertaking significant steps in the 
area of military confidence building and cooperation with Seoul, 
lest it isolate Pyongyang further and prompt it to resort to 
drastic measures.  By the same token, an exceptionally weak 
stance on Pyongyang's intransigence could adversely affect the 
budding Seoul-Beijing relationship.  For the time being, a 
bilateral relationship fostered by economic and industrial 
cooperation would seem more prudent than seeking far reaching 
methods of military cooperation.  One area slated for industrial 
cooperation is in the construction, operation and management of 
nuclear power plants, which could provide the foundation for a 
trilateral or multilateral cooperation project with North Korea, 
which is desperately in need of electricity. 

SINO-RUSSIAN RELATIONS The current relationship between Beijing 
and Moscow is one of the most active of the previously 
antagonistic relationships in the region and one which has 
displayed the most characteristics of traditional and successful 
European style confidence building measures. Since the early 
1980s significant unilateral, non-negotiated cuts in border 
troops and tanks have been made by both Beijing and Moscow. The 
first formal agreement was not signed until 24 April 1990, when 
Li Peng visited Moscow to discuss further border reductions.  
Currently senior Ministry of Defence officials exchange visits, 
and officials at the political level meet regularly to discuss 
issues of regional and global concern.

In December 1992, Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Yang 
Shangkun, signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to 
accelerate work on a mutual reduction of armed forces in the 
border region and building confidence in the military sphere 
across the border, culminating in an agreement by the end of 
1994.  Until then, they agreed to reduce armed forces in the 
agreed border region to a minimum level, give remaining troops a 
clearly defensive nature, and commit to "no first use" of nuclear 
weapons nor to use the threat of nuclear use against any non-
nuclear state.  Prior to the Yeltsin-Yang meeting, the eighth 
round of Sino-Russian disarmament talks was held, resulting in a 
commitment to eventually withdraw their main forces back 100 km 
on each side of the border to establish a 200 km stability zone 
of decreased military activity.  In November 1993, Russian 
Defence Minister Pavel Grachev met with his Chinese counterpart 
Chi Haotian in Beijing, the first Russian defence minister to 
visit China since the Soviet breakup.  In establishing further 
confidence building measures, they agreed to send 3 additional 
military attaches to each capital, exchange military delegations 
(7 Chinese delegations are slated for Moscow in 1994), jointly 
develop a new jet fighter for China, the Super 7, based on the 
Russian MiG-21, and signed a five year agreement on military 
cooperation and the promotion of friendly relations between the 
two armies.  The most recent agreement is the accord on the 
Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities (PDMA) along the 
border during maneuvers, accidental missile firings or unintended 
frontier violations.

Ironically, the success of these bilateral confidence building 
measures can have a potentially adverse affect on other regional 
players, who might view the new relationship as a little too cosy 
for comfort.  Pyongyang has certainly been isolated by this 
evolution, as it can no longer play China and Russia off against 
one another.  Japan and South Korea may also be threatened by 
such a development in the future.  Such is the paradox of 
bilateral confidence building in a regional context:  confidence 
building in one case can stimulate confidence erosion in another.

 RUSSO-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS  Russia has eyed South Korea as a 
possible substitute economic partner for Japan, yet despite 
surging two-way trade, which has doubled in the last five years, 
the economic and political cooperation foreseen when diplomatic 
relations were restored in 1990 has failed to materialize for two 
main reasons: 1) Seoul's suspension of economic aid due to 
Moscow's tardy servicing of interest payments on previous loans; 
and 2) Russia's refusal to pay compensation for victims of the 
Korean Air Lines flight shot down ten years ago. However, the 
successful summit meetings between Kim Young- sam and Boris 
Yeltsin held in June, look to have served to kick-start an 
increasingly cooperative relationship.

Military ties have been expanding rapidly and Russia is hoping to 
expand military cooperation with South Korea.  In August 1993, a 
Russian flotilla paid a goodwill visit to Pusan, the first since 
1904, while two South Korean ships made a return port call in 
Vladivostok one month later. Russia has proposed joint naval 
drills but Seoul has yet to agree.   An agreement for personnel 
exchanges, including defence ministers and ranking military 
officials has been signed. Russia envisages increased military 
exchanges, leading to joint rescue exercises for fishing boats 
and ultimately combined drills.   They have agreed to co-produce 
modern weapons, utilizing South Korean capital and marketing 
expertise and Russia's technological expertise. They have 
established a hot line  between the Kremlin and the Blue House, 
which was used one week after installation during the mounting 
crisis in June. During Kim Young-sam's summit trip, he visited 
the Russian Fleet in Vladivostok, a very symbolic end to their 
Cold-War tensions and a strong message to North Korea.

Russia seems to have little concern for the impact that closer 
relations with Seoul will have on Pyongyang.  Although North 
Korea still permits Russia overflight rights en route to Vietnam, 
the two countries have ceased joint naval manoeuvres since 1990. 
Russia has also terminated nuclear and military assistance to its 
former close ally.  Although the Treaty of Friendship, 
Cooperation and Military Assistance signed in 1961 remains in 
effect, Article 1 which promises military intervention in the 
event of conflict is essentially null and void.  Of note, at the 
request of the Russian Foreign Ministry, a meeting was held 
between foreign ministry officials for the first time in two 
years, indicating moves to restore relations.  The topic for 
discussion was the North Korean nuclear issue. 

NORTH-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS The North-South relationship is 
currently at an impasse, as Pyongyang insists on dealing directly 
with the United States on the NPT issue. However, North and South 
Korea had made progress in the realm of confidence building by 
agreeing to The Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, and 
Exchange and Cooperation at the sixth Inter-Korean prime 
minister's talks in 1990.  During the talks, Seoul indicated its 
acceptance of Pyongyang's proposal for simultaneous, mutual 
inspections, and went further to propose a simultaneous trial 
inspection at the end of January 1992.  In addition, they signed 
the Joint North-South Declaration on Denuclearisation, 31 
December 1991, pledging the renunciation of nuclear processing 
and uranium enrichment facilities and a North-South reciprocal 
inspection, to be carried out by the Joint Nuclear Control 
Commission (JNCC).  Disagreements over the scope of inspections 
and necessity of challenge inspections prohibited progress of the 
JNCC and served as a warning sign to Seoul that Pyongyang was 
stalling for time to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.  
However, regardless of previous steps and agreements relating to 
arms control and confidence building, it would seem that there is 
little hope for the resumption of positive steps until the NPT 
crisis is resolved. 

There has been endless debate regarding the use of carrots and/or 
sticks in dealing with Pyongyang's intransigence.  The main 
carrot to be offered by both Seoul and the international 
community would be economic assistance while the primary stick 
would be economic sanctions.  However, although investment is 
desperately needed, it would almost certainly be accompanied by a 
foreign presence, which brings both polluting influences to North 
Korean society and potential witnesses of North Korea's decay and 
suspected human rights violations, turning a carrot into a 
"poisoned carrot." 

The challenge for Kim Jong Il is how to attract desperately 
needed foreign investment and aid without allowing information 
from the outside world to filter in, or permitting the 
international community to truly witness the state of internal 
affairs.  Confirmation of reported human rights violations would 
almost certainly pose barriers to valuable economic aid, and 
Pyongyang must surely be sensitive to Washington's policy towards 
China, which linking the renewal of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) 
status with an improvement in its human rights record. There is 
clearly an inverse relationship between the amount of information 
that seeps in or seeps out, and the prospects for the survival of 
the Kim regime.  However, the situation will be even more of a 
question mark until it is determined just what strategy Kim Jong 
Il will utilize to hold onto power, openness or isolation, and if 
indeed he survives, politically or literally.

BILATERAL CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES: A SUMMARY Bilateral 
confidence building measures can be useful in dealing with the 
issue-specific nature of relations in Northeast Asia and they 
provide flexibility in circumventing stumbling blocks that would 
otherwise be road blocks in a multilateral confidence building 
regime.  The proposals suggested here are extremely modest and 
militarily insignificant, primarily utilising information and 
communication CBMs, while leaving verification and constraint 
CBMs for application after some barriers of mistrust and 
misperception have been broken down. Verification plays a vital 
role in confidence building, but at the outset it is important 
for nations to get to the table and establish channels for 
dialogue. There is reason for caution however.  With every 
improvement in bilateral relations, there is the possibility of a 
counter-reaction by another regional member, who may feel 
threatened when a previously adversarial or benign relationship 
improves, as evidenced by North Korea's mounting feeling of 
isolation..  For this reason, it is important to work 
simultaneously toward enhancing a regional security dialogue 
process as well.



AN EXERCISE IN REGIONAL COOPERATION

For a number of years now, there have been a host of proposals 
tabled to establish a framework for a multilateral security 
dialogue in Asia, at both regional and subregional levels.  
Although opposed at first by the Americans, Japanese and Chinese, 
there has been a gradual acceptance of the idea but difficulties 
have arisen over the form.  Finally, on a large regional scale, 
there is now the ASEAN Regional Forum at the governmental level 
and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Asia-
Pacific (CSCAP) at the non- governmental level  as venues for 
dialogue.  Establishing a consensus on or implementing confidence 
building measures on such a wide scale however, is difficult at 
best due to the large number of countries involved and their 
divergent interests. 

The difficulty in establishing a regional security framework is 
in trying to find a common, tangible interest that all states 
benefit from and none suffer.   As Stewart Henderson notes:

 States do not base their security on altruistic, unfounded 
notions of cooperation.  It is
only through an appeal to national interests that the building 
blocks of a cooperative
security system will be put in place.  Cooperative security is 
not a theory but a
practical method of dealing with important issues.  

Some had stated that the North Korean NPT crisis could have 
served as a focal point for regional cooperation, since it is the 
greatest threat to regional and quite possibly international 
security. This issue, more than any other issue, demonstrates the 
perils associated with lack of trust, the absence of reliable 
information and insensitivity to the fears of other states. 
However, as descibed earlier in this paper, although the NPT 
crisis has served as a catalyst in bringing together nations that 
would otherwise not cooperate on international foreign policy, it 
has also served as a divisive issue, underscoring the 
difficulties inherent in the multilateral approach to problem 
solving.  Therefore, although it is in the interests of all to 
continue to work together to improve the situation on the Korean 
peninsula, it does not quite fit the aforementioned criteria as 
an ideal problem solving solution to enhancing regional 
cooperation. 

It is a tall order to find such a common problem acceptable for 
cooperation by all Northeast Asian states, but there is one that 
exists now, is a threat to all in the region, and which all 
states, even North Korea, can cooperate in addressing.  This is 
the dumping of nuclear waste (primarily and most extensively by  
Russia) into the Sea of Japan.

In April 1993, it was revealed that Moscow had been dumping 
nuclear waste into the Sea of Japan at least since the earliest 
records were kept in 1966. Public outcry has been especially loud 
in Japan, as the dumping is practically on its doorstep but  both 
Koreas and China have also condemned the dumping. Tokyo was 
particularly enraged that Moscow would dump nuclear waste on 
Japan's doorstep only days after Yeltsin visited Japan to improve 
bilateral relations, seemingly without any warning. 

Russia claims that it has no choice by to dump the waste at sea 
because it lacks the storage capacity on land and the amount 
currently stored on floating tankers is growing as submarines and 
other atomic powered navy vessels are being decommissioned. In 
late February, Russia said that it could not ratify the permanent 
ban on nuclear dumping but would "endeavour to avoid pollution of 
the sea by dumping of wastes and other matter" according to the 
International Maritime Organization.  However, subsequent reports 
indicate that Russia sees the need to continue dumping. Japan has 
recently pledged $100 million to help with the construction of 
storage facilities. Japan has agreed to finance the construction 
of a reprocessing plant by Japanese firms in Russia's Far East if 
Russia stops the dumping, although these would take two years to 
construct. 

Although there are numerous multilateral environmental and 
economic cooperative projects already underway and highly 
successful, this situation is unique in that it is a highly 
visible problem, politically significant, emotional and cuts 
across political, environmental, security, and nuclear safety 
concerns and thus provides a good opportunity for joint 
cooperative efforts in achieving a common goal.  This issue 
overlaps a wide range of government agencies and officials from 
departments of foreign affairs, environment, science and 
technology, national security and maritime and port 
administrations.  Cooperation by similar ministries of the 
regional members could be a prime example of non-traditional CBM, 
as it would establish a channel for dialogue in which all have a 
common goal.  Likely 80% of the people who would be involved in 
an arms control and confidence building dialogue would have to be 
involved in such a project.

The issue is not only the dumping of low level radioactive waste, 
which is a highly visible, political and psychological issue, but 
is also dealing with the spent fuel rods upon decommissioning. 
These rods, which are highly radio-active and can be reprocessed 
for use in a bomb pose both a safety and a safeguards risk.  
Finally, there is the issue of the reactor, which must be 
physically extracted from the vessels and dealt with effectively.  
In the past, they have been dumped in the ocean as well.  With 
100 more ships to be decommissioned in the near future, 30-40 of 
which use nuclear propulsion, this issue is timely and a time-
bomb, not only in the environmental sense but as it affects 
Russia's relations with its neighbours. It is critical to view 
such an approach not as an opportunity to gang-up on Russia and 
condemn it for what is has done, for this would be a confidence-
destroying measure.  Rather, it should be viewed as a 
constructive way to improve the situation for all in the region 
by mobilizing finanical resources, technology and enthusiasm from 
where they exist and utilize them to jointly address a problem 
that affects all in thre region.

The public perception of nuclear issues, be it weapons or energy 
or waste, is of great concern to the all Northeast Asian 
administrations, who are all committed to nuclear energy.  
Negative press on this issue could pose domestic challenges as 
people question the safety of the nuclear energy option.  This 
could provide the Northeast Asian states with a viable, necessary 
and mutually beneficial project for cooperation.  Coupled with 
efforts to improve bilateral relations, an issue driven framework 
could be expanded into a regional security dialogue in the 
future, once efforts on the bilateral side level address the 
stumbling blocks to larger cooperation and facilitate the  view 
of a common house.

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.