DPRK (North Korea) Chronology for 1967–2000


Compiled by
Leon V. Sigal
Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “As a result of the incognito visit that Comrade Kim Il Sung made to Moscow at the end of last year, a high-level Korean delegation headed by Kim Il, [who is] a member of the Presidium of the Political Committee, a secretary of the Central Committee, and the first deputy of the premier, visited the Soviet Union from 13 February to 3 March. Other members of the delegation were Yi Chong-ok, [who is] a Political Committee member, a deputy premier, and the chairman of the Academy of Sciences; Deputy Minister of Defense O Chin-u, a deputy member of the Political Committee; O Tong-uk, a Central Committee member and the chairman of the Commission of Technical Development; and others. The delegation was received by L. Brezhnev and A. Kosygin, while the head of the Soviet delegation was First Deputy Premier Mazurov.[…] The Soviet side rejected the Korean request for the delivery of a nuclear power plant [emphasis in the original] (the experimental nuclear reactor that had been established with Soviet assistance was opened approx. one and a half year ago, and since then the Soviet comrades hardly know any data about its operation). […] István Kádas (ambassador)” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in the Soviet Union to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “According to information received from the competent department of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, several signs indicate that Sino-Korean relations keep worsening. Among these signs, we mention first of all that recently new pamphlets were published in Beijing that contain a sharp attack on the Korean Workers’ Party and the person of Kim Il Sung, threatening the leader of the Korean Workers’ Party that the Korean people would take vengeance on him for his revisionist policy. The estrangement in their relations was also indicated by, for instance, the circumstances under which the latest Chinese holiday was celebrated in the DPRK. At the reception at the Chinese Embassy, the level of representation on the Koreans’ part was very low, the telegram of congratulations the Korean leaders sent to the Chinese was very cold, and no festive mass meetings took place in the country on the occasion of the Chinese national holiday. According to the information available to our [Soviet] comrades, the Chinese Chargé d’Affaires in P’yongyang complains that his opportunities to maintain contacts are very limited. […] As is well-known, Comrade Brezhnev received Comrade Ch’oe Yong-gon during his stay here [in Moscow, during the celebrations of 7th November]. Comrade Brezhnev raised two groups of issues at this meeting. On the one hand, the problem of an international Communist meeting; on the other hand, the issue of the tension between North and South Korea along the demilitarized zone. […] Basically the Soviet Union does not accept the position of the DPRK with regard to the cause of the tension along the demilitarized zone. It thinks — and gives expression to this vis-a-vis the Korean comrades too — that the United States does not intend to increase tension in this region, and that nothing points to the conclusion that [the U.S.] really aims at starting a new Korean War. It is obvious that the various factors of the international situation of the USA, such as the Vietnam War, do not make the perspective of a new Asian war attractive for the United States. On the basis of the evidence available to it — among others, the statements made by the Czechoslovak and Polish members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission —, the Soviet Union has concluded that the majority of the incidents occurring along the demilitarized zone are initiated by the DPRK. The Soviets, on their part, expound to our Korean comrades that they understand the necessity of the DPRK’s struggle for the unification of the country. They support this struggle, but they are of the opinion that one should pay due regard to the concrete Korean and international conditions of the actual period when choosing the means and methods of the struggle. Therefore the Soviet side doubts that armed struggle is an appropriate method for the restoration of the unity of Korea. For instance, in a military sense it would be, in all probability, inappropriate to conclude that the numerical superiority the DPRK’s army has over the South Korean and American armies stationed in South Korea, and the essential militarization of the country, would render it possible for the DPRK to carry out successful military actions. Besides, the Soviet Union also tries to caution the DPRK against possible ill-considered actions by confining the military assistance it gives to that country to the supply of defensive arms. But the Korean comrades may make the mistake of not taking the nature and characteristics of modern warfare into consideration to a sufficient extent. […] József Oláh (chargé d’affaires)” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, February 29, 1968: “Recently the GDR chargé d’affaires ad interim in P’yongyang informed our embassy about the visit of the delegation of Korean nuclear experts to the GDR, which took place 4-12 December 1967, and about the discussions they had there. […] The three-member Korean delegation was headed by a vice-chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of the DPRK, the other members of the delegation were a departmental head of the Commission and the head of a major department of the Institute for Research on Atomic Energy. The host of the Korean delegation was the GDR State Planning Commission. During its stay there, the delegation visited several industrial plants, mines, institutes of higher education, and several research institutes related to the field [of nuclear science]. In the course of the final discussions between the hosts and the Korean delegation held on 12 December, the Korean side raised the following issues:

– The DPRK would like to sign an agreement with the GDR in the field of nuclear research. The delegation inquires about the possibility of signing such an agreement and about the opinion of the GDR.

The DPRK would like to obtain equipment needed for the construction of a nuclear power plant from the German side.

She asks the GDR to share the experiences gained in the operation of nuclear reactors with her.

– Purchase of equipment needed for producing radioactive isotopes from the GDR.

– They ask for the sharing of the experiences that the Germans gained in the field of radiation protection.

They proposed the mutual exchange of nuclear scientists.

– In the field of nuclear research the Korean side is ready to send trainees to the GDR.

– The DPRK would like to purchase the following from the GDR:

– instruments measuring radioactive isotopes

– measuring instruments used in nuclear physics

– certain secret equipments used in nuclear research

– microfilms or copies of articles that were published on nuclear research in Western scientific journals.

The German side gave the following reply to the proposals of the Korean delegation:

– As far as it is possible, the GDR is ready to cooperate with the Korean side in the field proposed by the latter.

– On the other hand, it is not in a position to make wide-ranging cooperation in every field of the peaceful utilization of atomic energy, since the GDR also cooperates with several socialist countries, above all with the Soviet Union. Although the signing of a possible agreement seems realistic, they ask the Korean comrades to appeal simultaneously to the countries that cooperate with the GDR.

– The German side acknowledges the verbal request of the Korean delegation, but only as information, for it asks [the North Koreans] to make their proposals on the government level in the form of a written request or to include the whole issue in the agreement on scientific and technical cooperation.

The German comrades strongly emphasized that the DPRK should appeal to the Soviet Union, because they [the East Germans] could enter into negotiations [with North Korea] only if the latter [the USSR] agrees with it. For instance, they can receive trainees only if the DPRK sends their scheme of work in advance. They [the East Germans] will decide on this basis whether it is possible to receive them.

– The GDR is ready to send a delegation of experts to the DPRK or receive one from that country. They ask that in such cases, the delegations should be given authorization by their governments. […]

Korean delegations of nuclear experts had visited Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union for a similar purpose, the German chargé d’affaires ad interim said. István Kádas (ambassador)” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)


Seizure of the Pueblo.

Romanian embassy in DPRK : “From our discussions with M. Golub, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia to Pyongyang, on January 29, we gathered that a dialogue between the representatives of the DPRK and American envoys took place and is expected to continue. With the help of the four neutral generals, Freeman, the Chief of Staff of the Third American Army stationed in South Korea, warned the head of the North Korean delegation at the Armistice Commission that in the event North Korea opened fire on South Korea, the armed forces of the United States would use the most modern means and weapons available, including the nuclear bomb, against the North Korean people. The document released by the United States asks the North Koreans for detailed information about the health of the USS Pueblo crew members.General Pak Jungguk answered both verbally and in writing that these threats did not intimidate the Korean people. He then discussed the health of the USS Pueblo crew members, warning that if the US tried to liberate the 83 crew members by force, they would only retrieve their corpses. According to Golub, it is promising that a dialogue on this issue began, even though the parties involved are using very harsh language. Based on the briefings received today from the general in Panmunjom, the neutral parties believe that the current situation is extremely dangerous. Golub informed us about some of the latest developments, which only make the current situation worse; he told us that the entire South Korean army was carrying out drills and preparations in response to the new and exceptional state of affairs, under the command of General [Charles H.] Bonesteel; six additional mining ships and torpedo boats were moving towards the DPRK waters; and two Soviet ships were stationed in the vicinity of the American carrier USS Enterprise, to monitor its activity. It is foreseeable that, in the future, more ships from the Soviet Pacific fleet will move to this area. Golub remarked that among the latest developments was the fact that members of the North Korean military delegation in Panmunjeom started to describe the USS Pueblo crew members as ‘prisoners of war,’ which means that the North Koreans did not intend to bring them before court. Describing the continuation of diplomatic activity to solve the conflict as a positive development, the Czechoslovakian diplomat mentioned that South Korea had recently invited U Thant to Seoul to show him the ‘revolutionary circumstances’ which the North keeps touting. At the same time, he pointed out the fact that Robert Kennedy advised President Johnson to urgently explore the possibility of signing a bilateral treaty with the Soviets to refrain from intervening in the case of a war in Korea, based on the legal commitments that the two countries have towards North Korea and South Korea, respectively. M. Golub pointed out that only the Soviet Union would have the influence over the DPRK to ameliorate the situation, since it is beyond any doubt that the Chinese would push the events towards a military conflict.” (Cable 76.027 from N. Popa, Romanian Embassy, to Buchrest, January 29, 1968, Top Secret)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “In the last 2-3 weeks the Romanian Ambassador and he ([Second Secretary Isidor] Urian) met Vietnamese comrades as many as three times. The head of the local NLF [National Liberation Front of South Vietnam] representation and his deputy summarized their opinion of the situation in Korea roughly as follows: the DPRK had missed the opportune moment; it seems that now they once again shelved the issue of liberating South Korea through armed struggle for quite a while. In addition to having missed the opportune moment, the reason for this is either that they have become aware of the balance of power between South and North [Korea] or that the Korean comrades have realized that for the time being the USA really does not want a new Vietnam in Korea; in general, and particularly since the Pueblo incident, there are intense defense preparations in the DPRK, they take all contingencies into consideration; the army of the DPRK is being modernized; they already manufacture automobiles, tanks, and various light and heavy arms, including missiles, during which the Korean comrades are greatly hindered by the fact that the Soviet comrades do not provide them with all the documents that they need; for instance, this is why Korean tank production is still unable to solve the technical questions related to [the manufacture of] stabilizers for tank guns. […] István Kádas (ambassador)” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in the Soviet Union to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry 12 November 1969: Comrade Jenő Sebestyén, our new ambassador in P’yongyang, spent a short time in Moscow on his way to his post. During his stay here, on 10th this month, he […] visited Comrade O.V. Okonishnikov, […] who had worked in Korea as a counselor, and Comrade V.I. Likhachev, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Far Eastern Department. […] The Soviet comrades emphasized that on the part of the Soviet Union as well as the other socialist countries that hold correct views, patient and persistent persuasion was needed to get the Korean position closer to our common position on the big issues of international politics. This task was not an easy one; they cited the Soviet-Korean debate over the nuclear nonproliferation treaty as an example. The Soviet side asked the Korean comrades whether they thought that it would be a good thing if, for instance, Japan — which possesses the required industrial and technical capacity — obtained nuclear weapons. In this concrete case the Korean comrades naturally acknowledged that nuclear nonproliferation was justified, but in general they did not (by which they actually give veiled support to the Chinese position) […] ambassador” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

IDA Study: ““The ROK should…be encouraged to introduce the question of nuclear weapons into the dialogue with the North, as part of the discussion of the US military presence. The question of a possible Korean agreement to ban the introduction of nuclear weapons into Korea has particularly interesting ramifications. There are no nuclear weapons in North Korea, nor does it appear likely that either the Soviet Union or China has plans to introduce such weapons there…[deletion — classified material]…Denuclearization might be for Pyongyang a particularly meaningful achievement, short of complete military withdrawal, for which the North might make appropriate concessions in other areas. A denuclearization agreement between the two Koreas in a suitably balanced package could provide a format for great-power endorsement through appropriate protocols.” … [China] “might be particularly interested in an NFZ agreement pertaining to Korea.” … [The] “diplomatic groundwork for the agreement could be laid in bilateral US-Chinese talks, with each country undertaking to persuade its Korean ally.”… “The precedent of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which established a Latin American nuclear-free zone, is important. The Treaty provides for appropriate verification, including IAEA safeguards.”… “Restrictions on the deployment or utilization of nuclear weapons, i.e. nuclear-free-zone (NFZ) or no-first-use (NFU) agreements.” … [Diplomatic groundwork] “could be laid in bilateral US-Chinese talks, with each country undertaking to persuade its Korean ally.” … “failure to take additional tense-reducing initiatives in Korea could lead to a deterioration of North-South relations that would involve far greater dangers.” (Peter W. Colm, Rosemary Hayes, Karl F. Spielmann, and Nathan N. White, “The Reduction of Tension in Korea”, Institute for Defense Analyses, Technical Report (Secret) prepared for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, distributed by the Defense Logistics Agency, Arlington, Virginia, Vols. 1 and 2, June 1972. Declassified 1977 under U.S. FOIA request to Nautilus Institute)

Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) begins negotiation with French Atomic Energy Commission for the transfer of reprocessing technology

“Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning the Civil Uses of Atomic Energy” signed to take effect March 4, 1973

“Much to our amazement, [U.S. ambassador to South Korea Philip] Habib has drafted a proposed policy paper which, among other things, proposes that we be planning a reduction of U.S. forces in FY 1974 and an internal study looking to their total withdrawal in the FY 75-76 period. He also wants to consider seriously phasing out all grant assistance in the FY 76-77 period. We think this should be turned off firmly before it leaks out (which it certainly will — given the wishful thinking of some elements in State). Otherwise, we ar headed for a disaster in our relations with the ROK at this critical juncture. We will be handling this firmly in the bureaucracy but believe that the attached backchannel to Habib can put things in focus and get him personally lined up.” (Memorandum from R.T. Kennedy to NSA Henry Kissinger [approved, HAK], January 16, 1973, NKIPD Archive)

“On February 6th, in a conversation with A. Lazăr, Iordan Dinici, first secretary in the Yugoslavian Embassy said that he possessed information according to which secret talks are taking place between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States of America and that the venue for these talks is Paris. The Yugoslav interlocutor mentioned that Kim Yeongju member of the Political Committee, secretary of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, North Korean co-president of the North-South Coordination Committee (and brother of comrade Kim Il Sung) has been in Paris for many months now, where he repeatedly met Henry Kissinger and other American officials and various South Korean officials, like Lee Hurak, the director of the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency.” (Cable from Dumitru Popa, Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 7, 1973, NKIPD Archive)

KAERI negotiates deal with Canada to construct CANDU heavy water reactor, enabling ROK to acquire spent fuel for plutonium extraction

First U.S. Embassy Seoul report on ROK possible desire to develop nuclear weapons

CIA: “1. In recent months North Korea has begun what appears to be a deliberate series of provocations against South Korea in the offshore waters northwest of the port of Incheon. Since late October 1973, North Korean naval craft have established a patrol pattern that threatens access to five island groups claimed by South Korea and occupied by South Korean civilian and military personnel.* The provocations have thus far been minor in nature — high speed approaches by North Korean patrol boats toward South Korean vessels and intrusions within the 3-mile-limit of South Korean islands. Neither side has yet fired on the other. 2. The purpose of these North Korean actions surfaced at the 1 December 1973 meeting of the Military Armistice Commission when North Korea claimed the waters surrounding each of the five island groups — Paengnyong Do, Taech’ong Do, Soch’ong Do, Yonp’yong Do, and U Do — as part of its territorial seas (Map 1). P’yongyang demanded that prior permission be obtained for even civilian vessels to transit these waters and land at the islands. Although the United Nations Command (UNC) has not taken a position on the relative merits of the territorial waters claims, it has specifically upheld the right of free access to these islands. *The island groups lie only 2 to 13 miles from the North Korean mainland, and one of the islands is within 1.3 miles of a North Korean island (Map 1). (All distances are stated in nautical miles.) Further information concerning these island groups is contained in the Appendix. 3. When the Korean Armistice was signed in 1953, the five island groups were occupied by United Nations forces. Although much closer to North Korean territory than to South Korea, they were specifically retained under UN military control by the provisions of the Armistice. South Korean military forces still are maintained on all island groups and civilians live on four of them; [redacted] The Armistice Agreement also states that forces of both sides are to “respect the waters contiguous to the demilitarized zone and to the land area of Korea under the military control of the other side.” Contiguous waters, however, are not defined. 4. A major complication in the dispute is the Northern Limit Line (NLL), established in a 14 January 1965 order of the Commander Naval Forces, Korea (COMNAVFORKOREA), and drawn between the five island groups and “hostile waters” considered to be under North Korean control.* A clear antecedent of this line, although not under the same name, was established in 1961 by the same commander. The sole purpose of the NLL was to avoid incidents by forbidding UNC naval units to sail north of it without special permission; in at least two places, however, it crosses waters presumed to be under uncontested North Korean sovereignty. 5. The South Koreans have regarded the NLL as a seaward extension of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and a de facto boundary between South and North Korea. The NLL, however, has no legal basis in international law, nor does it conform along some of its length to even minimal provisions regarding the division of territorial waters. It is binding only on those military forces under the command or operational control of COMNAVFORKOREA. [COMNAVFORKOREA, a US Flag Officer, is Navy Component Commander of the UNC and has operation control over the Republic of Korea (ROK) Fleet. Seizures of South Korean fishing vessels off the east coast of Korea in the late 1950’s probably prompted the COMNAVFORKOREA to institute the NLL.] No evidence exists that the North Koreans have ever formally recognized the NLL. South Korea maintains that the North has respected the NLL since the Armistice in 1953, although no documentation can be found to indicate that the NLL was established prior to 1960. 6. The Armistice makes no provision for the delimitation of territorial seas, but Line A-B, drawn in and seaward from the Han Estuary, was used to indicate respective military control of the coastal islands (Map 1). With the exception of the aforementioned five island groups, all islands lying north and west of Line A-B were placed under the “military control of the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and the Commander of the Chinese People’s Volunteers.” All islands lying south of this line were retained under the military control of the CINCUNC. 7. Although the NLL and Line A-B have some immediate importance, the major problems are posed by the territorial waters claims of each nation. The situation is complicated by the vagueness of North and South Korean methods of delimiting their respective territorial seas. Map 1 shows North Korea’s 12-mile territorial sea based on a straight baseline constructed along the coast and off-lying North Korean-controlled islands. South Korea’s 3-mile territorial sea is similarly depicted.* [* All baselines and territorial seas limits shown on the maps are hypothetical. They have been constructed, using accepted techniques of international law, in such a way as to maximize the probable claims of both nations.] 8. The areas of potentially conflicting claims are obvious latent zones of conflict. All five island groups lie within North Korea’s claimed territorial sea. In the absence of any bilateral agreement, legal as well as de facto rights of access to the islands remain unsettled. South Korea’s assumed 3-mile limit poses somewhat different potentials for overlapping claims. As depicted on the map, it lies within probable North Korean inland waters (where Pyongyang’s sovereignty is complete) in two places — to the northeast of the western island groups and to the north of the eastern island groups. Although the overlap is small northeast of Paengngyong Do, the South Korean position is to enforce its rights up to the 3-mile limit. North of Yonp-yong Do there is a greater overlap. This is a particularly sensitive area because of North Korea’s desire for unimpeded access to its expanding port of Haeju. 9. A possible method of delimiting disputed Korean west coast territorial seas is the construction of a median line. Map 2 shows a median line based on de facto sovereignty and drawn in general conformity with prevailing international law and practice, equidistant between the North Korean coast (including islands) and the island groups under UN military control. The southward extension of this median line into the high seas would normally be used only to allocate areas on the continental shelf for resource exploitation. Solution of the territorial waters dispute by use of a median line would both assure preservation of South Korean access to the five island groups and enhance access from the high seas to the North Korean port of Haeju. Inland waters, landward from the baseline, are those over which a nation exercises the complete sovereignty it exercises over its land territory. Territorial waters or seas — regardless of whether they are measured 3 miles, 12 miles, or some other distance seaward from a baseline — form territory over which a nation has exclusive sovereignty conditioned only by innocent passage, the right of foreign vessels — merchantmen and possibly warships in times of peace — to pass through a nation’s territorial seas. The enjoyment of this right may depend on the observance of special navigation, customs, quarantine, and other regulations promulgated by the coastal nation.” (C.I.A., Directorate of Intelligence, “The West Coast Korean Islands,” January 1, 1974)

Letter from Hwang Jang Yop, chairman, DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, to Gerald Ford, President of the Senate: “…The Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea considers that a peace agreement to be concluded with the United States of America may include the following points: Firstly, both sides shall pledge to each other not to invade the other side and shall remove all the danger of direct armed conflict. The United States shall be obliged not to instigate the south Korean authorities to the war provocation maneuvers and fascist repression of the south Korean people and patronize them, not to obstruct the north and south of Korea in reunifying the country independently and peacefully in accordance with the North-South Joint Statement and not to interfere in any form in the internal affairs of Korea. Secondly, the two sides shall discontinue arms reinforcement and arms race and stop introducing any weapons, combat ·equipment and war supplies into Korea. Thirdly, the berets of the ‘United Nations forces’ shall be taken off the foreign troops stationed in south Korea and they all be withdrawn at the earliest possible date along with all their weapons. Fourthly, Korea shall not be made a military base or operational base of any foreign country after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from south Korea. The Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea formally proposes that talks be held for the conclusion of a peace agreement between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States of America, with the above-mentioned points as a premise. The talks may be held at Panmunjom or in a third country by delegates of a higher level than those to the Military Armistice Commission now functioning-at Panmunjom. The relations will be improved between the north and south of Korea and an atmosphere favorable to the independent and peaceful solution of the reunification problem be created, when the question of replacing the Armistice Agreement with a peace agreement in Korea is settled successfully.”

NSDM 251: “The President has reviewed the response to NSSM 190 and agency comments thereon, and has made the following decisions:

  1. Negotiating Packages: To maintain and improve ROK security the U.S. should seek:

— Substitution of U.S. and ROK military commanders for the Commander-in-Chief United Nations Command as our side’s signatory to the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement. The ROK and North Korean representatives should then become the

principal members of the Military Armistice Commission.

–Tacit acceptance by the other side of a continued U.S. force presence in South Korea for at least the short term, in return for a Shanghai-type communique committing ourselves to reduce and ultimately withdraw U.S. forces as the security situation on the Peninsula is stabilized.

— A non-aggression pact between the two Koreas.

— U.N. Security Council endorsement of the agreed-upon package of substitute security arrangements.

–Avoidance of other changes in the Armistice Agreement.

  1. Negotiating Strategy: A two-track negotiating strategy should be pursued, with the Seoul-Pyongyang track being primary. In the second track, the U.S. should make parallel approaches to the major powers involved — the PRC, Soviet Union, and Japan. Specifically, we should:

— Consult with the ROK before making proposals to any of the major powers. We should also seek ROK agreement to transfer operational control of ROK forces from CINCUNC, upon its termination, to a new U.S.-ROK combined command under a senior U.S. military officer.

— Keep the Soviets generally informed but discourage any spoiling role or direct Soviet involvement.

— After contacts with the PRC, inform other members of the UNC Liaison Group, as well as allies which contributed forces to the UNC.

— Keep Japan continuously informed. In addition, (a) seek an explicit agreement from the Japanese Government which would extend the secret 1961 Kishi Minute to the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty following termination of the UNC, but (b) not seek any extension in Japan of third country basing rights under the U.N. Status of Forces Agreement following termination of the UNC.

The minimum objective of the United States in this negotiating approach is to place ourselves by early summer in a defensible position for possible debate of the Korean issue in the U.N. General Assembly this coming fall.

  1. U.S. Force Presence in South Korea: There should be no substantial changes in the level or missions of our forces in the ROK during the period of transition to new security arrangements following termination of the UNC.” Henry A. Kissinger” (Cold War Documentation Project)


DoS cable reporting discussion with FoMin KimDong-jo on U.S. proposal on UN Command (Cold War Documentation Project)

Kim Il-sung meetings with Representative Tokuma Utsunomiya: Chairman Kim: I support your efforts. Now, let me first tell you about our negotiations with South Korea. We have made proposals for peaceful unification several tens of times in the past. On August 6, 1971, I said in a speech at a welcome gathering of the citizens of Pyongyang in honor of

Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia, who was visiting our country at that time, “I am prepared to talk at any time to all the political parties of South Korea, including the Democratic Republican Party, to popular groups or to individuals.” Sometimes after this, South Korea proposed Red Crose meetings. We accepted this proposal, but all the representatives from

South Korea were members of the Central Intelligence Agency. However, we dispatched people connected with the Red Cross as their counterparts in the discussions. During the

process of these discussions, the South side proposed the meetings be held in another country (other than North and South Korea) and proposed Switzerland. I was opposed to going to a foreign country and proposed either Panmunjom, Pyongyang or Seoul. It was first decided to hold the meetings at sea. In the end, it was decided to hold the meeting in Pyongyang and Lee Hu Rak (then Chief of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency) made his appearance. In our meeting with Lee Hu Rak, our side asked: “Are you in favor· of peaceful unification?” To this, the reply was, “Yes.” We then said, “In bringing about peaceful unification, what do you think of doing it without the intervention of Japan, the United States or other countries?” By other countries, I meant China and the Soviet Union. To this, the reply was, “We agree.” Upon receiving these replies, I said I would be willing to meet Lee Hu Rak personally and I did and made three proposals. I proposed, first, bringing about unification independently; .secondly, bringing about unification without the use of force; and, thirdly, bringing about unification through a grand national unity. Lee Hu Rak insisted:· “Since Communism and capitalism are two extremes, that’s unreasonable.” However, to this, I said: “There’s a way of avoiding war. We are of the.same race. We will not oppose the capitalists of the South and you will not oppose Communists. Let’s retain the two systems. There are Communist parties in the parliaments of France, Italy and Japan. It’s said that South Korea is taking the path of capitalism, but you don’t have monopolistic capital such as exists in the United States and you don’t have great zaibatsu such as Germany has. Even if you do, they’re only comprador capitalists, aren’t they? Even then, they form no comparison to Japan’s monopolistic capital and haven’t as yet developed into capitalism. We can handle this problem through greater mutual understanding.” In the end, Lee Hu Rak agreed to this “grand national unity” and said, “President Park Chung Hee will likely agree also.” At this, I thought, “If so, there’s some prospects.” Then, there was an· invitation from the other side and I dispatched Deputy Premier Park Sung Cul. I told him “If Park (President Park Chung Hee) agrees to the three great principles, issue a communique.” However, Park did agree to the three principles but opposed the communique. As a result, talks were started again from the middle of April and at the end of June, the South side said: “We are ready to issue a communique This communique (the North-South Joint Statement) was announced on July 4 (1972) in the names of Lee Hu Rak and Kim Young Joo (Director of the Organization and Guidance

Department of the Workers’ Party). It was the next day. A lot of news reporters gathered around Lee Hu Rak and asked him questions. One of the questions was: “You say that

unification will be carried out without intervention by outside influences and independently. But what about the United Nations forces?” To this, Lee Hu Rak replied: “The United

Nations forces are not an outside influence.” The second question was: “Is it not necessary for the South to rescind the National State of Emergency Declaration (December 6, 1971)?”

To this, Lee Hu Rak replied: “No, we can’t because you can’t trust Communists.” It’s utterly absurd. Again, when the three men came, Lee Hu Rak, Chang Key Young and Choi Kyu Ha, I personally made three conerete proposals. My first proposal was: “The South doesn’t have iron ore. The North has plenty. We will provide the iron ore and you provide the manpower. We will also provide the facilities.” The reply to this proposal was: “We will study it.” My second proposal was: “In the South, you are engaged in the Saemaul (New Village) Movement. But, basically, the problem is the livelihood of the farmers. For this, the thing to do is to provide irrigation. We will provide without charge techniques and technicians and plenty of experience.” On this, they were silent. Then, I made the third proposal: “The fishermen of the South are suffering because of a lack of fisheries resources. The North has plenty of resources and there is plenty of fish to be caught. We will open up the fishing grounds of the North. How about trying some joint venture in this field?” To this, Lee Hu Rak said: “I will report (your proposal) to President Park. Park Chung Hee speaks of “Coexistence with a Dialogue.” But, coexistence means recognizing two Koreas. We must strive not for coexistence but for

unification. Later Park proposed the joint development of the Kumgang Mountains as a tourist area. …”

Second meeting: Chairman Kim: Thank you. I recently sent a letter to the United States. (Note: On March 25, Vice-Premier and concurrently Foreign Minister Ho Dam proposed the conclusion of a peace treaty with the United States. The same day, the Supreme Peoples Council adopted a “Letter to the U.S. Congress.” On receipt of this letter all that the United States did, according to report, was to notify the Government of the Republic of Korea to the effect: “Unless the Republic of Korea is participant in the peace agreement,, the United States cannot enter into any negotiations with North Korea.) The Park Regime then proposed a non-aggression treaty (on January 18, 1974). I think a non-aggression treaty is not a bad idea. However, it is not .realistic, because, at the present time, the United States has forces stationed in South Korea and has the right to take over command of (all forces). Under such conditions, it would not be realistic to conclude a nonaggression treaty with the Park Regime. There would be no meaning to a non-aggression pact unless it is predicted on the eventual withdrawal of the U.S. forces (in Korea) or on the eventual conclusion of a peace treaty. The problem of a nonaggression treaty is whether it is based on the premise of

unification. If unification is not made a premise, (the division of) the two Koreas would become permanent. Further, unless we agree to reduce armaments, our people would be placed in a difficult position. Frankly speaking, the continuation of the present situation places a heavy burden upon us. When it comes to spending even one sen we study the expenditure carefully. After all, we have to buy our weapons from foreigncountries. …What we spend is quite considerable. We are only trying to keep pace with South Korea, butt they {the South Koreans) keep saying: “The North will advance south. The North is powerful. Therefore, give us aid.” However, from the point or view or numbers and from the size of their air force, they are superior to us. What we excel in is the moral aspect. A small country is being exposed to the threat or a great power. I have instructed the persons concerned not to engage in provocative actions. In the past, we have made mistakes in certain incidents. However, I have had the persons who made these mistakes punished. Such (provocations) do not add up as plus factors on the side or peaceful unification. Especially after the North-South Joint.Statement (July 4, 1974), we have not engaged in any provocative actions. Certain segments or the American people believe we will advance south. We sent a letter to the United States saying, “Let’s hold talks.” However, we received no reply. There was not even an expression of opposition to such talks. This (attitude ·on the part or the United States) is a big problem as far as the relaxation or tensions is concerned. We have people who are sympathetic to us. They are the leaders of the Third World. There are several tens of them and these leaders are saying on our behalf (to the United States): “Why don’t you accept the demand (or North Korea) to hold talks.” The United States told a certain leader or the Third World: “We will look-for an opportunity and hold secret talks.” Or the United States said (to these leaders): “If the North provides guarantees, we’ll hold .the talks. However, we don’t know what kind of guarantees they’re talking about. We have also not been able to find a way out. It’s the same with the United States. There’s a proverb: “Unless you look at the skies, you can’t see the stars.” We want

to have relations with the United States, but we just don’t have the connections. According to what the people of the Third World say, there are even within the United States different groups of people — the State Department, the Defense Department and the White House. These groups all have different opinions. We have to settle our problems with

people who have authority. The people of the Third World say: “You should not have made the letter (you sent to the United States) public.” Because we proposed making the letter public, these people said, the United States would take our proposal as proof we were trying to drive. a wedge between the United States and (President) Park. The United States also says; “South Korea should hold the same sort of talks (as the talks proposed by North Korea) with the Soviet Union and China.” But there’s no basis for this argument. China does not have any troops in·our country. On the other hand, the United States has troops in South Korea and is the country with which we concluded a truce agreement. Koreans residing in the United States sometimes come to see us. They might be connected with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, but they ask us: “We want to launch a coup d’etat in South Korea. What do you think about this?” We reply; “We have no connection with what may happen to the regime in South Korea. What we. are seeking is peaceful unification.” We think we can send (the United States) not an open letter but·a secret letter, but we can’t send. a secret letter when we have no relations (with the United States). As tor the guarantee we will not advance south, we will decide that through direct talks with the United States. It we can get the United States to guarantee the Park Regime will not make war, we will also give guarantees. For this, we would reduce our arms. At the same time, the United States should not provide arms to South Korea….We believe a Communist Party will not come to power in South Korea. If progressive people, people who desire peaceful unification or people who advocate reduction of arms come to power, that would be good. Ir we reduce our military forces, with the forces in the North reduced to 100,000 and the forces in the South also reduced to 100,000, South Korea would be able to maintain a force of this size by itself (without aid from the United States). We would not station troops along the 38th Parallel. We would assign only·police forces there. Progressive people would agree to do the same thing in South Korea. There are plenty or progressive people in South Korea. It’s these people that should take over power.” (Cold War Documentation Project, Details of Meetings between President Kim Il-sung and Representative Tokuma Utsunomiya, August 9, 1974)

Assassination attempt on President Park slays his wife

White House Memcon: “Pungan: The North Korean leadership wants to have confidential contacts with the United States for discussions. They have suggested Romania. President Ceasescu has offered to help if you want to do it.

President: We are grateful for your offer. Secretary Kissinger and I will discuss it in detail. Certain things must precede such contacts. We don1t want to go in without firm understandings. Secretary Kissinger will contact your Ambassador.

Kissinger: We will talk and then relay our ideas through your Ambassador.

Pungan: I will tell the North Koreans and hope you will have a good answer.” (Cold War Documentation Project, Memcon, President Ford’s Meeting with Romanian Presidential Counselor Vasile Pungan, August 27, 1974, Oval Office)

North Korea proposed setting up secret contacts with the United States through Romania in 1974, two years after U.S. President Richard Nixon made his historic visit to China ending decades of Cold War rivalry, a declassified U.S. document has shown. An aide to then Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu met with then U.S. President Gerald Ford at the White House on August 27, saying, “The North Korean leadership wants to have confidential contacts with the United States for discussions,” according to the recently declassified Memorandum for the President’s File. “They have suggested Romania,” the aide told Ford, according to the memorandum. The suggestion was made soon after the assassination of South Korea’s First Lady Yuk Young-soo by a Japan-born Korean believed to be linked to a pro-Pyongyang organization in Japan. The aide told Ford that the Romanian president “has offered to help if you want to do it,” without elaborating on what the North Koreans were hoping to discuss. Ford’s response to the proposal was lukewarm. “Certain things must precede such contacts. We don’t want to go in without a firm understanding.” The U.S. president, however, told the aide he would discuss the matter with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was in attendance during the meeting between Ford and the Romanian official. (Hwang Doo-hyung, “N. Korea Proposed Secret Contacts with U.S. in 1974: Dossier,” Yonhap, December 21, 2008)

Seoul 08023 NODIS October 1, 1974 “Subject: ROK Plans to Develop Nuclear Weapons and Missiles. “Summary: While it has been recognized for some time that Korea wished to keep its nuclear options open, evidence accumulated in recent months justifies strong presumption that the Korean govt. has decided to proceed with the initial phase of a nuclear weapons development program. At the present time evidence is still not conclusive and the [redacted] still in its very initial development phase. However, evidence is sufficient to merit careful study [redacted]. 1. Korean Government Intentions: While the Korean government continues to delay any steps toward ratification of the NPT, beginning this summer [redacted]. … Minister [redacted] remarked that decisions concerning the nuclear program taken as far back as 1969 had all been consistent with Korea’s developing a nuclear weapons capability by the late 1970s using reprocessed wastes from the first power generating reactor and succeeding units. [redacted] 2. Acquisition of Weapons-Grade Material: After concentrating on U.S. research and enriched power reactors for some years, ROKG has begun to diversify its reactor sources. Its main thrust has been attempt to to acquire both CANDU heavy water power reacors and a research reactor from Canada. While there are other valid reasons for acquiring the CANDU reactor, including favorable credit terms, the Canadian reactors, particularly research reactor, could provide an easier means for evading safeguard controls and acquiring plutonium. 3. Additionally, we have reports [redacted] that ROKG is seeking to acquire a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant which would separate plutonium from reactor wastes. [redacted] we understand has contracted with ROK to make a feasibility study. Moreover, Economic Planning (EPB) has identified a prokjected French source public loan for a nuclear fuel reprocessing and disposal plant. 4. Finally, the Korean government has announced that it will develop domestic uranium deposits to fuel the Canadian reactors even though EPB-financed studies have demonstrated that these resources are limited in size, and commercially unexploitable in foreseeable future. 5. Technical Skills Acquisition: Both Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) have been recruiting Korean scientists working in U.S. by offering very favorable salary and other inducements. Requirement for scientists, if fully legitimate in terms of developing Korean economy and also providing sufficient talent for its nuclear pwer reactor and research programs,.but nuclear scientific skills can be utilized for weapons development. [redacted] 6. Weapons Development: The ROK forces today are equipped with weapons systems with a potential nuclear delivery capability, such as F-4 aircraft and Nike Hercules; North Korean weapons systems have same capability, but neither force has access to nuclear weapons. 7. The ROKs are also engaged in the first stages of missile research and development program which is largely experimental and elementary and is mainly geared to improved operation and maintenance of missile systems now in their inventory. There is legitimate ROK concern that, as these missile systems go out of U.S. inventory, there will be problems in maintenance and acquisition of spare parts. Additionally, Koreans are interested in the Lockheed propellant plant in order to maintain and further develop propellant components of their rockets and missiles. ADD research program so far has produced only a 10-foot sounding rocket which has still to be flight-tested. 8. There have been, however, indications of Korean govt. interest in upgrading its missile capabilities. ADD held discussions with McDonnell Douglas to develop a 200-mile plus surface-to-surface missile with sufficient accuracy to hit airfields and other strategic targets. However, we are now informed by MND that it does not intend to follow through with its McDonnell Douglas projected contract following inklings of U.S. concern. MND Vice Minister Choi Kwang-soo also recently told emboff that MND has not yet decided upon its missile development programs, although giving ADD go-ahead on propellant plant. 6. Conclusions and Recommendations: Embassy lacks sufficient expertise to provide clearly definite judgment regarding ROK nuclear weapons program, but, from evidence available to us, we conclude that decision has probably been made to launch initial stages of nuclear weapons development program. However, it is still in rudimentary stage and lacking a number of critical items such as fuel reprocessing and plutonium. Missile development is even less advanced and at present time appears to be geared very largely to support of weapons system already available in ROK inventory. 10. We emphasize, these are preliminary judgments and we believe that as first step we need assessment of any ROK program by qualified technical experts. [redacted] 11. Further immediaste actions are recommended for Washington consideration: A. Safeguards inspections at all facilities as provided for in existing agreement to be undertaken in extremely thorough manner. B. Formal approach to ROK on NPT ratification. [redacted] 12. Net product of these efforts should be well-defined and technically designed [?] policy on one hand which preserves military balance on Korean peninsula between North and South [redacted]. (Cold War Documentation Project)

State 271124 NODIS October 1, 1974 “Subject: ROK Plans to Develop Nuclear Weapons and Missiles. Drafted by EA/K: DA O’Donohue Approved by EA: WH Gleysteen, Jr. 1. We very much appreciate excellent analysis contained in reftel Seoul 8023 regarding ROKG intentions in nuclear field. 2. We have asked interagency intelligence group prepare estimate current ROK capabilities and future potential. Upon conclusion of that study, we will then address specific embassy recommendations contained para 11 reftel.” Ingersoll (Cold War Documentation Project)

State opposes sale of Lockheed rocket propulsion technology to South Korea by DoD on grounds that the South is “embarked on an ambitious program to develop advanced weapons which will be ‘strategic’ in the context of the Korean Peninsula.” (Cold War Documentation Project, Memo from DoS Executive Secretary George Springsteen to NSA Brent Scowcroft, February 4, 1975)

NSC, State 048673, NODIS Cable to Seoul cleared by NSA Scowcroft March 3, 1975: “ROK Plans to Develop Nuclear Weapons and Missiles

  1. Washington agencies concur fully in Embassy assessment that ROKG is proceeding with initial phases of a nuclear weapons development program. Subsequent intelligence reporting on this has added further confirmation to Embassy’s excellent summary of evidence contained in reftel. Interagency study on South Korean nuclear capability has been finished and indicates that ROKG could develop limited nuclear weapons and missile capability within ten year time frame. (Copy of study pouched to Embassy.)
  2. 1n the case of Korea our general concerns are intensified by its strategic location and by the impact which any Korean effort to establish nuclear capability would have on its neighbors, particularly North Korea and Japan. ROK possession of nuclear weapons would have major destabilizing effect in an area in which ·not only Japan but USSR, PRC, and ourselves are directly involved. It could lead to Soviet or Chinese assurances of nuclear weapons support to North Korea in the event of conflict. Further, ROK efforts to secure a nuclear weapon capability will inevitably impact on our bilateral security relationship. This impact will be complicated by fact that ROK nuclear weapon effort has been in part reflection of lessened ROKG confidence in U.S. security commitment, and consequent desire on Park’s part to reduce his military dependence on U.S.
  3. We recognize that there are significant difficulties and a long timeframe before ROKG would be able actually to produce nuclear weapons. Ten year estimate would seem a realistic one. However, the fact that ROKG is now attempting to establish nuclear capability will inevitably become more widely known well before explosive device or weapons actually come into being and would have significant political impact in itself on the ROK’s neighbors.
  4. It remains USG policy to oppose the further spread of nuclear explosives and, while continuing to provide power reactors and fuel under IAEA safeguards for necessary energy projects, to control the spread of sensitive technology and equipment which would enhance the nuclear weapons capability of other countries. We are endeavoring to implement this policy not only bilaterally in our dealings with non-nuclear weapon states such as the ROK, but also in a multilateral framework which will control the worldwide availability of nuclear mate rials. Strictly FYI: We have proposed a confidential conference among the most important suppliers of nuclear materials (U.S., U.K., Canada, France, FRG, Japan, and USSR) to develop common export policies which would seek to develop guidelines for restraint on sensitive items and remove the problem of safeguards from the commercial bargaining process. All except France have agreed with U. S. to begin such a conference and we are awaiting a reply from France. In recent U.S. -French contacts, the question of French willingness to supply a re-processing plant or technology (to extract plutonium from spent fuel) to the ROK was raised. The French indicated that they had not yet signed a proposed agreement for a small pilot reprocessing plant and were seeking to have IAEA safeguards provided if the deal does go forward to completion. END FYI.
  5. Therefore, our basic objective is to discourage ROK effort in this area and to inhibit to the fullest possible extent any ROK development of a nuclear explosive capability or delivery system. We are considering several complementary policy courses to give effect to this objective. These policies will be evolved inside of or in consonance with, the multilateral framework just described. Using this approach, we hope in the near future to formulate a clear policy on this question toward the ROK.
  6. The following are the policy courses we are now actively considering:
  7. Inhibit ROK access to sensitive technology and equipment, both through unilateral U.S. action and through the development of common supplier nation policies. As regards unilateral U.S. actions, we would, in addition to applying full IAEA safeguards to the sale of power react.ors and fuel, also seek to withhold from the ROK, or to provide only under appropriate safeguards, any technology or equipment which we would judge to be sensitive in terms of contributing to the acquisition of self-contained nuclear weapons capability. This would be done in a manner consistent with the criteria in 10 CFR 110 (which include the application of safeguards), with the significance of the proposed activity, and with availability from other sources. We are also looking at existing agreements to see if there is room for tightening constraints to inhibit diversion of weapons-useable material. As regards common supplier nation policies, we are particularly concerned with enrichment and reprocessing technologies, and with any ROK acquisition of Candu reactors, which present fewer obstacles for clandestine diversion of plutonium bearing fuel rods than do the more common light water reactors. We realize that in some cases ROKG might well have plausible rationale other than nuclear weapons development for procuring certain elements of such technology or equipment. Nonetheless, we would not intend to provide technology and/ or equipment which we would feel might be harmful to our own interests and the stability of the area. Such an approach would also provide an indirect signal that we are aware of ROK intentions, and would not support them under any guise. Restriction of such technology and equipment would also slow the pace of ROK efforts in nuclear area and increase costs significantly while not harming legitimate power needs, ~ich could be met through reactors fueled by enriched uranium imported from abroad. Even in those instances where ROKG might be able to go to other suppliers, this would cost more both in economic and political terms. And any significant ROKG efforts to procure sensitive nuclear related equipment or technology would over longer run be visible and heighten sensitivities of other possible suppliers, including the French. Finally, recognizing relationship between independent nuclear explosive capability and delivery systems, we are examining ways in which account can be taken of later in our general non-proliferation strategy.
  8. Press the ROK to ratify the NPT. The Canadians are already pressing the ROK to do so. The ROK seems to have been responsive to our own initial approach, but we will want to follow up on this, preferably in cooperation with the Canadians. We would also intend to support the Canadian intention to defer their final decision on the sale of research reactors.
  9. Improve our surveillance of ROK nuclear facilities, and increase our information on the current state of ROK technical development in this area. We would intend to undertake a study of appropriate ways to move forward on this policy course. Tentatively, we are considering a program for more regular visits to ROK nuclear energy installations and inspections by technically trained personnel.
  10. Request Embassy Seoul’s comments on the approach outlined above.” (Cold War Documentation Project)


Seoul NODIS 01637 March 9, 1975: “ROK Plans to Develop Nuclear Weapons and Missiles: 1. While embassy in basic agreement with department’s summary analysis of significance of ROK plans to develop nuclear weapons and missiles and with the proposals outlined in reftel [State 048673], we believe a more explicit course vis-à-vis ROKs will eventually be called for. 2. Time ROKs will require to develop a nuclear weapon could be well less than ten years in our judgment and in any event we would be prudent to act on this basis even if ten year projection is closer to mark. ROK leadership according to best evidence we have has placed high priority on weapons development and is looking for results by early Eighties. This feasible we think given ROK’s hard driving nature, high level of technical skills they already have and may be able to recruit among expatriate Koreans overseas [redacted], and strong impetus from the top. 3. We also believe we should not underestimate ROK ability to obtain equipment and technology requirements for weapons development from third countries, in event we turn them down. We doubt political and economic costs involved will deter ROKs very much, while ROK purchasees from third countries could lessen out ability to control Norks. This simply behooves us all the more to do what we can to strengthen safeguard requirements imposed by other countries and using judicious transfer of U.S. technology as wedge to control ROK efforts. 4. Finally, we believe that in working out details of our approach to ROKs there is no need to pussy-foot. ROKs are serious, tough customers bent in this case on a potentially harmful course. Fact they have moved as quickly as they have recently toward ratification of NPT and to accommodate Canadians and French re safeguards is very probably because they already have word we are on to them, but it is no indication they are giving up. Top the contrary it appears to indicate they will be as hypocrticial as necessary. Given implications of their plans, their tough mentality, plus depth our concern on this issue, we believe that direct, early, and firm approach will be most appropriate and will have best chance of success. 5. If and when a more explicit approach appears necessary, [redcted] a scenario can be constructed giving background for embassy demarche. Sneider” (Cold War Documentation Project)


PARTICIPANTS: Mr. Richard L. Sneider, U.S. Ambassador to Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Mr. W . R . Smyser, National Security CouncilStaff Member

DATE, TIME & PLACE: March 27, 1975 5 p.m. White House

Sneider: The President’s trip to Korea was very useful. The crucial question in Korea is our credibility, and that trip did much to boost it. Things are going well in Korea. The country is becoming a middle size power, though we do not realize it. It is too large an economy to be a client state. In ten years it will be a significant military power. It will also have a per capita income of $2,000 or more. It has energy, intelligence and leadership. Right now Korea is in a real box of rising oil prices and declining export markets. President Park has been developing his second option,the “what if” option. He says it in terms of a 2 to 3 year period. He wants to accelerate independence. He knows we do not like it, so he does it in a clandestine way. Park knows that the Administration wants to keep a U.S. presence in Korea but he does not know if we can deliver the goods. Vietnam made it worse. We can no longer tell him what to do.

Scowcroft: Will he go in this direction no matter what we do?

Sneider: We have to go to Park with an honest package that will tell him how we will help him and what we do not want him to do — such as move toward nuclear weapons. Once it gets out that South Korea is developing nuclear weapons, I do not know what the Russians or the Chinese or the North Korean reaction would be. I do not just want to go in and beat him over the head. I want to give him a package, perhaps a broad energy agreement with ERDA. We are making a lot of ad hoc decisions but none are coordinated.

Scowcroft: That makes good sense. Maybe the debacle in Southeast Asia will help us with other aid bills in time.

Sneider; It may go the other way.

Scowcroft: We fight a constant eroding action from DOD. Schlesinger wants to pull out.

Sneider: I have him interested. He may come out to Korea.

Scowcroft: In response to Congressional pressures, he wants to pull out from other places than Korea as well. What do you think about I Corps?

Sneider: I think we should hold off until the end of the year and then do it as part of the UNC rearrangement. I am concerned about coordination. I did not learn of the Yellow Sea incident until several hours after the event.

Scowcroft: We were worried about the scramble.

Sneider: We should have put aircraft over our assets, but not to deter the North Koreans. On Lockheed, I do not want the French to get this contract. We should

draw a line on where we will not give them stuff. We should be in bed with them so as to have access. We should talk to Park about this in the next six months or so. I have the Department looking at the thing and I have talked to Schlesinger. I have asked for a science attache. But I do not want to talk to Park without the President’s or the Secretary’s instructions. Park knows that we are holding back. We have to talk to him promptly. Every time he is worried, he tends to be erratic and he plays silly games. The President’s visit was a boost to Park. He now wants to come here. I don’t know what a good time is.

Scowcroft; Not now. It may change after Southeast Asian events. What about the UNC?

Sneider: We have talked to the Koreans on the basis of Kissinger’s decision. We will go to the Security Council and then to the General Assembly. The Non-Aligned Bloc has decided to make North Korea a full member. That means a few more votes for them. I have told the Koreans they have to fight their own battles with the Non-Aligned. I have told Park to visit some of those countries that will show the initiative and they will take him seriously. All this UNC stuff will force us to sort out Opcon. I thing we should keep this. We can exercise caution in a situation. Our commanders have to be able to say “no” to Park. On the air side, we have good control. I also think that, with 40, 000 men, Congress won’t be comfortable unless we cannot be dragged into things. If we do not have Opcon, we may need to reduce.

Smyser: Habib says we do not really have Opcon.

Sneider: In the Yellow Sea incident, we gave the orders.

Scowcroft: It turned out okay. We were lucky.

Sneider: They will get a lick in somewhere. They have lost three ships.

Scowcroft: I think it is better not to clobber them in international water.

That was our concern.

Sneider: Would we be prepared to do anything with the Chinese and the

Russians on Korea? We cannot wait for ever. We can live with the present situation, but it is not a good one. I think North Korea will need more Russian economic aid.

Scowcroft: The Sino-Soviet split is a factor.

Sneider: Maybe there would be a payoff for Moscow or Peking. Can you think about it? In Korea, we should prove that we have a negotiating process. I hope that Schlesinger comes for this security consultants meeting in August.It was good to see you.

Scowcroft: It was good to see you. Please stop by any time.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Minutes of Conversation between Nicolae Ceausescu and Kim Il-sung: “Concerning the unification of our country, I will not insist on it at the moment, as we will have a separate opportunity for that. A year after your visit to our country, in 1972, a common declaration of the Northern and Southern parts was made public. This however seems to have been made only with the approval of the Americans. The South cannot act without their approval. We talked to them. When these delegations were at the negotiations, I met with them. I proposed three principles:

– Reunification on based independence, without foreign involvement.

– Accomplishing the reunification peacefully, without altercation.

– Accomplishing the principle of national unity independently of the social order in each respective part, whether it be communist or capitalist, before we accomplish national unity.

It was then that they agreed and our delegations went to Seoul. Our delegates also met Park Chung Hee. They agreed to our proposals, that is to say to those of Kim Il Sung’s, entirely. They agreed to the principles and we subsequently proposed the declaration projects, but we were unable to discuss and work on the declaration project. A month later, on July 7, they came up with the idea of adopting a common declaration as a response to the many questions asked by opposition parties, by the progressive parties [which] began claiming that the U.N. army is not a foreign army. All emphasis was on the fact that the U.N. army was not a foreign army. Secondly, the issue of peaceful unification by reducing armed forces was raised — we therefore wanted to unify peacefully but they disagreed. Was not the liquidation of anti-Communist laws necessary for bringing the populations of the North and South together? This however was not possible because Park Chung Hee declared that the number one objective of the Southern side was the anti-Communist fight. All the representatives of progressive forces asked for ending this state of affairs. He said this cannot be done, with the exception of some modifications. It remained therefore an empty paper. Further on, after approximately a month, we met again a few times and insisted to have an explanation with them. They underlined a wish to continue the discussions, but on separate basis — on that of competition and on that of coexistence. Therefore, they came with new proposals based on the principle of competition betweenthe two sides, and that of coexistence. This entire policy is aimed at establishing two Koreas, therefore they don’t have unification in mind. We have proposed competition and coexistence, we do not know though — perhaps it would be better to collaborate, to unify. We told them we could collaborate. We told them they need raw materials as they have very few, while we have plenty. We proposed to give them the necessary technology, if they could provide the people so that we can work together. Therefore, a collaboration; and within this collaboration we would only have gotten closer. We also proposed to set up irrigation systems for them, as in South Korea, the smallest of rains results in floods, and when it does not rain, there is draught. We proposed to give them specialists and technology for free, but they asked 2 billion dollars from Japan, who did not give it to them. We also considered how they could pay this money. We, being part of the same nation, proposed to give it to them for free. We have pumping units, and we have good experience in irrigations in the North. We considered it was our national duty to help the peasants in the South live and work well. There are many fishermen in South Korea. Because of great pollution in the South, there is not too much fish left there and the production has declined. In the Northern part of the country we have a few very good fish reservoirs. From the Northern part comes a cold water current, while from the Southern part comes a warm water current which meet on our side where one can still fish very well. We suggested their fishermen should come to our side to fish. Of course, they do not fish on industrial level, therefore they cannot make any damage. The representatives of Park Chung Hee, the personal counselors of [Jang Jee Rang and Lee Hu Rak] came over, and during discussions they regarded our proposals as being very good, and they did not involve disputes, but rather rapprochement. We proposed to reduce the armed forces as the costs involved are very high. We told them that even if they get free assistance from the American side, it is still difficult. The proposals for reducing armed forces were accepted. They said that their life depends on not reducing the military forces. We explained that whether their life depends on it or not is to be decided by their own people. We told them they do not need to support a 700,000people army for oppressing the population in the South, and for this purpose we have proposed to make reductions, but they disagreed. We proposed to begin to cooperate. We said that for greater things we have to begin from a rational collaboration: you will not criticize communism and we will not criticize you. In this manner we can achieve rapprochement. They received the proposal and showed interest, but without results. They agreed with one proposal: to use the Diamond Mountain — the Southern and Northern parts — for developing a common tourism base. This is the way in which discussions took place. What Park Chung Hee is really after, and this is something the Americans are also after: Park Chung Hee, just as the Americans, is making a few calculations: in South Korea there exists a democratic, progressive side; there is then the North; and there is the rightist movement led by Park Chung Hee. Within a unified government, he thinks that he will lose by a 2-to-1 margin because the democratic and progressive side will take the part of the North and he will be left with the minority. This is why he has begun a brutal campaign of interrupting the dialogue with the North, by adopting a variety of measures. It is well-known that the representative of the New Democratic Party has fled to Japan as a result of Park Chung Hee’s adoption of measures against progressive forces. Last year, he was abducted and brought to Seoul, and now he is under house arrest. This is the element which could have constituted that plus of 2-to-1 in the alliance with the North by realizing a government for peaceful unification. In South Korea, academic and education activities are interrupted and are in a state of complete vacation. As a result of the new repressive measures against the masses and the democratic movements, not only were 200 important and progressive leaders apprehended, but also thousands of students and young people. Amongst them there were mostly intellectuals, writers and journalists. This is the stage at which we are with this problem. As a result of our visit to the People’s Republic of China, they were terribly scared that we may start a war. They say the same things will happen as in Cambodia and South Vietnam. At the moment they are alert and mobilized. They don’t know what to believe — could it be that the Americans have given them any indications? There are multiple versions indicating that as a result of their failure in Cambodia, the Americans will not give up Korea since it is a place of great strategic importance for them. We are, however, working as we have always worked: we are generally mobilized, but for replanting rice. Park Chung Hee has only that kind of ideas.” (Cold War Documentation Project, Minutes of Conversation between Nicolae Ceausescu and Kim Il-sung National Archives, Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, External relations Department, May 23, 1975)

President Park Chung-hee in Washington Post invw says “although Korea has the capacity to produce nuclear weapons, we do not develop them presently”

Memo to NSA Brent Scowcroft from W.R. Smyser: “Defense of the Northwest UNC-Controlled Islands in Korea: Heightened concern about North Korea’s intentions in the wake of the Indochina collapse has underscored the vulnerability of the five islands of£ the northwest coast of Korea. President Park, in a letter of May 12 to ROK Defense Minister Suh, instructed the Minister to work out jointly with General Stilwell a coordinated plan for the defense of the islands in case of large- scale surprise attack by the enemy. Minister Suh, in a subsequent letter to General Stilwell of May l3 requested that a clear -cut policy on the defense of the islands be established as soon as possible. Minister Suh specifically requested that the plans provide for the contingency employment of U.S. air and naval forces in the defense of the islands (see Tab B). The issue is whether or not we should affirm that the islands indeed fall under the MDT and thus whether or not to engage in joint planning. (A year ago when the ROK unilaterally reinforced the island garrison [redacted] …Ambassador Sneider and General Stilwell have both recommended that we engage in joint planning regarding the islands [redacted] …A joint State/Defense message attached at Tab A reaffirms that the islands fit the definition of territory under ROK administrative control and therefore come under the MDT. The message authorizes CINCUNC to discuss planning for the defense of the islands with a view toward reaching uncle r standing that (a) the R OK will not act precipitously and unilaterally and CINCUNC will exercise opcon of ROK forces; and (b) in the event of an attack on the islands, CINCUNC will immediately commit ROK forces but these commitments must not jeopardize the capability to defend the R OK as a whole. …Joint planning will remove the element of ambiguity regarding our commitment, will reassure the ROK, and once Pyongyang hears of it may constrain DPRK adventures. By asserting CINCUNC opcon, we will also be better able to control ROK response and to head off any precipitous:ROK effort [redacted].” (Cold War Documentation Project, Memo to NSA Brent Scowcroft from W.R. Smyser: Defense of the Northwest UNC-Controlled Islands in Korea, June 24, 1975)

Cable from ACDA Paul Wolfowitz; S/P Jan Kalicki ROK Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plans As reported in refs A [London 9224] and B [London 9295] bilateral talks were held at London Suppliers’ Meeting with French and Canadian representatives. Attitudes of both countries were as forthcoming as we had thought possible. French indicated [redacted]. Canadians indicated [redacted]. … We believe it would now be timely to execute second phase of approach with Koreans on reprocessing outlined in refs D[State 148895] and E [State 135500]. … Accordingly you should approach ROKG with the following points, slightly revised from the outline in ref D: A. The US has been giving serious attention to Korea’s aspiration to acquire its own reprocessing capability, starting with the pilot facility that might evolve into a larger-scale regional capability. Although recognizing that at some future tiem the nations in the area might have a commercial need for reprocessing, we have serious concerns about Korea’s moving in this direction. B. In particular, although Korea has ratified the NPT, steps toward even a pilot reprocessing facility in Korea could be destabilizing and could raise serious apprehensions which could impair U.S.-Korean nuclear relationships. C. There are widespread concerns within the Executive Branch as well as in Congress on the subject of reprocessing and storage of plutonium from spent fuel that are very likely to affect our ability to move promptly on Korea’s nuclear requests should Korea continue in its desire to acquire an independent national reprocessing capability, starting with a pilot facility. D. It is to be noted in this regard that the issue of an Export-Import Bank loan for the ROK is before Congress. This loan may well be disapproved unless these concerns regarding reprocessing and storage of fissile materials from spent fuels are satisfied. We frankly anticipate serious difficulties unless we can assure Congress that the ROK has terminated its plans to acquire a pilot reprocessing plant. … G. While there could be substantial place for ROK participation in a multinational regional reprocessing facility for Asia, we question the wisdom of the ROK proceeding with its proposed pilot plant or conducting detailed planning for larger plants in the absence of close consultation with the U.S. and other concerned countries — especially Japan — on questions of demand, timing, technical capabilities, economics and, particularly, potential location. …” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memo from DoS to the NSA [Scowcroft] “Subject: Approach to South Korea on Reprocessing: I am forwarding for NSC clearance and your consideration the attached action memorandum (Tab 1), which reflects views received from the interested agencies and has my concurrence. It requests approval to transmit an instruction cable (Tab 2) to Embassy Seoul on ROK reprocessing plans, which State, ACDA, Defense, ERDA and CIA have cleared through the Non-Proliferation Backstopping Committee. The memorandum responds to Mr. [Jan] Lodal’s request of June 30 for a paper considering various approaches

to the ROK on this problem. Since the proposed approach to the ROKG is highly time-sensitive for both diplomatic and Congressional reasons, we believe that both the memorandum and the instruction cable should be considered at the earliest possible time. Robert S. Ingersoll, Acting Secretary. Background: The South Korean Government has been negotiating to purchase a small pilot scale reprocessing plant from France which would give them direct access to plutonium that could be used in nuclear weapons. [redacted]. Perhaps more than any other likely near-term case of potential proliferation, South Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would be extremely dangerous and directly

damaging to important U.S. interests. As recognized in the Korean nuclear policy cable approved at the White House in March (Tab 2), these effects would be felt even if Korea were merely to hover at the nuclear threshold, a prospect which has become more tangible as a result of President Park’s recent press statement that Korea would exercise its nuclear option if the U.S. removed its nuclear umbrella. If Korea has direct access to separated plutonium, it will eventually be widely assumed that she either has nuclear weapons or could acquire them in a short interval. No special safeguards short of a complete prohibition on reprocessing and storage of plutonium in South Korea are likely to provide adequate protection against the most troublesome contingency [redacted] in which South Korea abrogates some or all of her safeguards agreements, including those inherent in the NPT which she ratified in May. Reprocessing will not be necessary for the South Korean nuclear fuel economy for the foreseeable future. If at some time it should become necessary it could be provided more safely and economically through regional plants or supplier services. Of much greater economic importance are the power reactors for which the South Korean Government is currently negotiating with the United States and Canada. A request for an Export-Import Bank loan of $132 million and an additional $117 million of credits guarantees, to finance South Korea’s purchase of a second U.S. reactor, KORI II, is now before Congress. We believe this loan and the sale of the U.S. reactor would be beneficial to South Korea’s economy and could also be arranged in a way so as to be helpful to our non-proliferation objectives. EximBank President Casey has obtained Congressional agreement to postpone hearings on the loan request pending notification by the Executive Branch that we are satisfied with the non-proliferation arrangements relating to the recycling and use of spent fuel in South Korea. Present indications are that we will be unable to make the loan unless we can give the Congress some assurance that South Korea has cancelled its plans for a national reprocessing plant. Attitudes of Canada and France: spoken to the Canadians, in the context of general nuclear export policy discussions, who have indicated that the ROK would need to receive Canadian consent before reprocessing of spent fuel from reactors sold by Canada. The Canadians indicated serious reservations bout any in-country reprocessing and undertook to coordinate future Korean nuclear assistance policy with us. We have also spoken to the French prior to the recent suppliers’ meeting in London, and explained that we were considering an approach to the ROKG to discourage its acquisition of a reprocessing plant from France. [redacted]. Approach to Korea: In the context of ongoing consultations with ROKG atomic energy officials, we have recently reminded them of the provision in our Agreement for Cooperation which we understand gives us a veto over reprocessing of spent fuel from U.S. reactors supplied to South Korea. We have requested their confirmation of this understanding and, in response to their expression of interest, have told them that we would also like to hold further discussions with them on the broader question of reprocessing in general. After receiving confirmation of our interpretation of the Agreement, we would propose to recommend that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issue the necessary export license for the fuel already contracted (and due to be delivered in August) for the KORI I nuclear power reactor. Thus far, the Koreans have indicated significant flexibility in their response to Canadian concerns on non-proliferation and to our preliminary approaches on the reprocessing question. [redacted]. …we believe that there is a good possibility that the ROK can be influenced to abandon its present plans for a national reprocessing capability. The ROK might participate in a regional facility, as described in our earlier message to Ambassador Sneider (Tab 3). Such a plant, which would be preferably located outside Korea, could meet their future reprocessing needs both safely and economically. Proposed Course of Action: willingness of the other nuclear suppliers (Canada and France) to coordinate their actions with us, our consensus is that the best approach at this stage is a relatively limited one, roughly along the lines proposed in our earlier message (Tab 3). We would (1) state our concern about Korean national reprocessing plans and point out that such a development could jeopardize U.S. nuclear assistance, particularly the pending Exim loan for the KORI II reactor; (2) ask the ROKG not to proceed with its planned pilot reprocessing plant; but (3) offer support for the idea of ROK participation in a multinational regional reprocessing plant for East Asia. At this stage, the approach would not need to be more specific about what leverage we would be prepared to exercise, or about our expectation that we would be satisfied with a multinational plant only if located outside of Korea. We have considered both weaker and stronger alternatives to the recommended approach. The weaker alternative would be to make no further approach to the ROKG, but rely on our rights to veto the reprocessing of spent fuel from U.S. reactors only. However, this would not stop the construction of the French reprocessing plant and preclude the ROK from eventually finding another source of spent fuel. Making no further approach would thus leave our proliferation concerns open. It would also jeopardize the Exim loan and with it the Westinghouse sale, given Congressional reactions, and it would not meet Canadian, French, or, for that matter, Korean expectations. [Redacted]. We have therefore incorporated our preferred course of action in a proposed instruction cable (Tab 1), which draws upon the earlier message to Ambassador Sneider and has been re-cleared by State, ACDA, Defense, ERDA, CIA and the NSC staff. In order for this relatively limited approach to have the maximum positive effect on Korea, the other suppliers and Congress, we believe it should be made as soon as possible. After observing its results, we will be in a better position to consider future courses of action. If our expectations for this approach are borne out, we will have significantly complicated Korean acquisition of a nuclear capability. At the same time, we expect President Park to continue with this program, probably on a more covert and delayed

basis. Based on the results of the present preliminary dialogue on reprocessing, an interagency paper on the shape and direction of our overall non-proliferation strategy [redacted] the interagency review of our policy in Korea, we will later want to recommend for your consideration alternative ways of addressing these underlying problems. Recommendation: That you approve the approach outlined above and incorporated in the instruction cable to Ambassador Sneider at Tab 1.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memorandum from Jan Lodal and Dave Elliot to SecState Kissinger “Subject: Approach to South Korea on Reprocessing: As a result of growing concerns over South Korea’s nuclear weapons intentions and specifically ·over their intention to purchase a pilot reprocessing plant from France, there is a bureaucratic concurrence at the staff level on a guidance cable (Tab A) that would authorize the Embassy in Seoul to approach the Koreans directly and:

— Point out that the Korean reprocessing plans could jeopardize US peaceful nuclear assistance, particularly a pending Export-Import Bank loan for the KORI-II, their second US-built power reactor;

— Ask them not to proceed with their planned reprocessing plant; and

— Offer support for ROK participation in an eventual multinational regional reprocessing plant in East Asia.

Ambassador Sneider supports such an approach (Tab C).

Bureaucratic Factors

Recognizing the inevitable potential for leaks and for resulting difficulties with the French and Koreans, as in the case of the FRG-Brazil affair, and the intimate relationship between the ROK’s nuclear weapons plan and our security commitment there; we tasked State/ACDA to prepare an options paper for use in obtaining a policy-level decision on this

problem. Unfortunately, they prepared a lengthy advocacy memorandum (Tab B) instead, which State only reluctantly submitted to the NSC process (Scowcroft called Eagleburger). This paper does not address the possible impact of such an approach on our defense relationship with Korea but implicitly assumes that the defense relationship can be decoupled from this problem. ·

Previous Bilateral Approaches

In previous expressions of our concern we have given the South Koreans an Aide Memoire which interprets our Agreement for Cooperation as providing for an effective US veto right over reprocessing of spent fuel from US-built reactors. The ROK is studying this interpretation and is expected to respond soon. Canada who is also negotiating the sale of one of its reactors to Korea, has expressed similar concerns and may condition the sale on ROK foregoing fuel reprocessing. In a bilateral discussion prior to the Nuclear Suppliers Conference, we told the French that we were considering approaching the Koreans on this issue. They replied that if we succeeded in persuading the ROK to cancel its plans, they would have no objection provided that their reprocessing firm, St. Gobain, would be reimbursed for its roughly four million dollars in expenditures to date.


Reprocessing will not be necessary for South Korea’s nuclear power economy for several years and, in view of current controversy ever the dangers of plutonium recycle, perhaps not for the foreseeable future. Both officials concerned with civil power development and

those in favor of weapons production could probably be persuaded to defer the reprocessing effort, if necessary, to avoid jeopardizing acquisition of essential nuclear power reactors. We are pessimistic about longer term prospects, however, since the basic incentives for

ROK nuclear weapons development will remain and they could either approach another supplier or eventually build their own reprocessing plant.

Remaining Issues ·

In reaching your decision on this issue, you should also consider its implications for our overall non-proliferation policy. As a result of FRG and French opposition, it is now clear that the Nuclear Suppliers Conference, if successful, will result in controls on reprocessing that are considerably less stringent than those we would impose on South Korea. Following the conclusion of a Suppliers’ agreement, it is conceivable that the ROK would approach another supplier such as the FRG and purchase a reprocessing plant under the agreed guidelines and we would then find it more difficult to interfere. In such an event, our own nuclear industry could claim that it should be permitted to export under the same conditions as the other suppliers. The real question as we work toward the goals of conclusion of a

Suppliers Agreement, of strengthened IAEA safeguards and of increased NPT ratification is whether we will be willing to accept these as adequate controls both in terms of permitting US exports on this basis and not objecting to bilateral arrangements between other suppliers and client states. In this regard, a comprehensive review of our non-proliferation policy is in progress in the VPWG and may serve as a useful basis for determining the extent to which we should continue to play an activist role in bilateral approaches rather than being content with the international regulatory mechanisms we are developing. However, the Korean problem is somewhat time-urgent and this study will not be completed in time to serve as a

basis for your decision on the Korean approach.


The State proposal would have the advantage of closely following the Canadian demarche and would exert maximum pressure on the ROK to abandon its plans. It would also be timely and perhaps improve the prospects for pending Congressional approval of the Export-Import Bank loan and Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing of a final

shipment for the KORI-I reactor. It would have some risk, however, of antagonizing the Koreans and; through public disclosure, irritating the French who have already complained about publicity on the Suppliers Conference. If successful, the question would also remain

of who would reimburse the French for their four million dollars in development costs. Alternatively we could wait for the Korean responses to our Aide Memoire and the Canadian demarche. If they accept our conditions, it would distinctly lessen the risk of diversion through reprocessing of spent fuel from US reactors, and we could rely on their NPT obligations and the Suppliers Agreement as further barriers to proliferation. If they cannot reprocess fuel from either the US or future Canadian reactors, then South Korea might decide without further pressure to defer its reprocessing plans. If they reject our Aide Memoire we could then consider a somewhat stronger approach than the one outlined in the cable.

Your Decision

—— That we forward the instruction cable to Seoul.

——That we wait for an ROK response to our· Aide Memoire.”

(Cold War Documentation Project)

Memorandum from John A. Froebe, Jr. to SecState Kissinger “Subject: Draft State Cableon Approach to South Korea on French Reprocessing Plant: The NSC memorandum of July 8 on the above subject from Jan Lodal and Dave Elliott was not cleared by Smyser’s office. I understand that Jan carried the memorandum with him on your aircraft. We had joint action on this subject and would like herewith to add our comment. As the Lodal/Elliott memorandum points out, the issue is whether we should consider the various international controls on proliferation toward which we are working adequate in all cases. If so, we should not object to any arrangement between suppliers and client states that accepts these controls. It is quite possible that the proposed French sale of a reprocessing plant to the ROK could meet the general standards we are seeking. The memorandum, however, did not underscore sufficiently the special considerations that pertain in regard to the proliferation question on the Korean Peninsula. If Korea begins to build a reprocessing plant, it will be widely assumed that it is seriously working on a nuclear weapons program. This perception would be potentially destabilizing in all of Northeast Asia. North Korea would certainly press its allies for a similar capability, and both China and the Soviet Union would see potential nuclear threats to their own territory. Perhaps most important such a development might possibly tip the balance on proliferation in Japan. Consequently, the Korean case would seem to warrant special bilateral action with the ROK, in addition to the controls we are contemplating in the international regulatory mechanisms.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memorandum from John Marcum to NSA Brent Scowcroft: “Attached is a revised memorandum concerning a proposed effort to dissuade South Korea from purchasing a French-built reprocessing plant. The memorandum has been rewritten to reflect recent South Korean assurances that they would not reprocess fuel from US and Canadian

reactors. In addition to the calls you have received, George Vest has asked that we expedite this decision to the extent possible. He is scheduled to testify on Tuesday in restricted session before Senator Symington on US initiatives with regard to this and other proliferation problems.”

Memorandum from Jan Lodal and Dave Elliot to SecState Kissinger “Subject: Approach to South Korea on Reprocessing: As a result of growing concerns over South Korea’s nuclear weapons intentions and specifically over their intention to purchase a pilot reprocessing plant from France, there is a bureaucratic concurrence at the staff level on a guidance cable (Tab A) that would authorize the Embassy in Seoul to approach the Koreans directly and:

— Point out that the Korean reprocessing plans could jeopardize US peaceful nuclear assistance, particularly a pending Export-Import Bank loan for the KORI-II, tbeir second US-built power reactor:

— Ask them not to proceed with their planned reprocessing plant: and

— Offer support for ROX participation in an eventual multinational regional reprocessing plant in East Asia.

Ambassador Sneider supports such an approach (Tab C).

Bureaucratic Factors

Recognizing the inevitable potential for leaks and for resulting difficu1ties with the French and Koreans, as in the case of the FRO-Brazil affair, and the intimate relationship between the ROK’s nuclear weapons plan and our security commitment there; we tasked State/ACDA to prepare an options paper for use in obtaining a policy-level decision on this problem. Unfortunately, they prepared a lengthy advocacy memorandum (Tab B) instead, which State only reluctantly submitted to the NSC process (Scowcroft called Eagleburger). This paper does not deal with the basic problem of the ROK’s perceived need for long term nuclear guarantees and our inability to provide them or with the problem of French involvement and consistency with our non-proliferation policy.

Regional Factors

If Korea begins to build a reprocessing plant in addition to the essential nuclear reactors we have agreed to supply, it will be widely assumed that it is seriously working on a nuclear weapons program. This perception would be potentially destabilizing in all of Northeast Asia. North Korea would certain press its allies for a similar capability, and both China and the Soviet Union might see potential nuclear threats to their own territory. Perhaps most important, development of nuclear weapons in Korea could tip the balance on proliferation in Japan.

Korea’s Intentions

Korea’s policy towards future development of a nuclear weapons capability seems fairly clear [redacted] their armament program plans and from Park’s statement indicating that exercise of the nuclear option would depends on the continuation of U.S. security

guarantees. Unfortunately, this Korean attitude is well-known in Congress and in the international arms control community. It will make it very difficult for the U.S. to continue normal civil nuclear commerce with Korea unless some specific protective measures are taken.

Reprocessing will not be necessary for South Korea’s nuclear powereconomy for several years and, in view of current controversy over the dangers of plutonium recycle, perhaps not for the foreseeable future. Both officials concerned with civil power development and

those in favor of weapons production could probably be persuaded to defer the reprocessing effort, if necessary, to avoid jeopardizing acquisition of essential nuclear power reactors. We are pessimistic about longer-term prospects, however, since the basic incentives for

ROK nuclear weapons development will remain and they could either approach another supplier or eventually build their own reprocessing plant.

Korean Assurances

Korea has taken some steps recently in order to reassure us and others that its civil program is for peaceful purposes. They ratified the NPTwhen Canada made it a condition of acquisition of Canadian reactors, they recently accepted or tortured interpretation of our bilateral nuclear agreement that gives the U. S. veto rights on reprocessing of spent fuel

from U. S. supplied reactors, and have provided similar assurances to Canada.

The Koreans undoubtedly have their limits, though, and the request from the U. S. for them to forego a planned reprocessing plant may approach that limit. Compounding this is the fact that they might also have to pay certain termination costs as discussed below.

The French Connection

The reprocessing plant that the Koreans are planning to acquire is of French origin. [Redacted.]

Implications for Non-Proliferation Policy

In reaching your decision on this issue, you should also consider its implications for our overall non-proliferation policy. As a result of FRG and French opposition, it is now clear that the Nuclear Suppliers Conference will result in controls on reprocessing that are less stringent than those in the FRG-Brazil nuc1ear accord and considerably less stringent than those we would impose on South Korea. In a recent bilateral discussion, the FRG informed us that they would wait until after the conclusion of the Suppliers Conference to finalize their umbrella agreement with Iran probably with the expectation that we would not oppose esports which were in accordance with the Suppliers’ agreement. Similarly, following the conclusion of a Suppliers’ agreement, it is conceivable that the ROK would approach another supplier suc:h as the FRG and purchase a reprocessing plant under the agreed guidelines and we would then find it more difficult to interfere.

The real question as we work through the goals of conclusion of a Suppliers Agreement, of strengthened IAEA safeguards and of increased NPT ratification is whether we will be willing to accept these as adequate controls both in terms of permitting U.S. exports on this basis and not objecting to bilateral arrangements between other suppliers and client states. In this regard, a comprehensive review of our non-proliferation policy is in progress in the VPWG and may serve as a useful basis for determining the extent to which we should continue to play an activist role in bilateral approaches rather than being content with the international regulatory mechanisms we are developing. However, this study will not be completed in time to serve as a basis for your decision on the Korean approach.


The State proposal would have the advantage of closely following the Canadian demarche and would utilize our special leverage to exert maximum pressure on the ROK to abandon its plans. It would also be timely, and if the ROK agrees, would improve the prospects for pending Congressional approval of the Export-Import Bank loan and Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing of fuel shipment for the KORI-I reactor. The approach would have some risk, however, of antagonizing the Koreans and, through public disclosure, irritating the French who have already complained about publicity on the Suppliers Conference.

If successful, the question would also remain of who would reimburse the French for their four million dollars in development costs. On the basis of a preliminary examination, we have not identified any reasonable method of paying the French directly — which would be interpreted in Congress as ”buying them off,” or of compensating the Koreans through our AID or Military Assistance (they are already ua.bappy over reduced amounts in I the latter program). [Redacted] A1teratively, we could rely on Korea’s NPT obligations — including

safeguards in its facilities and nuclear explosive deployment prohibitions, their assurances that they will not reprocess fuel from Canadian or U.S. reactors, and additional barriers coming out of the Suppliers’ Agreement, to satisfy our concerns. Unfortunately, such undertakings can be considered as mere “paper assurances” and some elements of Congress see it in these terms. In addition, if the ROK proceeds with this reprocessing plan, its neighbors would assume it is seriously working towards a nuclear weapons capability.

Your Decision

___That we continue bilateral efforts to deter ROK acquisition of a reprocessing plant (and forward the instruction cable to Seoul as the next step).

___That we make no further effort to deter their acquisition of a reprocessing plant, and rely instead on the ROK’s NPT obligations, IAEA safeguards and Suppliers Conference controls to ensure that they do not develop nuclear weapons.

Jack Froebe concurs.”

(Cold War Documentation Project)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “Kim Il Sung, the general secretary of the KWP and the president of the DPRK, made official visits to China (on 18-26 April 1975), Romania (on 22-26 May 1975), Algeria (between 26 May and 2 June 1975), Mauretania (from 30 May to 1 June 1975), Bulgaria (on 2-5 June 1975) and Yugoslavia (on 5-9 June 1975) as the head of a party and government delegation. After his visit to China, in the second half of May he also wanted to visit the Soviet Union, but the date he proposed did not suit the Soviet leaders. He also asked to be received in Prague, but the date did not suit [the Czechoslovak leadership] either. His intention to visit Moscow is an important political fact for two reasons. On the one hand, it shows that the DPRK continues to pursue a so-called policy of maintaining the balance of power between the Chinese party and our parties; on the other hand, we should take this intention into consideration while evaluating his trips to China, Europe, and Africa. […] We know from Soviet and Chinese sources (the DRV ambassador to P’yongyang informed us about the conversation that he had had with the Chinese ambassador to P’yongyang) that — primarily in China — Kim Il Sung considered the possibility of a military solution. According to the Chinese ambassador, the DPRK wants to create the kind of military situation in South Korea that had come into being in South Vietnam before the victory. Taking advantage of the riots against the dictatorial regime of Park Chung Hee and invited by certain South Korean [political] forces, the DPRK would have given military assistance if she had not been dissuaded from doing so in time. This dissuasion obviously began as early as [during Kim Il Sung’s visit] in Beijing, for it is well-known that — primarily in Asia — China holds back and opposes any kind of armed struggle that might shake the position of the USA in Asia. A new Korean War would not be merely a war between North and South [Korea]. With this end in view, during the Korean party and government delegation’s stay in Beijing, the Chinese side strongly emphasized the importance of the peaceful unification of Korea […] On his part, Kim Il Sung said nothing, or hardly anything, about his own proposals to find a peaceful solution. On the contrary, he declared that if a revolution flared up in South Korea, the DPRK could not remain indifferent, it would give active assistance to the South Korean people. And if the enemy started a war, it would be met with a crushing repulse. In such a war the DPRK could lose only the cease-fire line, but she might achieve the unification of the country, he said. […] Of the six visits, the ones made to China and Yugoslavia were also important in regard to the military equipment and military technology made available to the DPRK. China provides the People’s Army of the DPRK with many kinds of military equipment and arms. The possibility of giving certain tactical nuclear weapons [to North Korea] in order to offset the nuclear forces in South Korea also came into consideration. A deputy minister of the People’s Armed Forces in P’yongyang, who on 11 June received the Hungarian military [officers who arrived in North Korea for] vacationing, made an allusion to that. Yugoslavia helps [the DPRK] primarily in the field of naval forces. […] Dr János Taraba chargé d’affaires ad interim” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Letter from Ambassador Barnes to NSA Scowcroft: “Dear Brent: I’m enclosing a copy of my verbatim notes of the Presidential conversations. I should correct that by saying that the notes are all verbatim except for the conversation on the train going up to Sinaia on August 3 when neither Celac nor I took notes. There’s also a summary of a conversation the Secretary had with President Ceausescu over lunch. I’ve used a NODIS designation for these conversations (with the exception of one LOU/LIMDIS portion of the former) as well as the one on the Middle East. I’ll be working next week on final editing of the June conversation and as we agreed will send it on to you. You will see that on both the Korean and PLO matters there is a possibility of further exchanges. Along the lines of what we discussed when I saw you in June, I hope you can keep me posted if things are handled through Bogdan. I don’t really need to know the substance of such exchanges if they do not bear that directly on our concerns here but I do think I need to be kept informed previously that such exchanges are about to take place and then that they have actually taken place. You will note at the end of the memo on US-North Korean Relations, and the one on the Middle East that I refer a brief discussion between the Secretary and President Ceausescu. Both subjects were actually mentioned at the same time but for clarity’s sake and so as not to complicate NODIS distribution problems I’ve separated the comments and repeated them verbatim with appropriate substitutions of geographical area at the end of each memorandum. Best regards, Harry G. Barnes

Memorandum of conversation: “Subject: US-North Korean Relations

Participants: Nicolae Ceausescu, President of Romania; Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State; Harry G. Barnes.. Jr., Ambassador — Interpreter

Date and Place: August 3, 1975, lunch, Peles Castle, Sinala

Over lunch the Secretary asked President Ceausescu his impression of Kim Il-sung. President Ceausescu replied that his impressions were good and he said he thought it would be to the advantage of the United States to have talks with the North Koreans although he realized we already had some contacts. The Secretary replied that they really were not of any substantive nature. During Kim Il-sung’s visit, President Ceauaescu said he had indicated that he was not seeking a military solution to the Korean problem but rather a peaceful solution. The Secretary said that we’d be prepared to receive a secret message from the North Koreans but it would really have to be secret. Pres1dent Ceausescu remarked that one thing that was clear about the North Koreans was that they were pursuing an independent policy. They are much worse off than Romania, he said, in that they have four big powers to contend with — the Soviets, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Americans, thanks to American troops in South Korea. The Secretary said he really wondered whether it wasn’t better to have more than one big power on your borders. If Romania was in North Korea’s Situation, President Ceausescu would play the big powers otf against one another so successfully they never would know what hit them. Just before the train stopped in Bucharest, President Ceausescu took the Secretary aside and returning to the question of’ secret contacts with the North Koreans suggested that the Secretary let him know when the United States was prepared to move further. The Secretary asked what channel should be used to which President Ceausescu replied whatever channel was most appropriate, the important thing being to convey the message that the United States side was ready for such contacts. Then, he said, the Romanian side would either send somebody to Washington or the American side could send somebody to Bucharest. The Secretary agreed with this suggestion.

*Notes were not taken by the interpreters during this conversation.”

(Cold War Documentation Project, Letter from Harry Barnes, Jr., ambassador to Romania to NSA Scowcroft with NODIS Memcon attached, August 8, 1975)


Participants: .Minister of Defense, Suh Jyong-chul; Director of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt Gen Yu Pyong-hyon; Assistant Minister for Installations and Logistics, Maj Gen Paek Sok-chu; Secretary of Defense, James R. Schlesinger; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Amos Jordan; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Morton I. Abramowitz, Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense, Maj Gen John A. Wickham

August 26, 1975, Minister Suh’s Office

U.S. Commitment

Minister Suh: First, ‘I would like to mention -the U: S. commitment to Korea. This morning we talked about your commitment to Korea and deterrence against the outbreak of the war. I appreciated your strong statements and believe they should be included in the joint communiqué, so that the Korean people .can gain as much encouragement as I have. As I said this morning, if we receive enough appropriate aid from the U.S. we can take care of the fighting on the ground. By appropriate aid, I mean fire power, including tactical nuclear weapons, air, and logistics support. Since our naval and air forces are inferior to that of North Korea we need U.S. air and naval support. We have a dedicated armed force of 600 thousand men, 2 million reserve soldiers; plus a population of 35 million. We are united and will not give up one inch of territory. As you know, China and the USSR have bilateral military alliances with North Korea. They are located close to North. Korea and can send support rapidly to Pyongyang in case of war. Thus we expect rapid countermeasures from the U.S. in case of war. We need reassurances from the U.S. in case of war. We need reassurances from the U.S. so that there is no chance of miscalculation on the part of North Korea. What I said about taking care of the ground war ourselves does not mean that we do not need the Second Division. The Second Division is a firm deterrent against war, especially from the standpoint of the USSR and China. U.S. forces must continue to be stationed in Korea at the current level. In this regard, I would like to raise the question of the defense of the Northwest Islands. They are so located that Kim Il-song may be tempted to probe our common resolve in this area. We feel that in the initial stage in any war we must ·act clearly and steadfastly so that we demonstrate our resolve. Currently, General Stilwell and I are reviewing the defense of the Islands. He is awaiting, however, a political decision from higher authorities. So far he has not received this decision. I hope that the occasion of your visit will furnish a favorable response on this question. It is easy to think of the Islands as being distant and local in nature, but tbey are important. The initial reaction to any aggression in this area is vital . You should not let the North have any doubts about your commitments. If we fail to react during the initial stages of aggression, we will see serious repercussions. It is also important with regard to the U.S. deterrent to increase joint training exercises. Such exercises will help forestall any miscalculations from the North. For example, elements of the Seventh Fleet could engage in joint exercises with the ROK Navy. Such exercises as Focus Retina could also be intensified.

Secretary Schlesinger: As a general observation, I would say that we have strongly reinforced our deterrent in recent months. Given the present political climate, neither China nor the USSR is concerned about our troop presence. We cannot tell for certain how long this climate will continue, but if I had to guess, I would say that China would continue to be worried about the USSR and would see the U.S. presence in Northeast Asia as a counterbalance against Moscow. Peking would thus not be inclined to join in any action against the U.S. in Korea. The Soviets seem to be interested in detente. We should, of course, be alert for any changes in this climate; but for the time being it appears that .it will continue for some time to come. Neither China nor the USSR has given any overt sign of supporting North Korean ambitions. Of course, absence of overt signs is not necessarily conclusive, and there could be covert support. Nevertheless, I do not believe China is inclined to aid North Korea because of the need for U.S. presence in the area as a counterweight to the Soviet Union. Kim Il-song, during his visit to Peking evidently found that China not only refrained from supporting a move against the South, but discouraged such a move. It is hard to judge Soviet intentions over the long run. For the immediate future, however, we should worry not about encouragement to Pyongyang on the part of China or the Soviet Union, but about the problem of North Korea running amok on its own. The heart of the problem, then for the immediate future is North Korea. Deterring North Korea depends on two things: the state of our forces and Pyongyang’s perception of the adequacy of our logistics. The state of our forces needs improvement. The perception by the North that those forces can not only defend the South, but can also ·inflict damage on North Korea will preserve our deterrence. We must have sufficient munitions on hand and be ready to move in more by air. We must keep up open lines of communications. This is one aspect of the complementarity that I spoke about this morning. It presents no difficulty in my judgment. We can keep the lines of communication open. North Korea will not act to interfere with our shipping. It would be our responsibility to provide these supplies and to keep open the lines of communications. In addition, in the event of major aggression across the DMZ our · reaction would be covered by the inherent powers of the U.S. President in light of the presence in the area of U.S. forces. Moreover, under the terms of the mutual defense treaty, we would be prepared to take appropriate action, including the deployment and employment of tactical air units. With respect to what I said about the inherent powers of the President, I’m not sure it is advisable to publicly advertise this point. This could lead to criticism in the Congress concerning this issue. This brings me to the consideration· of less direct, more ambiguous challenges which require lesser action to insure deterrence. The Minister mentioned exercises. I th ink we should move in the direction of greater exercise activity. For example, U.S. air units could come to Korea for exercises. These could be useful because they would be visible and factored into the calculations of North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union. With respect to the offshore islands, ·these present a less clear-cut problem than a move across the DMZ. I have discussed this issue with the President. He said the U.S. would object strongly to any North.Korean action of this type. However as opposed to a ·major aggression across the DMZ in the face of U.S. forces and in the face of our treaty commitment, there would be constitutional problems in our making an advance commitment with respect to the islands. We will have to explore with the ROK what are the options and how we might respond to moves against the islands. We must continue to develop all options in this area.-· We must develop joint contingency plans. We will reinforce General Stilwell’ s own inclinations to plan jointly for the defense of the islands. Since this is a more difficult area for us constitutionally, circumstances will have to determine the implementation of our plans. Such circumstances will include the question of how exactly aggression occurs. We would be best served in this regard if the fact of aggression can be clearly demonstrated to the Congress and the American public. We would hope, in this regard, that the ROKG will act with discretion and not be perceived by the U.S. public as acting precipitously. In the meantime we should proceed with a build-up of the islands’ defense so that the North would view a move against the islands-•as being excessively costly. With regard to deterrence in general, it may be desirable for me to restate our position on U.S. forces. We plan no adjustment in forces in Korea in the period immediately ahead. I must explain what I mean by “immediately ahead.” Sometimes this phrase is misinterpreted to mean that some changes will take place after the immediate future. We do not plan any fundamental changes in U.S. support. Over the long run, we may make some adjustments to advance future complementarity. Such adjustments would in fact be aimed at strengthening deterrence, e.g., the Nike-Hercules adjustments. We should feel free in our partnership to make those adjustments which are necessary for efficiency. Such changes do not symbolize any change or weakening in deterrence. If necessary, we could take simultaneous steps to ·make it thoroughly clear to North Korea that our adjustments were aimed at reinforcing deterrence.

Minister Suh: I understand and your strong statements reiterating your support and the continuation in U.S. policy. However, we are concerned that in the event of major aggression by North Korea the U.S. would have to go through various time-consuming processes. There would be communications between General Stilwell and yourself; the question would be referred to Congress. And while all this was going on, our capital, which is only one hour’s drive from the DMZ, would be endangered by a lightning war. We believe that the UNC Commander, who also has operational control of our forces, should be vested with the authority to do something immediately to bunt major aggression and only then have to submit to the various procedures required by U.S. law.

Secretary Schlesinger: Mr. Minister, you are dealing with a theoretical and not a practical problem. There is no question in my mind what the President would authorize to be done in the case of major aggression. I believe the reaction would be immediate.

Minister Suh: We have no doubt of that with regard to an attack across the DMZ; but such a response should also be the same with respect to the offshore islands. Kim Il-song is no fool. He knows about the treaty and about your statements of support, but he may ask, as a result of Vietnam, whether this commitment is reliable. He may be inclined to attack the islands in order to test the U.S. commitment. If U.S. planes and ships do no immediately participate in the defense of the islands, Kim may think the U.S. might not participate in the defense of Seoul. .Therefore, the U.S. must react instantaneously in the event of an attack on the islands. You must remember that OPCON of the UNC Commander applies to the ROK in its entirety, including the islands which are under the military control of the UNC. General Stilwell and I have visited the islands together. We have agreed that they can be defended against surface attack. They are more vulnerable to attack from the air. An air attack on the islands would ·justify a strong demonstration of joint U.S.-Korean action at the initial stages.

Secretary Schlesinger: In the event of a move towards Seoul across theDMZ, U.S. forces would come under immediate threat. The President in such a situation can authorize General Stilwell to react in self-defense. There is no problem on constitutional authority in such a situation. The islands present a different situation. I am aware that if Kim Il-song took the islands it would be a psychological blow to Korea and might also embolden him to-move across the DMZ. Therefore, we must be prepared to deal with this problem. The islands are part of Korea, like Seoul, and must be defended. The circumstances differ however from an attack across the DMZ. As I have said, we cannot make an advance commitment in the case of the islands. We can, however, plan together and our response to an attack on the islands ·should be firm. We must in the future undertake a discussion of the nature of our response.

Minister Suh: What would you think of sending a small UNC liaison group to the islands? There are already small UNC combar teams·with FROKA. Such a liaison group could maintain communications between the island and UNC andcould aid in ground-air communications.

Secretary Schlesinger: I think the Minister has laid bare this problem. — It ·is clear that the islands are a potentially vulnerable area and that we must work together in planning their defense. I will discuss this matter with the President, and in a general review of the issue, the suggestion the Minister has just made with regard to a UNC liaison group will be examined. I urge, in any case, that you not be unduly concerned. This is not a problem that would be referred to Congress. U.S. action would be firm and speedy, and the issue would not be submitted to Congress for debate.

Minister Suh: I would like to go over a few of your points. It is my understanding that

there will be no changes in the level of U.S. forces in the foreseeable future. Concerning the exercises, I understand that you have endorsed the idea of increasing them.

Secretary Schlesinger: On the force issue, we plan no changes of a fundamental nature. There might be some changes in detail, but none of a .fundamental nature. This is the President’s decision. Of course, the subject could be reopened by 1977, but I do not think any successor administration would take steps to weaken theU.S. commitment to Korea.


Minister Suh: The second subject I would like to discuss: ·involves the MOD plan and the five year force improvement plan. We appreciated your statements this morning that you will do your best with regard to these plans. I would like now only to reiterate our need for the unfunded portion of the MOD Plan, that is, $460 million dollars. We hope that this will be funded by FY1977 at the latest.

Secretary Schlesinger: That certainly is our intention. We will be seeking credit to the extent that grant aid is not available. There have been shortfalls in the MOD plan, but we have made substantial progress. You should not lose sight of this progress.

Minister Suh: This morning you endorsed the general direction of the force improvement plan. I would like only to emphasize our need to alleviate our foreign exchange problem. We estimate that during the five year period we will need $1 billion dollars of FMS credit.

Secretary Schlesinger: I would like to bring up some specific issues of equipment. In FY-77 we will transfer the NIKE-HERCULES battalion to the·ROK. We are seeking to make this transfer essentially costless to the ROKG. The: Army has posed a package of 7 and one-half million dollars. We think this would be the upper limit and will try to make it less. With respect to air, the U.S. of course provides a complementary force. We are prepared in any case to move ahead with the F4s and F5’s in reflection of the desires of the ROKG. Over the longer run we will examine upgrading close air support, for example, the A-10, but this is subject for later discussion. Regarding the force improvement plan, we have noted certain items which we do not believe have high priority. For example, we have noted submarines.

These are expensive and in view of North Korean land communications lines, do not seem particularly useful. They may reflect some tendency to seek a mirror image of North Korean forces. As for your ·lines of communications, we can keep them open. North Korea sees some use for submarines to try to interdict your lines of communications, although I think they are mistaken. In any event, from the ROKG standpoint, submarines should have a low priority. On the question of ·foreign exchange I can not give you a definite answer but have taken note of your desires and we will do our best to meet them. One additional item. As I said this morning, the Vietnam cloud has had some silver linings, and one of them is the possibility of equipment spill-out. We are ready to make available to you about 18 A-37s on an as-is where-is basis at very low cost. We are. also prepared to provide 2 F5A’s and, at no cost, a number of 0-1’s. Our MAG people will discuss the details of this equipment with your people.

Minister Suh: I have heard that there are 21 F5-E’s available. Aren’t they included in what

you are offering?

Secretary Schlesinger: They are not part of the package.

Minister Suh: I must go back to reiterate that the 1 billion do1lars of FMS credit needs

your strong support.

Secretary Schlesinger: The billion dollar figure has registered.


Minister Suh: My third topic is the issue of war time logistics support. We·are concerned about war reserve munitions. We are authorized a 45-day supply. We are now short about 70 thousand tons. We would also like to authorize war reserve munitions for 10 additional reserve divisions. This would require around 90 thousand tons. Thus we have the need for -an additional 163 thousand tons of additional WRM.

Secretary Schlesinger: As I said this morning I regard logistics support as an item of highest

priority because the strategy of blunting drive towards Seoul. We therefore, should closely examine what our requirements are. It is our intention to support the ROKG in this area to the greatest extent possible. We are operating, however, under legislative restrictions in this area — the so-called Kennedy amendment to the foreign assistance act. We attempting to have this legislation changed.

Minister Suh: I would like to refer to the Quick Trip plan. In accordance with this plan, the first arrivals of supplies would occur on D-Day -+ 45. This is not realistic. This plan needs revision.

Secretary Schlesinger: You are right. We need a quicker trip.

Minister Suh: The first shipment should a-rrive on .D-Day + 10.If this is not deemed possible, ·a 60 day supply of material should be pre-positioned in Korea. The management of such material would a mutual ROK-U.S. possibility, while we would provide the storage facilities.

Secretary Schlesinger: I agree with the thrust of what you have said. We must review the situation in order to insure a rapid flow of materiel. When I reviewed our position on this in Honolulu I was not satisfied with where we stood. I saw anomalies and contradictions in our planning for logistics. We ·Will straighten this planning out.

Minister Suh: I appreciate your comment.

Secretary Schlesinger: We both agree that our logistic plans should be consistent with our strategy.

Minister Suh: My fourth topic today concerns defense industries. We hope that your support in this field will continue especially in electronics and guided missiles. We will need technical data and training. We must also study the possibility of a division of labor in. defense industries between the U.S. and the ROK. There are some things which we could produce more economically than you in view of our low labor costs, e.g., M-60 ·tanks, helicopters, and light aircraft. We might also cooperate in the field of arm sales. Items which are no longer produced in the U.S. could be manufactured- and exported by the ROK, subject to U.S. approval.

Secretary Schlesinger: I don’t think we can resolve these matters in detail at this moment, although in general we would be prepared to be cooperative. You have requested technical assistance in propellant manufacture for the reloading of NIKE missiles. We are prepared to proceed in this direction. We are also prepared to give sympathetic consideration to the production of items no longer manufactured in the U.S. In general, however, we would -want carefully to review defense production in Korea and the whole question of the division of labor view the Korean role to involve items not at the high technology end of the spectrum. We are prepared to provide a team of experts to consider what should be done in the missile area. We are prepared to sell PGM’s to Korea, some of the laser guided weapons, which will enhance your weapons capabilities. Sorting out those areas in which Korea has a comparative advantage represents a considerable undertaking. We are prepared to ·proceed to a review of this matter on a cooperative basis.


Minister Suh: My fifth and final topic is the question of U.S. strategic bases in Korea. Last year I raised this matter with you when I visited the Pentagon. We offered Cheju Island -as a site for a U.S. base and said that the ROK would provide the real estate and share expenses. Now, given the situation in Southeast Asia with Thailand and the Philippines advocating a withdrawal of U.S. bases and .the possibility that Japan might do likewise, our offer of Cheju Island is even more timely.

Secretary Schlesinger: We much appreciated your offer and will take it under careful advisement. Regarding Thailand and the Philippines, it is evident that they either were not entirely serious about U.S. withdrawal in the .first place or are now having second thoughts. As for Japan, we can not rule out the withdrawal possibility, but will be in a better position to judge this matter after my talks later this week with the Japanese. I should point out that military construction is a very difficult area as far as funding is ·concerned. You know that Senator Mansfield is chairman’of the Senate subcommittee in charge of this area. New base acquisitions therefore must be relatively costless.


Minister Suh: What do you think about the timing of next year’s SCM?

Secretary Schlesinger: We can leave the details of the time and exact place to an exchange of correspondence. We will of course be ·the hosts.


Secretary Schlesinger: I think that at next year’s SCM we probably want to discuss the fundamental question of nuclear deterrence. We want oexamine the role nuclear weapons can play and cannot play. The U.S. Government has already welcomed the ratification of the NPT by the ROKG. The question of non-proliferation is of great significance both in strategic and political terms. One finds the deepest and most persistent concern regarding this problem in Congress. Thus the ratification of the NPT helps us enormously in our relationships with Korea. It is also of great importance to the Japanese, who are very sensitive about this issue. If the ROKG had decided to move ahead with nuclear weapons development, it could have undermined the basis of our.politcal relationship. Thus, I endorse the politically sound decision you have made. We discussed the issue of “complementarity.” Strategically, nuclear development is an area in which complementarity is necessary and desirable.

Minister Suh: I greatly appreciate the useful .and lengthy talk we have had this afternoon. I am very happy to have had this exchange of views which was frank, straightforward, and most informative.

Secretary Schlesinger: I am grateful for the extended amount of time you have devoted to our talk this afternoon and I agree that the exchange was very helpful.”

(Cold War Documentation Project)


Participants: President Park Chung Hee; Minister of Defense Suh Jyong-chul;Ro Jae Hyun ROK Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff; Kim Chong·-yom, Secretary General; Choi Kwan-soo, Senior Protocol Secretary; Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger; Ambassador Richard L. Sneider; Genera l Richard G. Stilwell; Admiral Noel A. M. Gayler, CINCPAC; General George S. Brown, Chairman, JCS; Major General John A. Wickham, Military Assistant to SecDef President Park’s Office , August 27, 1975

North Korean Threat

After an exchange of initial greetings, President Park made a lengthy presentation focusing on his current assessment .of the North Korean threat and the ROKG Force Improvements Requirement Plan. After the collapse of Vietnam, there was a high degree of tension in

Korea with the South Korean people anxious and the North Koreans encouraged tolaunch an attack against the South. The situation in Korea, however, has now stabilized due to two major factors: (1) U.S. statements on reaffirming U.S. commitments and issuing public warnings to North Korea; and (2) the unity and determination demonstrated in the Republic of Korea. North Korea is now frustrated and no longer encouraged to launch an attack. It has changed its tactics and is pressing a “peace offensive.” Secretary Schlesinger agreed that the North Korean moves were tactical and suggested that the counter-strategy is to keep North Korea engaged in a ”peace offensive.” President Park stressed that war on the Korean peninsula will be due to miscalculation on the part of Kim Il-sung. If Kim thinks that the ROK can not cope with an attack, then he will attack even though North Korea will not succeed militarily. There is always a danger that Kim might miscalculate and therefore the outbreak of war depends on Kim’s assessment of the situation in the South. To prevent miscalculation, President Park suggested that we must make our intent and determination to resist aggression known and back these words by deeds, specifically by building up ROK mtlitary capabilities. In this connection, Secretary Schlesinger’s visit is a very significant demonstration of U.S. resolve to meet its commitment and a clear warning to North Korea. The President said that he had been briefed on the Secretary’s talks with Minister Suh and was pleased by the unity and friendship demonstrated therein and the common resolve to defend against a North Korean attack.

ROK Force Improvement

President Pa r k went on t o de scribe his plans for strengthening the ROK armed forces, thanking Secretary Schlesinger for his understanding attitude. He said that in the past the ROK had been too dependent on the United States and relied too much on the United States. It is now determined to defend itself and lessen the U.S. burden. It has, therefore, adopted a plan for self-reliant defense “Yulguk.” This plan contemplates upgrading the combat capabilities of the ROK so that it can defend itself alone against a North Korean attack which does not have substantial help from the USSR or PRC. President Park hopes to accomplish this goal in five years. A large sum will be needed to fund the plan and as much as possible of these funds will come from ROK resources, specifically from the new defense tax levied over the next five years. Under the plan, naval and air force capabilities, now inferior to the North, will be upgraded and the mobility and fire power of the ground forces will likewise be improved. In addition, the homeland reserve will be armed with new equipment. President Park said that the new plan needs American understanding, support , and cooperation . He also urged expediting completion of the modernization plan which is now behind schedule. Finally, he requested U.S. assistance in building up Korea’s defense industry. President Park asked that the level of U.S. forces be maintained until the five year plan is accomplished. He had met and explained his plan to a number of members of the U.S. Congress. They asked whether after five years the United States would be able to withdraw. President Park said that we must keep in mind that, even though the South would be able to deal alone with the North, North Korea is allied to the USSR and the PRC which need only cross a river t o support North Korea. The role of the United States is to prevent war and to maintain the delicate balance of power in Northeast Asia. Therefore, even after the five yea r plan is completed a substantial level of U.S. forces will be needed in South Korea. President Park said that most Congressmen agreed with his views.

Comments by Secretary Schlesinger

The Secretary said that he concurred with the basic structure of President Park’s planning, but had several comments. With respect to the level of U.S. forces, he foresees no basic changes over the next five years. The overall strength of the U.S. forces will not be affected, but there will be adjustments in detail to enhance the common defense structure of the United States in Korea. Furthermore, for the foreseeable future, we will have to maintain the overall complementarity of the U.S.-ROK forces. The principal deficiencies in the ROK forces are close air support, armor, and logistics, and these will have to be shored-up. The Secretary said that he anticipated South Korea will make progress with regard to its capability for dealing with the North, but he does not believe it is necessary for the South to hold the ring against the USSR and the PRC ·should they be inclined to support North Korea. That role will be played by the U.S. Therefore, it is an illusion to view South Korea as entirely dependent and self -reliant. The U.S. must maintain forces in Northeast Asia and in the Western Pacific to deal with these superpowers. In order to enhance the U.S. image in this respect, we plan in the immediate future to rotate in to South Korea assets which will be most visible against the Chinese and Soviet threat, such as F-lll’s. Secretary Schlesinger urged even close joint defense planning for both military and political reasons. He explained that one problem in the U.S. is the view that South Korea is not doing enough in it s own defense. The new Korean force improvement plan helps very much in this respect. Secretary Schlesinger then urged that the improvement in th e ROK force structure not be implemented in such a way as to damage Korea’s international economic position — g iven its current balance of payments problem. He suggested that the ROK as sure that off-shore acquisition of weapons be carefully considered on a cost effective basis so as to limit its impact on the balance of payments deficit. He also suggested that, given Korea’s need to maintain its creditworthiness with commercial banks, it avoid publicly making war appear

likely, which could have a very bad effect on the banks. He urges that Korea build its economy and defense for the long-term and not take short-term actions impairing its economic future. Secretary Schlesinger said that the U.S. would be willing to assist in the development of Korea’s defense industry and to review the most effective areas for assistance. He suggested logistics, armor, and artillery as the areas with the most serious deficiencies. The Secretary then discussed Korea’s position in relation to international politics. In the wake of the Vietnam debacle, there had been understandable concerns. He wished, however, to stress that U.S. adversaries should gain no comfort from Vietnam. The American public had been bewildered by the Vietnam War. There will be no more Vietnams. This means that we will not permit ourselves to be engaged in another unsuccessful, long war. Instead, we will deal with conflict with adequate determination

and force. A North Korea miscalculation would be tragic for the North. Korea is an important element in the global balance of power. Soviet tactical ploys at the present time do not portend any change in the fundamental Soviet objective to expand its power and influence. The PRC is apprehensive. Detente is misunderstood. For detente to be successful, we need to maintain the balance of power without any expansion of Soviet influence. What happens in Korea affects the balance of power elsewhere and vice versa. Europe is affected by the expansion of Soviet power in Korea while flabbiness in Europe has its effect on Korea. President Park expressed his strong appreciation for the Secretary’s remarks, particularly the comments on balance of payments problems, defense industry development, and the relationship of Korea to the security of the rest of the world. He recognized that, while Korea improves its defense capabilities, it must at the same time develop its economy.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memcon August 27, 1975 Participants: President Park Chung Hee; Senior Protocol Secretary, Choi Kwan-soo; Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger; Ambassador Richard L. Sneider “Nuclear Matters: Noting that he had discussed the problem with President Ford, Secretary Schlesinger said that the U.S. attached extreme importance to the NPT. This entirely underscored the wisdom of the ROK adherence to the treaty which we warmly welcomed. The ROK action avoided a very serious political problem in the U.S. where major elements attached particular importance to NPT. [Redacted.] The Secretary added that substantively the ROK adherence to the NPT is a sound policy. The problem is not only in the U.S., but elsewhere. [Redacted.] President Park assured the Secretary that ROK had every intention of living up to the NPT. He explained the comments reported by Bob Novak. Novak had questioned him on what the ROK would do in case the U.S. nuclear

protection was removed. Park had replied that he did not think the U.S. would remove its nuclear umbrella. [Redacted.] On the other hand if he said nothing, it would be a blow to the morale of the Korean people. He again assured the Secretary that the ROK would live up to its Treaty obligations. Secretary Schlesinger commented that it would be best [redacted]. President Park expressed agreement with the Secretary’s views [redacted].

U.S. Commitment

Secretary Schlesinger said that President Ford is unequivocal in his support of Korea. This view goes back to 1950 when President Ford was angered by the previous withdrawal of U.S. forces. In fact, pressures to reduce the U.S. overseas deployment in Congress have weakened. There was no effort during the 1975 Congress nor is one expected in 1976. The next effort to legislate reduction of overseas deployment, he expects, would be in 1977. The secretary said he is not concerned either about such efforts. He expects President Ford to be re-elected, but if not the Democrats are not likely to eliminate U.S. support for South Korea. As an example of the change of opinion in the left of the U.S., he cited Senator Eagleton’s recent statement. One of the lessons of Vietnam is that the left now understands the illusion of U.S. withdrawal and that the Paris Peace Accords would bring peace. They now understand that if the balance of power shifts the Communists will act aggressively. This lesson is specifically relevant to Korea.

U.S. Commanders

President Park asked as a special personal favor from President Ford that General Stilwell and General Hollingsworth be retained for another year in Korea. He praised their contribution to Korea’s defense and urged that they not be shifted during the next year which could be critical. Secretary Schlesinger said we have no intention of moving General Stilwell until his age of retirement at sixty and took note of the President’s request with respect to General Hollingsworth. [Redacted.] In his closing remarks, Secretary Schlesinger praised the political will he found in Korea for defense of its country. This will was needed in Vietnam and Europe, but there is no need to instill it in Koreans. It is the ultimate source of strength for the Republic of Korea.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memcon from Maj. Gen. John A. Wickham, Jr. to NSA Scowcroft, Subject: “Meeting with President Pak Chung Hee in Seoul, Korea 27 August 1975

  1. US attendees at this private meeting were limited to Secretary Schlesinger, Ambassador Sneider, General George Brown, Admiral Noel Gayler, General Richard Stilwell, and Major General Wickham.
  2. After the initial greetings, Secretary Schlesinger told President Pak that President Ford asked him to convey his unequivocal commitment of support for the ROK and assurances that our forces would remain on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. President Pak’s opening comments focused on the events immediately after the fall of RVN and Cambodia. He said that these events together with the visit of Kim Il-Sung to Peking· produced a peak of tension in the ROK. However, the statements of President Ford, Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Schlesinger about the commitment of the US to the defense of the ROK, together with strong public warnings to North Korea, have provided reassurances and therefore the tension in the ROK has eased. President Pak stated his unequivocal belief that the changes in North Korea are merely ones of tactics because their fundamental objective of a take-over in the South remains unchanged. He went on to point out that the best way to prevent reckless aggression by North Korea continues to be to allow no miscalculation about the intent of the ROK and the US should aggression occur. While he believed that the ROK together with the US forces on the ground possess the capability to defend, Kim Il-Sung might misjudge these capabilities and believe that that international situation would be conducive to renewed aggression. Therefore, to prevent any misjudgment two things must be done –
  4. Our intent and determination to defend must be clear to North Korea, and
  5. Deeds must back our statements. We must strengthen our capabilities.

It is for this reason that Secretary Schlesinger’s visit is very significant at this time and the Korean people are most appreciative. President Pak noted that Secretary Schlesinger’s arrival statement together with the Security Consultative deliberations would represent

strong deterrent warnings to North Korea and could contribute to substantial improvement over time in the Korean armed forces.

  1. President Pak said that he had been fully briefed by MOD Suh on the sec deliberations and he was pleased with the U.S. understanding of the ROK situation together with the encouraging statements about the US commitment. Then he went on to note that in the past the ROK has been much too reliant on the US for defense. The ROK should now do their utmost to defend themselves and lessen the burden on the US for the defense of the ROK. He indicated that the ROK was working on several measures with this goal. One of these measures involved the Yulgok plan which is designed for a self-help defense posture. This

plan would permit the ROK to develop a level of defense capability so that the ROK could successfully defend alone against a North Korean attack without any substantial help from the PRC or the USSR. President Pak felt that this capability could be reached in 5 years. He said that the ROK will try to do as much as possible to finance this plan themselves. The Legislature had just approved a defense tax which would be used exclusively to finance this plan. The priority of effort in the plan would be to upgrade capabilities in the Air Force and Navy together with fire power and mobility for the ground forces. In addition, it would be necessary to equip and arm more reserve forces so that they could be put into action ·should war break out. All of this plan will require support and cooperation from the US. Finally, President Pak noted that the current modernization plan is behind schedule and asked if it could be accelerated.

  1. President Pak expanded on the needs of the 5-year plan in terms of defense production capabilities in the ROK. He said that this would require the support and cooperation of the US in terms of technology and co-production assistance. · He noted that until the objectives of the 5-year plan were reached, the levcl of US forces in the ROK must be maintained at the present level. He said that recently he had met with various members of the US Congress who had asked if the US forces could be withdrawn after 5 years. President Pak said that his reply noted that North Korea had alliances with the PRC and the USSR and

that these nations would ‘only have to cross a river to assist Korea. Therefore, the role of US forces in the ROK must be to help in maintaining the delicate balance of power in this area of the world and thus a substantial level of US forces still would be required to stay in this area of the world subsequent to the 5-year plan for ROK improvement of its defense capabilities. President Pak said that he felt the US Congressmen seemed to agree with this view.

  1. Secretary Schlesinger said that he concurred with the basic views which President Pak had just laid out. With regard to the level of US forces, we plan no basic changes in the level. While the strength would remain unaffected, we may make some adjustments in particular detail but the purpose of these adjustments would be simply to enhance the common capability. In our judgment the deficiencies to be remedied in the ROK armed forces capabilities lie principally in close air support, in armor, and in logistics. To the extent that we make adjustments in US forces, these adjustments will be to shore up the deficiencies in the ROK AF. [Redacted.]
  2. 7. Secretary Schlesinger indicated US support for the defense upgrade efforts which President Pak had announced. He said that one of our difficulties in Congress in the past has been perceptions of the extent of the ROK effort to provide for its own defense. To the extent that the ROK increases its own defense effort, it will help with these Congressional and public criticisms. However, he suggested that the ROK must be cautious with its defense improvement program so as to avoid damage to the international economic position of the ROK. It would be important for the ROK to keep ‘its international credit worthiness

high, as it is now. Too heavy a commitment on defense self sufficiency across the board could erode the beneficial foreign exchange position for the ROK. Short term defense objectives should not diminish the long-run economic capabilities for the ROK. Secretary Schlesinger said that we are prepared to help in areas such as logistics, ammunition

availability, armor, close air support, and artillery. We can also assist in defense production cooperation.

  1. As a final comment, Secretary Schlesinger described his views as to ·the relationship of the Korean Peninsula to the world strategic situation. He indicated that overall threats in world politics will continue to be influenced by the situation in the Peninsula. After the

fall of RVN and Cambodia, it is true that some concern and uneasiness existed in the ROK but there are some favorable results as well and some illusions have been dispelled. The North Koreans should not drawcomfort from the current situation. Our plans and public expressionsof support for the ROK are indicative. In the US there are attitudes that say “there will be no more Vietnams” –but this means that we are not going to permit war to blunder along for an extended time. We will have forces and means to deal effectively with war if we are drawn into it. If North Korea miscalculates it would be tragic for them. We plan no more Vietnams. Thus, the Korean Peninsula is an element in the larger balance around the world. The Soviets continue to make tactical ploys without changing their basic objectives. Detente can, of course, be misunderstood. For it to be effective, it must rest on the maintenance of an equivalence of forces in the world and here in the Korean Peninsula. In summary, the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula is encouraging.

  1. President Pak expressed again his appreciation for the Secretary’s understanding of the ROK situation and for his supportive remarks concerning ROK defense capabilities.”

(Cold War Documentation Project)

Memo to NSA Scowcroft from Gen. John Wickham, Military Assistant to the SecDef: “Attached message has been in the NSC for coordination and based on the SecDef’s discussions with MOD Suh, it should be released to initiate detailed planning. This planning can consider the request of MOD Suh to station a U.S. combat liaison team on the Islands. Definitive guidance on this proposal can be the subject of a separatemessage. What is needed now is to authorize CINCUNC to discuss planning with the ROK. Request prompt clearance.

Action: Routine Seoul, CINCUNC

Joint State Defense Message

Subject: Defense of UNC Controlled Islands

Refs (a) CINCUNC 220935Z May 75; (b) CINCUNC 140020Z May 75; (c) Seoul 3704

  1. Appreciate Embassy/CINCUNC comments contained ref Aand C.
  2. Assumption is correct that five northwest island groups fit definition of territory under ROK administrative control and they therefore come under Article III of the MDT. The forces there arc clearly under CINCUNC operational control. We therefore agree that it is unrealistic to maintain present “hands-off” position in which CINCUNC does not have active planning responsibilities.
  3. Consequently CINCUNC is authorized to discuss planning for defense of the Islands with a view toward reaching understanding on the following:

(a) ROK will not act precipitously and unilaterally in defense of the islands: CINCUNC will exercise OPCON of ROK forces.

  1. b) In event of attack on islands CINCUNC will imrnediately commit ROK forces to contain and restore situation: however, force commitment must not jeopardize the capability to defense the ROK as a whole.
  2. In any main North Korean attack there would be a US response appropriate to the situation. [Redacted.]” (Cold War Documentation Project)


Memo to NSA Scowcroft from Thomas Barnes “Subject: Secretary Schlesinger’s Discussions in Seoul September 29, 1975

Secretary Schlesinger sent an outline through you to the President on the principal issues that he intended to discuss with the Koreans during his trip to Seoul last month (Tab C). Attached at Tab B are three memoranda reporting his conversations in Seoul with President Park and Defense Minister Suh. There is no doubt Secretary Schlesinger’s trip was highly successful in manifesting our commitment to our South Korean was and in furthering our close alliance with Japan. On several points, however, Secretary Schlesinger went beyond the position set out in the outline. Some of his comments in Seoul also differed from the briefing papers that the Department of Defense prepared for the trip and go beyond the commitments tbe President made in his conversation with President Park on November 22, 1974. Secretary Schlesinger’s comments appear to preempt several basic policy issues being considered in the Korean NSSM. One basic issue is Secretary Schlesinger’s commitment of automatic involvement by U. S. forces in the event of a North Korean attack. On this issue he went beyond any previous comment that I am aware of by high U. S. officials. Also on the question of U. S. involvement in the defense of the Northwest Islands, the Secretary initially kept to his brief but departed from it significantly later on. In a related matter, we are concerned about the manner in which General Stilwell has bored ahead without formal Washington approval with his “short-war strategy” for the defense of the ROK. In addition, Secretary Schlesinger informed the Koreans that U. S. force levels in Korea would remain unchanged for the next five years. A discussion of these points is at Tab A. I raised some of them with Mort Abramowitz and Bill Crowe on September 11. In regard to the U. S. commitments to react to a North Korean attack, Mort explained that the President reportedly instructed Secretary Schlesinger to be as positive as possible with the South Koreans. I do not know what the President said, but I wonder whether he intended Secretary Schlesinger to go as far as he did. Mort acknowledges tbat Secretary Schlesinger came close to committing the U. S. to defend the Northwest Islands. There has recently been an exchange of STADIS messages with

Embassy Seoul on the question of the “short-war strategy” (Tabs Dand E). Ambassador Sneider notes that State officials and others have been orally briefed, and he claims, incorrectly, that the JCS has approved the plan. He maintains that the concept is only a revision of the present defense plan and therefore not new. The concept of winning tbe war in “nine days,” however, bas serious implications. They include no planning for evacuation to the south, almost immediate U. S. air intervention, and possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.

RECOMMENDATION: That you discuss these points with Secretary Kissinger and the President. That you ask General Wickham for information on the status of the “short-war strategy,” as well as on DOD plans for seeking White House concurrence in any commitments that have implications for the nature of the U. S. role in the event of bostilities on tbe Korean Peninsula.

APPROVE [initialed by Scowcroft] DISAPPROVE

Comments on Secretary Schlesigner’s Discussions in Seoul

U.S. Reaction in Event of North Korean Aggression

In his conversation with Minister Suh on August 26, Schlesinger said:

In addition, in the event of major aggression across the DMZ our reaction would be covered by the inherent powers of the U. S. President in light of the presence in the area of U. S. forces. Moreover, under the terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty, we would be prepared to take appropriate action including the deployment and employment of tactical air units. With respect to what I said about the inherent powers of the President, I am not sure it is advisable to publicly advertise this point. This could lead to criticism in the Congress concerning this issue.

Minister Sub said the ROK was concerned that in the event of major aggression by North Korea the U. S. would have to go through various time-consuming processes. Secretary Schlesinger replied:

Mr. Minister, you are dealing with a theoretical and not a practical problem. There is no question in my mind as to what the President would authorize to be done in the case of major aggression. I do not believe he would refer the issue to Congress. I believe the reaction would be immediate.

[In the DOD memorandum on this conversation, the penultimate sentence is bracketed out.]

The “automatic response” theSecretary of Defense mentioned goes hand-in-glove with what he referred to in Seoul as “complementarity.” In essence, he told the ROK that the U. S. Air Force would handle air defense and they should concentrate their air effort on close air support. This breakout of combat missions has very significant force structure implications for the ROK as well as major political ramifications for us. In addition, the President’s guidance on the Korean Mod Plan was for ROK air defense to receive number one priority.

The Short War

Secretary Schlesinger’s pledge that there would he immediateengagement of U. S. forces in the event of major aggression across the DMZ may be related to General Stilwell’s new “sbort-war strategy.” This new strategy aims at defending Seoul by utilizing massive firepowerto defeat the enemy in a short period of nine days. The “short-war” concept apparently calls for tile use of enormous amounts of munitions, weapons, and materials at the onset of hostilities and also for the early employment of U. S. forces. For some months General Stilwell has been engaging in joint planning with the ROK on Command Post exercise FOCUS LENS 76, whicb is intended to demonstrate the operational feasibility and logistic support ability of the”short-war” concept (Tab I). In the DOD Issue Paper on the ”short-war” strategy (Tab D), it was recommended that Secretary Schlesinger express appreciation for General Stilwell’s efforts in evolving the new concept and note that the full implications of the plan are under review by COMUSK. So far as we know, the plan is in fact not officially approved by DOD. CINCPAC and tbe Joint Chiefs both apparently have some problems with it. Yet General Stilwell bas already engaged the South Koreans in joint planning exercises involving this strategy, and in addition General Hollingsworth publicly disclosed the “nine-day war plan” during Secretary Schlesinger’s visit to Korea. Hollingsworth told newsmen that Scblesinger “agreed with me 100 percent” on the “nine-day war” concept. Virtually everyone in Korea now assumes the “nine-day war” is the established policy. There has recently been an exchange of STADIS messages with Embassy Seoul on this question (Tabs D and E). Ambassador Sneider notes that State officials and others have been orally briefed, and be claims, incorrectly, that the JCS bas approved the plan. The force structure implications in the ”nine-day” concept are very significant, i.e., no planning for evacuation to the south, no long-term U. S. resupply, almost immediate U. S. air intervention, and possible use of nuclear weapons.

The Northwest Islands

Minister Suh made a major effort to obtain a U. S. commitment to help defend the Northwest Islands. The Minister returned to this question several times. In his initial response, Secretary Schlesinger noted that “there would be Constitutional problems in our making an advance commitment with respect to the Islands. We will have to explore with the ROK what are the options and how we might respond to moves against the Islands.” In keeping with the outline presented to the President, Schlesinger noted that we would agree to joint planning for the defense of the Islands but without commitment of direct U. S. involvement. Minister Suh again argued that the U.S. must react instantaneously in the event of an attack on the Islands. Schlesinger said that this problem would be examined, but at this point he unexplainably departed from his previous cautious replies in regard to the Islands by stating:

I urge in any case that you not be unduly concerned. This is not a problem that would be referred to Congress. U. S. action would be firm and speedy, and the issue would not be submitted to Congress for debate.

Clearly in this last remark Schlesinger contradicted the policy of not committing the U.S. to an automatic military response in the event of an attack on the Northwest Islands. Perhaps be did not mean to say so, but that is how the Koreans will read it. Constitutional restrictions of course apply to the U. S. response to any North Korean

attack on South Korea wherever it should take place. U.S. units are deployed in a forward posture near the DMZ and presumably any North Korean attack across the line would threaten them. Thus, the President would have inherent powers to order the U. S. military commander to respond if necessary to counter this threat. Under the War Powers Act, the President-would have 60 days to obtain U. S. Congressional sanction for the use of military force in this situation. We could not interpret convincingly a North Korean assault on the Islands as threatening U.S. forces. The President thus would have greater difficulty in justifying their unemployment under his emergency powers. Nevertheless, we bave been careful heretofore not to make an explicit commitment to the ROK that the U. S. would automatically employ its forces against a North Korean attack across the DMZ.

U.S. Force Presence

In his conversation with President Park on August 27, Secretary Schlesinger said that with respect to the level of U.S. forces “he foresees no basic changes over the next five years.” The strength of U. S. forces, he said, would not be affected but there will be adjustments in detail to enhance the common defense structure of the United States and Korea.” He spoke in greater detail on this subject to Minister Suh:

We plan no adjustment in forces in Korea in the period immediately ahead. I must explain what I mean by immediately ahead. Sometimes this phrase is misinterpreted to mean that some changes will take place after the immediate future. We do not plan any fundamental changes in U. S. support. Over the long run we may make some adjustments to advance future complementarity. Such adjustments would in fact be aimed at strengthening deterrents, e.g., the Nike-Hercules adjustments.

The outline that DOD provided the President stated simply that “the Secretary will reaffirm the determination to maintain our troop presence in Korea. The DOD briefing book indicated a flexible position. It recommended that the Secretary “assure the ROK that the Administration has no plans at present to alter the force level, which is in consonance with the President’s assurance in November 1974; and to reaffirm that the ROK will be consulted before any major U. S. troop withdrawals are made.” These formulations seem more in line with President Ford’s pledge in November 1974 to President Park that “we have no intention of withdrawing U. S. personnel from Korea.” In context it was clear that the President was discounting total not partial withdrawals.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Seoul 08548 NODIS “Subject: ROKG Nuclear Reprocessing”

Summary: ROKG’s second rejection of our request that they cancel French nuclear reprocessing facility contract leaves us with options of simply letting situation develop, accepting ROK offer of inspection, or approaching President Park with tough position or effort to work our compromise. I recommend compromise approach as best alternative. End summary.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute completes detailed blueprints for construction of plutonium reprocessing plants, says Kim Chul, who participated in the project. “In 1976, the South Korean government gave up its attempt to import nuclear fuel reprocessing technology from France’s Saint Gobain Techniques Vouvelles under pressure from the United States.” (Yonhap, “Documents Show Seoul Close to Developing Nuclear Weapons in 1970s,” August 1, 2004)

Memorandum, Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “Before the Hungarian health delegation headed by Comrade Medve visited Korea, I received O Song-gwon, the third secretary of the Korean Embassy, and Yi Un-gi, the Korean deputy military attaché, and asked them for information about the situation in Korea. At that time we agreed to meet again after the visit of the delegation. This occurred on 13 February 1976. […] In their opinion, Korea cannot be unified in a peaceful way. They are prepared for war. If a war occurs in Korea, it will be waged by nuclear weapons, rather than by conventional ones. The DPRK is prepared for such a contingency as well, the country has been turned into a system of fortifications, important factories have been moved underground (for instance, recently they relocated the steelworks in Kangson), and airfields, harbors, and other military facilities were established in the subterranean cave networks. The P’yongyang subway is connected with several branch tunnels, which are currently closed but in case of emergency they are able to place the population of P’yongyang there. By now the DPRK also has nuclear warheads and carrier missiles, [???] which are targeted on the big cities of South Korea and Japan, such as Seoul, Tokyo, and Nagasaki, as well as on the local military bases, such as Okinawa. When I asked whether the Korean People’s Army had received the nuclear warheads from China, they replied that they had developed them unaided through experimentation, and they manufactured them by themselves. […]István Garajszki” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “Jewdoszczuk, the second highest ranking diplomat of the Polish Embassy, told the heads of the fraternal eight [embassies] the information that they had received from the Polish members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. That information summarizes the opinion that the South Korean regime has about the military situation and intentions of the DPRK. […] At present the DPRK wants to construct nuclear reactors, it is having talks about this issue, in order to become capable of producing atomic weapons in the future. […] Ferenc Szabó ambassador” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “Comrade György Kuti was given detailed information by his Soviet colleague […] about one of the most important items on the agenda of the Soviet-Korean intergovernmental economic negotiations that took place in Moscow in late January and early February 1976, namely, the utilization of the new Soviet investment and development loan between 1976 and 1980, and also about the repayment of the accumulated [North Korean] debts, the conduct of the DPRK negotiating delegation, and other related issues. […] The DPRK side also made a request for the construction of a nuclear power plant. For various reasons — primarily military considerations and the amount of the investment — the Soviet side declared that this [request] was now [not?] inopportune, and proposed to come back to it only in the course of the next [five-year] plan. The Korean side was very reluctant to accept this Soviet decision and the rejection of a few other investment demands. Particularly in the course of the negotiations over credit, but also in other issues, from any country and did not let anyone behave in such a way. […]the head of the Korean delegation — Deputy Premier Kang Chin-t’ae — behaved in an extremely aggressive way, definitely crude and insulting in certain statements vis-a-vis his Soviet counterpart, Deputy Premier Arkhipov. He declared several times that if the Soviet Union was unwilling to make “appropriate” allowances for the “front-line situation” of the DPRK and did not comply entirely with the Korean requests, the DPRK would be compelled to suspend her economic relations with the Soviet Union. It was only after his visit to Comrade Kosygin that Kang Chin-t’ae changed his conduct, and thus it became possible to sign the agreements. Comrade Kosygin, among others, firmly rebuked him, declaring that the Soviet Union did not accept ultimatums. Ferenc Szabó ambassador” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

US-ROK Discussions on Nuclear Cooperation. State 149193 reports: “The two sides discussed the renewal of the arrangement for a sister laboratory relationship between the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). In accordance with the discussions in Seoul on January 22-23, 1976, the U.S. side submitted a draft memorandum of understanding for consideration. … In response for a proposal from the Government of Korea that an agreement on scientific and technical cooperation be concluded between the two governments, the U.S. side submitted for consideration its draft of such an agreement. The U.S. and ROK sides conferred on the text of this draft and agreement was reached, ad referendum, on a text for signature following appropriate clearances by both governments. …Noting that in the January 22-23, 1976 discussions with ROK representatives in Seoul, the U.S. side indicated that the U.S. would be prepared to consider the establishment of a joint standing committee on nuclear and other energy technology matters. The two sides discussed a draft letter which could be exchanged through appropriate channels. The committee would have four primary functions: to identify future program directions and new areas of interest, the establishment of concrete cooperative programs, programs in progress, and interest. … The ROK government representatives stressed the importance to Korea of its major program for development of nuclear power to meet its energy requirements. …The ROK side informed the U.S. siode of legal and administrative measures taken since the ratification of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by the ROK in 1975. … The ROK expressed its great interest in expansion of the training capabilities of the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute, maximizing domestic capabilities in nuclear power plant design, construction, operation and maintenance, component manufacture, and nuclear fuel fabrication. In regard to the expansion of training capabilities at KAERI, the U.S. side said that advice in accomplishing this ibjective would be available under the sister laboratory arrangement with ANL …Concerning the localization of manufacture of reactor compnents, including fuel fabrication, the U.S. side confirmed its readiness to endorse and encourage commercial arrangements and reported that steps toward this end had already been taken with principal U.S. reactor manufacturers. The Korean side stated the importance to nuclear energy devlkopment of fuel cycle technology, and expressed its interest in fuel cycle management training. In this connection, the U.S. side reemphasized the special sensitivity associated with reprocessing facilities and technology. The U.S. side suggested that Korea seek to associate itself with the IAEA generic study of regional fuel cycle centers. ..” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Telegram, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “At the 13th session of the Soviet-Korean Intergovernmental Economic Commission, held in Moscow in the first half of June, Comrade Novikov asked Kang Chin-t’ae that the DPRK put an end to the delay that once again occurred in her commercial deliveries (approx. 20%). […] The Soviet Union cannot deliver a nuclear power plant to the DPRK in the new five-year plan [1976-80] either, for she has long-term commitments [to construct such plants elsewhere]. For the time being the Soviet Union also failed to give her consent to the extension of the agreement on lumbering in Siberia by 3 years, because there are ecological surveys in progress [in these areas]. Ferenc Szabó ambassador” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Two U.S. troops slain attempting to fell trees obstructing the view between the observation post and the tower in the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom.

Memcon Top Secret to NSA Brent Scowcroft from William G. Hyland: “Held 45 minute WSAG this afternoon with HAK in chair. Attached is a shopping list of things that are being done or could be done tomorrow. General feeling of the group was first, to put forces in Korea on the alert, second, to return to area of incident and chop down the goddamned tree; third, move F-4s tonight; and fourth, examine whether to move some F-111s tomorrow and a carrier task force. There was a very hesitant discussion about actual military action as you guessed. WSAG will reconvene at 8:00 tomorrow morning to look into what punitive measures we might undertake. Holloway, sitting in for Brown, discussed seizing ships and patrol craft, etc. I talked to HAK about an option in which we would launch very limited air strike in the eastern end of the DMZ, where it would be unexpected and where it wouldn’t necessarily touch off something we couldn’t handle. He seemed somewhat taken with the idea. Finally, we are going to get out some low key press guidance which I will send to you as soon as it is available because alerting forces and moving F-4s will become public this evening. Actions:

  1. Put forces in Korea on DEFCON 3 tonight.
  2. Move squadron of F-4s tonight from Japan to South Korea.
  3. Alert F-111s for possible movement.
  4. Alert carrier task force (MIDWAY) for possible movement

(no discussion of where — Sea of Japan?)

  1. Make preparations for launching B-52 bombing exercise, in South Korea (72 hours?)
  2. Prepare for tonight press guidance: low key — ‘given nature of premeditated murder certain precautionary moves being undertaken.’
  3. Examine question of War Powers notification.
  4. Initiate consultations: with Japan; with South Korea.
  5. Modify US statement to be made ·in MAC (already done?) (Use State language.)
  6. Hold “in abeyance Stillwell letter to Kim Il Sung.

For Tomorrow Morning WSAG:

  1. What additional deployments could be made to South Korea?
  2. What military actions (punitive) could be undertaken?
  3. What further diplomatic actions — US, Russians, Chinese, etc. could or should be undertaken?
  4. Plan for handling Congressional consultations, etc.
  5. Ask Stillwell for scenario to cut down tree in Joint Security Area tomorrow night (our time).” Cold War Documentation Project)


Washington Special Actions Group Meeting Auguat 19, 1976

“Participants: Chairman: Secretary Henry A. Kissinger

State: Charles Robinson, Philip Habib

DOD: William Clements, Morton Abramowitz

JCS: Admiral James L. Holloway, Lt. Gen. William Y. Smith

CIA: George Bush, Evelyn Colbert

NSC Staff: William G. Hyland, William Gleysteen, Michael Hornblow


  1. Seek Presidential approval of a military action to cut down the tree and try to do it in such a way as to avoid confrontation.
  2. Seek Presidential approval to start the B-52 exercise. The first such B-52 run should be timed to coincide with the tree cutting.
  3. To start moving the Naval Task Force south into either the Sea o£ Japan or the Yellow Sea.
  4. To start moving 18 F-111s from Mountain Home, Idaho.
  5. To develop a contingency plan· for hitting the North Korean barracks near the JSA.

Secretary Kissinger: I would like some account of why it took so long for our reaction force to go in.

Adm. Holloway: We have not received an account which satisfies us. Stilwell was in Japan when the incident took place and is investigating.

Secretary Kissinger: I complained to the Chinese yesterday. They asked a good question. They wanted to know why we had cameras there if we were not expecting an incident?

Adm. Holloway: It was a precaution because of previous incidents.

Secretary Kissinger: Okay. Their next question was — if we had a photographer there, why didn’t we do something?

Adm. Holloway: We have not received a satisfactory answer from Stilwell on that.

Secretary Kissinger: Why did Stilwell go into see Park alone when he was specifically instructed to go in with the DCM?

Mr. Abramowitz: Well he called Stern and Stern said for him to go ahead.

Secretary Kissinger: But did he tell Stern that Stern was supposed to accompany him?

Mr. Abramowitz: He felt that Park was supposed to be informed right away. That was the environment.

Secretary Kissinger: We are not going to let Stilwell run loose. We are not going to let him act like MacArthur. We could have cut him out completely and insured that the whole thing be handled by the DCM.

Adm. Holloway: He talked to the Minister of Defense, then —

Secretary Kissinger: It should not happen again.

Mr. Clements: I will send him a message.

Secretary Kissinger: I heard on the radio this morning a report that the Pentagon says that military action is inconceivable. The President will hit the ceiling when he hears that because I told him we would be discussing possible military actions and that is what the President wants.

Adm. Holloway: It must have been press conjecture.

Mr. Clements: It was probably from our PA.

Secretary Kissinger: George, do you have a briefing?

Mr. Bush: (Begins briefing — see attached. )

Secretary Kissinger: We must brief our NATO allies,

Mr. Bush(continues briefing.)

Mr. Habib: Neutral observers (referring to NNSC members at Panmunjom) won’t go.

Mr. Bush (finishes briefing. )

Secretary Kissinger: The fact is that they beat two of our men to death. Let’s not lose sight of that.

Mr. Clements: Yesterday Henry asked a question about the order of battle. Holloway’s judgement was that they are relatively in balance. Is that also your judgement, George?

Mr. Bush: Evelyn?

Mrs. Colbert: Yes, we basically agree. Our ground forces don’t count for much. There is a lack of firepower.

Secretary Kissinger: How come 40, 000 Americans don’t count for much?

Mr. Habib: They consist of one division. The rest are air and ground support.

Adm. Holloway: Our air and mobile forces count for more than is reflected in the numbers. They have great influence.

Secretary Kissinger: I am uneasy about net assessments. You can look at military history. Wars are often won by the side with the smaller forces. You look at World War I where the Germans were outnumbered. Then again in World War II, the Germans were outnumbered by the French and British. They were able to concentrate their forces at decisive key points and win.

Mr. Habib: Our battle plan for Korea is based on exactly that assumption.

Adm. Holloway: On balance the South Korean forces with US assistance are adequate to stop the North Koreans from reaching Seoul. However a surprise attack could upset that. But that is no longer a possibility since we have gone to DEFCON 3. Of course a lot depends on how the troops fight for there can be breakthroughs. One breakthrough can raise havoc. A bold stroke could cause a lot of trouble. But the North Koreans by their attack on the two men have given away the element of


Secretary Kissinger: If they had wanted to launch an attack they would not have beat the two Americans to death.

Mr. Hyland: It is obvious from their propaganda that the Chinese were cool to the North Korean August 5 statement. If the North Koreans really want to fight they will need Chinese and Russian support.

Secretary Kissinger: If we do nothing they will think of us as the paper tigers of Saigon. They might then try to create a series of events. If we do nothing there may be another incident and then another.

Mr. Hyland: There is a substantial body of opinion in the US that we should pull out of Korea. Ed Reichauer in the Christian Science Monitor wrote that we should not honor our commitment even i.f attacked.

Mr. Robinson: When was this article?

Mr. Hyland: About three weeks ago. There may be a problem if the North Koreans think that this crisis will cause controversy in this country.

Secretary Kissinger: Certainly there will be controversy. There would be a controversy if we did nothing. The only way to act is to do something effectively.

Mr. Bush: [redacted].

Secretary Kissinger: What kind of alert did they have for the EC-121?

Mr. Bush: There was no such strip alert at that time.

Mrs. Colbert: It was intended to demonstrate to the US a high degree of readiness and to give us pause from undertaking military action. They laid everything on before publicizing their alert.

Secretary Kissinger: You still think that yesterday’s incident was a planned action?

Mrs. Colbert: Yes. The way they handled the alert was another indication that it was planned. Within one hour of our going on DEFCON 3 they had their strip alert.

Secretary Kissinger: You do think it was planned.

Mrs. Colbert: An incident was planned but the actual killing of the two Americans may not have been in the plan. Those guards have been indoctrinated to hate Americans. The Koreans are very violent. The weight of the evidence including the number of Korean reinforcements ready prior to the incident indicates that our interpretation is true.

Secretary Kissinger: Obviously the tree was going to be a contentious issue and it was probably clear to the North Koreans that our going-in was likely to create an incident. So why didn’t we also anticipate this. Where was our reaction force? We had no authority to prune the tree. We went in, advised the North Korean Officer who said good and then all hell broke loose.

Mr. Clements: Well, I agree. I remember our discussion yesterday and what you (to Holloway) said about our troops being Vietnam veterans trained to obey the rules. But they were armed and I can’t understand how they could have let the Koreans get that close to them and get themselves clobbered and chopped up.

Secretary Kissinger: What military options do we have?

Adm. Holloway: Stilwell was in Japan during the incident and still does not understand what happened. It was a surprise to him. One thing he did point out on the telephone is that once the two officers were killed the troops were leaderless.

Secretary Kissinger: What about the guy in the observation tower.

Adm. Holloway: Our information on that is garbled. There is no reasonable excuse. Since yesterday’s meeting we have gone up to DEFCON 3 and our F-4s arrived in Korea before nightfall. The North Koreans are aware of it because they complained about it at the MAC


Secretary Kissinger: Why?

Mr. Habib: Technically speaking any introduction of forces into Korea is illegal. We have done this thousands of times and the North Koreans have always complained. They do it too. The introduction of any weapons not there at the time of the agreement is illegal.

Secretary Kissinger: What are we going to do?

Adm. Holloway: The first priority is to prune or cut the tree. The preliminary plan is to move in with some forces and chop it down quickly.

Secretary Kissinger: Does the Army have highly trained tree choppers?

Adm. Holloway: It would be done by specially trained Army engineers. The second option mentioned by Stilwell would be to announce to the press and observers and the North Koreans that we were going in to cut down the tree. Stilwell says this would be okay politically but might cause some military problems.

Secretary Kissinger: I respect Stilwell’s military judgments but politics is not his forte. Can you imagine inviting the world press to a tree cutting. We would be a laughing stock. It would be theatrical. The thing is to do it and then get out. The press could be invited in to look at the stump.

Adm. Holloway: The plan as we know it is not entirely adequate. They are getting it to us.

Mr. Clements: This business of sending in a squad is nonsense. It will just lead to a confrontation and may get a bunch of others killed. What for? A tree? One guy with explosives, some plastique, could do the job. He could go in on a bicycle. Why risk a bunch of people for a tree? I don’t like it at all. It makes no sense. We should not expect unarmed Americans to go in there and get killed over a tree.

Secretary Kissinger: The basic point is that we know we have the right to cut down the tree. They have killed two Americans and if we do nothing they will do it again. We have to do something.

Adm. Holloway: The Chiefs are looking at the tree as a military action and looking to see if we have the force to back it up. One option we are looking at is to have the SR-71 penetrate North Korean air space for reconnaissance purposes and advertise this to the world. Nobody would get hurt if we did this.

Secretary Kissinger: Why advertise?

Adm. Holloway: Advertising would tend to embarrass them.

Secretary Kissinger: Advertising would get us involved in a ·uN debate.

Adm. Holloway: We can advertise or not advertise it. With regard to the B-52 training flights they will proceed from Guam to South Korea and approach to within 43 miles of the DMZ. They will drop radar bombs and return. One option would be to use live conventional ordnance and bring them closer to the DMZ. We could also adjust the profile of B-52s so that North Korean radar can detect them.

Mr. Hyland: How many aircraft?

Adm. Holloway: There would be two to three aircraft per cell. They could have a live load of bombs.

Secretary Kissinger: There is not much point in having a live load unless it was always part of the plan.

Gen. Smith: No, it wasn’t.

Secretary Kissinger: Then let’s just do it. It is better to talk less and do more.

Adm. Holloway: Is that an execute order?

Secretary Kissinger: Let me check it out with Kansas City. What else can we do?

Adm. Holloway: This show of force in our air operations would not be too impressive to the North Koreans. We could reinforce our ground forces in Korea. The Marines on Okinawa could get there in five days. Or we could keep them afloat. We could fly the Marines from Okinawa in C-l30s but a couple of battalions of Marines might not make much difference. We could also send in a Ranger battalion. That could be done in five days. They can do unconventional warfare tasks. But I am not sure we can get the attention of the North Koreans by these kinds of moves.

Secretary Kissinger: Well they have seen us do it twice.

Adm. Holloway: We could use a guided weapon such as an Honest John against a pinpointed target. But the Army can’t guarantee its accuracy. We could use artillery to hit some of their observers but the trouble with that is they could come back and do the same thing. Another option is to prevail upon the South Koreans to reinforce the offshore

islands. The North Koreans would regard that as a very provocative act. We can move our Naval forces into the Yellow Sea. That would be a high visibility move for until now we have restricted ourselves from the Yellow Sea. We could be there in five days.

Secretary Kissinger: Before we chop the tree down, and we have to do it tonight, can we get one B-52 cell there which they can see before the tree is chopped down?

Adm. Holloway: Yes. The B-52s could be evident first thing in the morning Korean time.

Gen. Smith: They can be there in 7-8 hours.

Adm. Holloway: We could hit the DMZ or North Korean targets by air or a power plant. But this is not practicable in view of the North Koreans’ high state of alert. We could hit the tree with a laser bomb.

Secretary Kissinger: Isn’t there anything along the DMZ that we can hit?

Adm. Holloway: There are some observation posts. But it would be better to use artillery rather than aircraft. If we go into North Korean · airspace we are violating their territorial sovereignty and it would make our airbase a target.

Secretary Kissinger: The logical thing to do is to hit the base from which the killers of the Americans came from.

Mr. Abramowitz: That could be done with artillery.

Adm. Holloway: Yes. With aircraft you have to take massive defensive measures but artillery is discrete.

Secretary Kissinger: Are the barracks reachable with artillery?

Mr. Abramowitz: Possibly only by South Korean artillery.

Mr. Habib: They can be hit with American artillery.

Secretary Kissinger: But will we know exactly what is being hit? Can we know exactly what is going to happen?

Adm. Holloway: We can come back with a plan.

Secretary Kissinger: It seems to me that the most logical thing is to hit the barracks. There would then be a high probability of getting the people who did this.

Mr. Clements: We all agree that taking out that tree is a must. But we should also do these other things. We have to get that task force moving and do the B-52s. But what I would like to do is to have a party land up that coast and blow the hell out of an industrial site. It could be done [redacted].

Adm. Holloway: It could be a “seal” operation. We would need to have 24 hours and two selected targets. They could go in on a rubber boat. There would be a high risk of success.

Secretary Kissinger: What does that mean — a high probability of success?

Adm. Holloway: It could be dangerous as hell. If we pick a target which is significant in their view we would have a 50% chance of doing it without getting some people killed. The North Koreans are in a high state of alert.

Mr. Clements: What do you think, Henry?

Secretary Kissinger: I am a bit leery of getting Americans captured that far up the coast. We have to make it clear that we will not be pushed around and that we are not afraid of the North Koreans. If we let this incident go then there will be other incidents. Ideally we should do something quickly and then generate our forces afterwards. I remember with the EC-121 incident that by the time we had identified our targets, and had meetings and moved the carriers — it was too late.

Mr. Bush: If we try to take that tree down probably that same group of North Koreans as before will come out.

Secretary Kissinger: If we shell the barracks maybe we don’t need to take the tree down.

Mr. Habib: The barracks are outside of the Joint Security Area. They have reaction forces outside of the JSA. We are only talking about two miles.

Mr. Clements: I don’t like the idea of shelling the barracks. It could start something. What do we do after we shell them? The North Koreans would certainly react violently. I think we should go up the coast.

Adm. Holloway: If we did that, we might have difficulty getting the guys out.

Secretary Kissinger:· Why should that operation be with frogmen rather than airplanes? Airplanes would be a lot safer. Also a coastal operation would risk an infinitely more violent North Korean reaction. However the barracks are clearly related to the incident. If we aren’t willing to accept some risk then we should not do anything.

Mr. Clements: I like the other operation better. It could be a harbor and we could blow up a couple of ships. They would be wondering what happened and who did it.

Secretary Kissinger: If we don’t take that tree tonight we will have to forget about the tree.

Mr. Bush: They will react.

Mr. Abramowitz: If we send in 35 guys, would they mortar?

Mr. Habib: No, they would either leave us alone or move in 100 people.

Secretary Kissinger: What do I tell the President?

Adm. Holloway: That we are going in to cut down the tree. That our forces will be in position and ready to act depending on what happens. And they will take it from there.

Mr. Hyland: If necessary could we withdraw our forces and then plaster them?

Mr. Clements: Why can’t we just send one guy in there?

Secretary Kissinger: The purpose of doing something is to show that we are ready to take risks. The trick is to do something from which they will back off.

Mr. Hyland: Then we will get Stilwell’s plan and use all men possible.

Secretary Kissinger: It should be done quickly.

Mr. Hyland: Stilwell will need fairly precise instructions about whathappens if a fight starts.

Mr. Habib (explains situation from a map)

Adm. Holloway: There could be 200-300 people and a guy with a chain saw.

Mr. Abramowitz: The North Koreans probably expect this and are making plans for it.

Secretary Kissinger: One always assumes the unlimited willingness of opponents to take risks. The purpose of this exercise is to overawe them. We are 200 million people and they are 16 million.

Mr. Abramowitz: They could overawe us locally.

Mr. Hyland: If a fight starts we should get our men out and then plaster the area.

Adm. Holloway: We have to cut down the tree before that happens. We can go in with a full battalion.

Secretary Kissinger: We can start the B-52s before.

Adm. Holloway: Yes.

Mr. Clements: We can cut the tree down and plan the B-52 exercise so that they see the B-52s coming. That will give them something to occupy themselves with in Pyongang. We can cut the tree down while the B-52s are on their way and then keep the B-52s going for a few days.

Secretary Kissinger: How many days.

Adm. Holloway: Five days.

Secretary Kissinger: And make a contingency plan for shelling the barracks.

Mr. Clements: And the Navy task force should move in that direction.

Adm. Holloway: And we can move the F-111s.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes and start the task force moving.

Meeting ended at 9:15 a.m.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memo from William Hyland to Brent Scowcroft, August 19, 1976

  1. I have just finished a fairly lengthy conversation with Bill Clements and Admiral Holloway. Phil Habib could not join us, but he claims his views are well known to Secretary Kissinger. (As you probably know, be is deeply concerned that we not set off a

series of escalatory and dangerous incidents. ). As I see it, we will need reasonably clear guidance no later than 0900 eastern daylight time tomorrow on three issues: (1) the beginning of the B-52 exercises, (2) the great tree surgery operation, and (3) any additional military action either ill conjunction with or following on the tree operation.

  1. As for the B-52s, regardless of how we decide to proceed with the tree, we sbould start the B-52 exercise. I believe everyone here agrees with that, and an execute message will go out this evening so that the necessary lead time will put the B-52s in the air and over the target area at about the same time that Stillwell would launch his tree operation, that is, 1800 EDTtomorrow. So unless we hear otherwise this will proceed.
  2. On taking out the tree, there are strong differences in Washington. The JCS support General Stillwell’s pla.D. After listening to Holloway, I conclude they are supporting it out of loyalty to the Field Commander and in recognition that we must make a strong show of manhood in an area we were driven out of two days ago. The Chiefs, however, recognize that there are severe risks and there could he casualties. Bill Clements does not support the Stillwell plan; he feels it will lead to a major fight, that the Koreans are in effect halting an attack and that we should take out the tree by some other method. Be suggests, for example,

running a helicopter in, dropping a satchel with napalm, and igniting the tree which would make a terrific fireworks display for all to witness. The third option would be to ignore the tree, and some time at our choosing tomorrow [redacted] treating that as our tit-for-tat. A further option unanimously opposed by Clements, the Chiefs, and 1 think Habib would be to [redacted] at the same time we were chopping down the tree. As the Chiefs point out this runs a major risk of an attack by fire on the tree cboppers who would be in an exposed area. A fina1option would be to conduct the Stillwell tree chopping plan and, if it runs into major trouble, to withdraw [redacted].

  1. Obviously, General Stillwell will need substantial lead time to prepare for whatever option is decided, particularly if his general plan, which involves movement of a U.S. rifle company, a Korean battalion, etc., is to be in place and ready to go at 1800 EDT.
  2. My recommendation after considerable agonizing is as follows: (a) to proceed with the Stillwell plan; (b) to instruct Stillwell that if he receives unfriendly fire, to withdraw immediately and, once his forces are secured, [redacted]. If this scenario should develop, you, the President and Henry would then need to pause and consider very carefully the next U.S. move. Basically I share with the others the conviction that the North Koreans are prepared to play a bloody game but, in my view, probably will let the Stillwell tree-chopping go without a fire fight.
  3. In sum, we need a go or no-go decision on the Stlllwell plan or any of the alternatives.
  4. If and only if you decide to bypass the tree operation in preference for [redacted] then we would certainly need to go to the South Koreans, explain our plan and permit Stillwell sufficient time for his forces [redacted] to protect themselves, etc. But I think it is safe to assume that he could accomplish this quite easily after a decision is made tomorrow morning our time.
  5. Perhaps you can see in this in some other variance or better scenario, but this seems to be tbe situation as I see it after arguing all day with various protagonists and listening to the TV events in my old home town.
  6. Let me highlight two practical contingencies that you should keep in mind. First, if the tree surgery team arrives and finds the area occupied by a large group of North Koreans,

Stillwell will almost certainly need instructions on whether to charge in and start a fracas or to withdraw for a later time. This could occur about 1800 tomorrow or thereabouts when key people such as yourself, the President or Kissinger may not in fact be immediately available. Second, if there is an unfavorable turn of events during the tree chopping and a real fire fight develops, it will occur around 1830 tomorrow EDT, and we will need some

clear, fast guidduce on whether we retaliate immediately. [redacted].

  1. To wrap all this up, keep in mind that a number ot moves are coinciding. The F111s will be in place about 0400 our time. Task group 77.4 will get underway about 1900 our’ time tomorrow and the B-52 exercise will be occurring in between.
  2. A final addendum concerns the War Powers Act notification. If I know the bureaucracy, they will decide that notification is the better part of valor and the President will be stuck with it some time when he is in the great State of Kansas, but since the law allows 48 hours we probably can do it after you arrive in Vail, but yopu may want to advise the President that the legal eagles will probably conclude the addition of 18 F-4s and 20 F111s “substantially enlarges US Armed Forces” in the area.
  3. Will await to hear from you tomorrow morning or late tonight.” (Cold War Documentation Project)


Memcon Top Secret /Sensitive

Washington Special Aactions Group Meeting, August 25, 1975

Kissinger: I see that Stilwell’s now beginning to take a tough line even

though he was so cautious last week when I was talking of tough action. I saw his incoherent message. As I understand it, the North Korean proposal is evil, immoral, dangerous, etc. but it amounts to unilateral North Korean withdrawal of their guardposts. I want to know what’s wrong with it. Would they withdraw all their guardposts and

personnel from our side? Supposing we said there must be freedom of movement but that we can accept the proposal to remove the guardposts?

Habib: We couldn’t send our guards over to their side. There are two kinds of personnel. They are suggesting that the security or guard personnel be split apart, but other personnel could presumably still move around within the joint security area.

Kissinger: But we would get rid of the North Korean posts on our side and this would be a good thing.

Habib: There may be some problem of the effect on the armistice agreement.

Kissinger: I want to play it as a concession on the part of the North Koreans. We should construct our answer so that their proposal looks like a concession rather than a deal. Let’s first get rid of the guardposts.

Clements: Henry’s saying make it look like we kicked them out.

Kissinger: Yes. First get rid of the posts, then deal with the problem of access by our security personnel into their part of the area.

Clements: I like that idea. Our people get treated so badly. They get kicked, spit on, cursed, and we are unable to tell our people to protect themselves. Every morning they have a special meeting where they are told to take abuse and to maximize their restraint. Remember our man who got kicked in the throat not long ago?

Kissinger: Who was that? When?

Habib: A Navy commander who got badly kicked in June 1975.

Brown: We had to protect the Pentagon the same way during the riots. Our men had to take almost endless abuse without reacting.

Kissinger; You know my preference was to hit the barracks but that was overruled. Now, we have to find a way of winding the thing up. The practical consequences will be that they will have removed the guardposts.

Clements: And the guards (mistakenly believing that the North Korean barracks in the JSA area would be removed under the August 25 proposal).

Kissinger: Their barracks will stay. As I understand it their two guardposts on our side would go. We have no posts on their side so we would dismantle nothing.

Habib: I am reading from the North Korean statement: “In order to prevent a conflict between military personnel of both sides and in order that each side insure the security of each personnel in the conference area, Panmunjom, we believe it most reasonable to separate the security personnel of both sides in this area with the MDL between them so

that they may perform their guard duty moving in their respective area only. This will make both sides have their guard posts only in their respective part of the conference area. And this will prevent military personnel of both sides from both encountering each other and passing by the posts of the other side. Then there will occur no conflicts.”

Kissinger: In effect they are offering to dismantle their guardposts. We should say to them. We notice your proposal amounts to removing two guard posts on \our side; we have none on your side; we believe there should be freedom of movement in the zone .and suggest that our Secretaries meet to discuss this. First we have to get their assurances about the safety of our personnel, then we can discuss implementation of drawing a line. We should play it up as a retreat on their part. Phil, you will have to find some form of words to do this.

Habib: We will draft a message and we will also draft guidance. We will have to clear both with President Park.

Kissinger: Everytime I wanted to hit hard at the North Koreans last week. I was told that Park didn’t want to take military action. Now I gather he wants to do something.

Clements: He really was playing it very soft at the beginning of this business.

Kissinger: I think we are coming out pretty well. (Turning to Clements) But we called this meeting to discuss your plan. Go ahead and explain it.

Clements: (Using a map of North Korea and pointing to the area of Sonjin Hang Harbor) We all recognize this coast line is fairly open. Here is a fuel dump. It is easy to get into the harbor. I would’ like to interrupt to emphasize that in Defense we are treating this matter on a really strict “need to know” basis. [Redacted.]

Brown: Better make that November 1 rather than December 1.

Clements: It will be too damned cold.

Kissinger: How about November 2? It may not make the front page that day. What would they do?

Clements: [redacted].

Kissinger: George, what do you think?

Bush: I think it would be terribly risky, but I know you ‘t need our advice on that score.

Clements: [redacted].

Kissinger: What kind of defenses do the North Koreans have?

Brown: They have superb defenses, and the operation would involve a very high risk. Koreans have excellent coastal radar. It would be a very high risk operation.

Clements: I don’t completely agree with that.

Kissinger: [redacted].

Clements: [redacted].

Kissinger: What would we have achieved if the North Koreans did not know who did it?

Clements: The advantage would be the element of doubt.

Brown: They will have to know we did it if it were worth doing.

Kissinger: I’m just thinking the process through. No matter how we did it, the North Koreans would charge us with being responsible for it. Then we would be faced with questioning by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and what would we say to them?

Brown: According to Buchen, we would have to report under the War Powers Act to both the Speaker and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Kissinger: What would we say to them as to why we did it?

Clements: Our Assistant General Counsel says you would not have to report under the War Powers Act.

Kissinger: They (the Congress) will say that we have to report and if we don’t want to lie we would be forced to take a no-comment line which would in effect be admitting that we did it.

Brown: In explaining “why” we would have to say that it was a response to the murder of two Americans.

Kissinger: Our explanation would look very weak, particularly after two months (??) I respect your position. Last week I was in favor of firm action but it was overruled at Vail, not by this group. It was a tragedy. I have never seen the North Koreans so scared.

Brown: They didn’t get any comfort from the Chinese or Soviets.

Bush: Or from the third world.

Clements: I like the plan.

Brown: I think we should go ahead working out the plan.

Kissinger: Yes. Develop the plan.

Brown: If we have the plan developed, it would be ready if we wanted to use it.

Kissinger: I think this is a good way.

Clements: I like it. It doesn’t have an overt character. I have been told that there have been 200 other such operations and that none of these have surfaced.

Kissinger: It is different for us with the War Powers Act. I don’t remember any such operations. What barracks were we going to hit in North Korea?

Clements: We thought we would need 36 Max(??)

Kissinger: I am positive they would not have hit back. Unfortunately, we can’t do it now. My idea had been to cut down the tree, get out of the JSA, take out the North Korean barracks, and then stand down. Of course, there was the risk of further casualties. Could we have done it with Walleyes? How many Walleyes would it have taken? Could we hit the barracks from our side of the DMZ?

Brown: I don’t know how many bombs it would take because I haven’t studied the target, but I’m sure we could hit it from our side of the DMZ

Kissinger: (The advantage of a Walleye would be to) avoid counter-battery fire.

Clements: Why would an air strike avoid counter-battery fire?

Hyland: Because they would be masked (??).

Clements: I still think they would have reacted.

Kissinger: You told me last week of your concerns and asked me to relay them to the President, and I did. But the real problem, I think, was not your concerns but the President’s speech on Thursday night saying that there were no Americans in combat anywhere in the world. Second, the President was in Vail and I was on an airplane, not the best arrangement for conducting military operations. I don’t think the decision had anything to do with your recommendation. If we can first get the North Koreans to guarantee the safety of our men,

then we can cooperate with them on practical plans. We can say that we will have our Secretaries work out the problem of movement of personnel in the JSA while maintaining the principle of the freedom of movement. There are two things to do. First, draft a message on the JSA and second, continue to develop the military plan (for hitting North Korea) but also look at other targets. Then we will have contingency plans next time if there is a further incident.

Brown: I would like to stress once more the close hold we have put on this operation.

Clements: For example, Don (Rumsfeld) knows about the plan but Holcomb doesn’t.

Kissinger: Let’s keep our extra deployments in Korea until we get the guardposts removed and get some satisfaction from the North Koreans. Don’t remove DefCon 3 until we get positive action. Let’s try to get a MAC meeting Friday or Saturday.

Habib: We will ask tomorrow and get one Friday. I don’t think the North Koreans will stall.

Kissinger: Then, after the meeting, we can start the drawdown. After we get some satisfaction, we can start to move things down but I want to keep something there for a while.

Clements: We have in mind keeping some of the F-l11s in Korea.

Brown: We have sent Stilwell a planning message outlining our views about drawing down from our current alert but they have been told to make no changes without execute order. So far, we have not had any comments from Stilwell on our plan. The B-52’s will continue flying through Sunday. I£ we allow them to stand down for a while, we would then have the option of resuming them as a pressure tactic if the North Koreans keep giving us trouble.

Kissinger: (to Habib) Ask for a MAC meeting on Friday. Demand assurances from the North Koreans for the safety of our men and then discuss the deployment of our security personnel. The first thing is to get the guardposts removed. Then we can let the Secretaries work out movement of personnel in the JSA.

Habib: I don’t think we should make an assurance about safety a precondition.

Kissinger: I want the principle accepted first of all.

Habib: Why don’t we imply that they have accepted it or talk on the assumption that they are accepting it?

Kissinger: You can say on the assumption that the North Koreans accept our demand for assurances for the safety of our personnel, we are prepared to have them remove their guardposts on our side and to discuss the deployment of our security personnel while maintaining the principle of freedom of movement in the JSA. We will discuss the future of B-52 operations next Monday.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memcon Cabinet Meeting August 30, 1976

President: Henry, why don’t you tell us about Korea and South Africa?

Kissinger: Let me describe the DMZ and the Joint Security Area. North Korea has four guard posts on our side of the line. We have none on their side. At the meetings, our troops sometimes go into their part of the zone, but rarely, especially compared to the number of times they are in our area. (Described the tree pruning incident and sequence) They said the

incident was “regretful” — which is the farthest they had ever gone. We said that that statement was a positive sign but it was not enough — it had to insure the security of our forces. They have proposed that each side be restricted to its side of the line. The practical effect of that is they dismantle four guard posts and we do nothing. The ROK is now talking tougher — in direct proportion to the reduction in the likelihood of conflict. We must either wrap this up, be willing to use force, or they will see we are bluffing and hit us in the face again.

President: I want you all to know we were prepared to take other military actions had the need developed. It is my opinion, we should wrap it up now.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

“Memorandum for the President September 5, 1976 From: William G. Hyland

Subject: Revision of the Korean DMZ Agreement

It is virtually certain that we will sign a new agreement tomorrow morning with the North Koreans, establishing new regulations for the Joint Security Area where the August 18 incident occurred. Following the murder of two American Officers in the DMZ and the firm U.S. response, the dispute was referred, at our insistence, to the U.N. Armistice Commission (MAC). At the first meeting, the North Koreans, speaking for Kim Il-sung, expressed ‘regret’ that the incident had taken place and proposed that the Secretaries of the MAC meet to consider changes in the Agreement governing security of each side’s forces in the Joint Security Area (JSA). We agreed and meetings have taken place between the Secretaries of both sides over the past two weeks. As the talks have progressed the North Koreans have conceded several changes to our benefit and final agreement has been reached on a modification to be signed and published jointly tomorrow morning. It provides that the military of both sides will be restricted to their respective sides of the Military

Demarcation Line and will not eros s into the territory of the other; that neither side will construct barriers or any other obstacle to the vision or right of way in the territory of the other; the security of each other’s personnel will be guaranteed; and that the North Koreans will remove existing guard posts (4) on the United Nations side in the JSA. This should bring the incident to a close on very favorable terms. What started as a probable attempt by the North Koreans to enhance their position at the Non-Aligned Conference then in session in Colombo, has ended — due to the firmness of the U.S. response — in a clear setback to North Korea 1 s international image, as well as a loss of ‘face’ in the Far East. After publication of the new Agreement on Monday, which will come into effect in ten days, we will gradually return U.S. forces to their former status, going to DEFCON 4 on Monday and commencing the partial withdrawal of the two fighter squadrons (F-4s and F-Ills), the following week. We will also withdraw the Midway, after a port visit to Pusan, although we will continue with monthly B-52 training flights. In sum, our demands have been met; the Koreans expressed regret (the closest they will come to an outright apology); they have

agreed to guarantee the safety of our personnel, and have unilaterally withdrawn their four guard posts from the zone.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Memcon September 15, 1976 Participants: Brent Scowcroft, Ambassador Richard Sneider, William Gleysteen “Subject: August 18 Incident at Panmunjom; U.S.-Korean Relations

General Scowcroft concurred with .Ambassador Sneider’s view that the August 18 incident at Panmunjom had come out better than expected — and apparently to our net advantage. Sneider thought it would have a beneficial effect in the U.N. and Scowcroft noted the benefit in the United States, especially in Congress, though the relief might prove temporary. Scowcroft asked why President Park, after his cautious initial reaction to the August 18 incident, ended up advocating such belligerent measures toward North Korea. Park’s toughness seemed to grow as his fears subsided in the face of our buildup and North Korea’s soft reaction. Sneider suggested a number of possible reasons for the switch. Perhaps Park was disappointed that the North Koreans had not offered resistance to the tree-cutting operation which would have allowed his special forces to inflict some vengence. (Despite instructions to the contrary, the ROK forces for the tree-cutting may have been armed.) He explained that Park had a parochial, Israeli complex stemming in

part from the protection we have accorded to Korea for so long — Park tends to ignore or discount the costs that we have to calculate in deciding how to react to North Korean provocations. Park may also have been influenced by his Generals who were egging him on. In any event, he and many other Koreans failed to focus on the fact that we had provided full support to them and had for the first time successfully forced the North Koreans to back down. Sneider concluded that our own handling of the incident had been correct, including the carefully modulated military response. Scowcroft agreed. While emphasizing that he was not prepared to predict any pattern of North Korean behavior, Sneider suggested that we not rule out the possibility of further soft moves by Pyongyang in a kind of ‘peace offensive.’ The North Koreans knew that they had overplayed their hand and they might now shift to a new tack. Asked what concerned him about the future, Sneider said that the human rights is sue probably posed the most immediate difficulty but over the longer term he was most concerned about Park’s emotionally-charged drive to seek self- sufficiency and self- reliance through a program of nuclear weapons and missile development, Although there was no immediate need for further action on our part, he felt that within about six months weshould start confronting Park on this matter, not only because of direct problems in South Korea but also because North Korea might eventually try to go the same route. Sneider said Park was guilty of sloppy thinking in believing that he could somehow obtain greater security by these policies; yet, given U.S. attitudes, one had to admit that South Koreans had some reason for their concern· over their future security. Sneider suggested that we needed more regularity in our relations with the ROK and less

emphasis on military matters, Sneider mentioned his desire to get the U.S. company off the DMZ, granting that it was something we should not consider until after our elections. He explained that the company was excessively exposed and could be a trigger. Scowcroft said he didn’t like the idea of removing the company and felt that the exposed quality of this particular deployment was why it was valuable. Sneider agreed there was merit to this view but thought it would be better for us to pull the unit out as an initiative rather than to retreat under domestic pressure. Gleysteen asked what the South Korean response would be and Sneider replied that they were always opposed to all change but would probably take the matter in stride. Scowcroft emphasized his concern about an inclination within certain parts of the government to go ahead with small piecemeal moves which individually had little significance but cumulatively had the net effect of eroding our military presence in East Asia. He said he did not like this tendency and thought we should resist it. Gleysteen raised the matter of Defense’s desire to prepare the way for withdrawal of the nuclear-capable Sargeant missile battalion. He said Defense had a Presidential approval to withdraw the battalion in mid-September but had decided to extend it for 90 days because of the Panmunjom incident. They could not, however, extend it beyond 90 days because of budgetary considerations and the unsupportability of Sargeant units. Defense wanted to know how they should proceed in preparing the press for the withdrawal. Scowcroft said that they should postpone a decision on press handling until later in November. Gleysteen asked Sneider if he were satisfied that there could not be a repetition of the August 18 incident. He pointed out that in the WSAG meetings the JCS representative had never been able to explain why more precautions had not been taken on August 18. Sneider agreed that

this was a serious problem and that as a result of his own checking he was convinced there were inadequate command and control procedures, especially in the JSA. He had spoken to Stilwell about it but thought it best to focus his efforts on General Vessey who would be

taking over in October. Sneider said he would be talking to Vessey himself but would also appreciate Scowcroft’s mentioning it as well. Scowcroft agreed to do so.” (Cold War Documentation Project)

Telegram, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “The Czechoslovak ambassador said that on 12 February the Korean secretary of the Korean-Czechoslovak Intergovernmental Economic, Technical and Scientific Consultative Commission officially told the first secretary of the Czechoslovak Embassy that the DPRK asked Czechoslovakia to 1) deliver uranium-mining equipment to the DPRK; 2) construct a 440-megawatt nuclear power plant in the DPRK. (I heard from the Soviet ambassador that the DPRK has two important uranium quarries. In one of these two places, the uranium content of the ore is 0.26 percent, while in the other it is 0.086 percent.) Ferenc Szabó ambassador” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “The construction of the first [South Korean] nuclear power plant began in March 1971 in Kori, near Pusan, and was completed in May 1978. The nuclear reactor and the turbines were put in their final place in October 1974, and the first shipment of enriched uranium, with which the test operation was started, arrived in Kori in June 1975. However, this is just the beginning, for the South Korean government prepared a long-range plan to construct additional nuclear power plants by 2000. The first stage of this [plan] will last until 1986, by which time 6 additional [nuclear power plants] (one per year) will be built. By 1986 the amount of investment will be 156 billion won and 174 million US$. The most important investors are the American Westinghouse Electric Corp., ITT, the British GEC, various French companies, and, of course, several South Korean enterprises, such as the newly created Korea Nuclear Energy Co. […] With the nuclear power plant in Kori included, the output of electric power generation in South Korea reached 6,59 million kW. With the completion and activation of the sixth nuclear power plant, in 1986 its output will reach 20 million kW. By the end of 1986 they want to complete and operate 7 nuclear power plants, 5 hydroelectric power stations, 24 thermal power stations, and an ebb and flow power plant. 26 nuclear power plants will be built by 2000 […]. If we compare the output of electric power generation that South Korea plans to reach by the end of 1986 with that of the DPRK (since the DPRK will also complete its 7-year plan by that time), the South Korean output is about three times that of the DPRK. This may explain why from this year on, but also earlier, the DPRK strongly urged the socialist countries — for instance, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and China — to provide it with equipment for nuclear power plants or even to build a nuclear power plant. She tries to make up for her lag behind South Korea in this way, with the hidden intention that later she may become capable of producing an atomic bomb. Ferenc Szabó ambassador” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

DoS announced it would allow U.S. diplomats to “converse naturally” with “DPRK” counterparts (Victor Cha, The Impossible State (New York: HarperCollins, 2012), p. 279)

Memorandum, Hungarian Academy of Sciences to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry:

“At the recent session of the government representatives in the United Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, 1-3 March 1983), Professor Ch’oe Hak-gun, the representative of the Democratic Republic of Korea and the chairman of the National Atomic Energy Commission, told me the following information in a private conversation, asking me to forward it to the competent Hungarian authorities: Through official diplomatic channels, the DPRK will ask Hungary to receive Korean experts for training in the field of operating and managing the nuclear power plant [in Paks] as part of the cooperation between the two countries, since the DPRK will soon start building its first nuclear power plant. István Láng Hungarian government representative in the United Institute for Nuclear Research” ” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Letter, Hungarian Foreign Ministry to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences: “Dear Comrade Láng! The letter […] you sent to Comrade Deputy [Foreign] Minister Vencel Házi was forwarded to me, as I am competent to deal with this. The Foreign Ministry’s position on the subject of the letter is that the Hungarian nuclear power plant is being built on the basis of Soviet documents and with direct Soviet support, its machinery is also largely Soviet made. For some time it will be operated with the support of Soviet experts, the training of Hungarian experts has just gotten underway. That is, these objective conditions prevent us from fulfilling the request of the DPRK. In case of a possible [official] request, we may advise them to submit their request directly to the competent Soviet authorities. With comradely greetings, Ferenc Szabó head of the [4th Regional] Major Department” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Memorandum, Branch Office of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Trade in P’yongyang to the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Trade: “Comrade V.A. Marushkin, the economic counselor of the Soviet Embassy, gave me the following information about the subject [the 18th session of the Soviet-Korean Intergovernmental Economic, Technical, and Scientific Consultative Commission]: The session of the Commission was held in P’yongyang, the minutes were signed on 18 May 1983 by Deputy Premier N.V. Talizin on the Soviet side and Deputy Premier Kae Ung-t’ae on the Korean side. […] The Koreans proposed that [Soviet-DPRK] cooperation should be extended to the field of space telecommunications and space research. The Soviet side said that this was possible only if the government of the DPRK joined the relevant international agreement. […] Imre Rudi commercial counselor” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry: “The Embassy of Bulgaria in P’yongyang was instructed by its Center to inquire whether Korea might join the 1963 [nuclear test-ban] treaty […]. With regard to this issue, the ambassador was received at the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Treaties and Legal Issues, while the second highest-ranking diplomat [of the embassy] was received at the Atomic Energy Commission. The Bulgarian side referred to the fact that a substantial number of states had signed the treaty, and to the favorable political-psychological effect of the DPRK’s possible joining, which could be successfully used for propagandizing P’yongyang’s peaceful aspirations. In both places [the North Korean officials] showed understanding towards the Bulgarian arguments, but they evaded giving an unequivocal and final answer. As an explanation they mentioned that as long as the United States stored atomic weapons and weapons of mass destruction on South Korean soil, there was no objective ground for the DPRK to join the treaty. Urged by the Bulgarians, the Korean side promised to continue studying the issue. Ferenc Rátkai chargé d’affaires ad interim” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

Report on the Visit by Erich Honecker to the DPRK, 18-21 October 1986 [in the course of a far-ranging discussion with GDR leader Erich Honecker, whom Kim Il Sung referred to as his “best friend,”] “[…] As to the situation in South Korea, Comrade Kim Il Sung stated that the anti-American mood has grown even more among the population, and in religious circles. But no rapid change in relations among the powers is to be expected. The US rejected proposals made by the DPRK for reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula because it [would] lose its reason for remaining in South Korea if the initiatives were realized. Comrade Kim Il Sung affirmed that the DPRK does not i ntend to attack South Korea, nor could it. More than 1,000 US nuclear warheads are stored in South Korea, ostensibly for defense, and it would take only two of them to destroy the DPRK. The DPRK supports the proposals made by Comrade Gorbachev in Vladivostok and Reykjavik. Many problems could not be solved with South Korea. Progress in relations between the Soviet Union and the US would also help to resolve the Korea problem. […]” (Cold War Documentation Project, History of North Korean Attitudes toward Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Capability, May 17, 2005)

The Japanese government issued a statement expressing its willingness to negotiate with North Korea in regard to all pending issues between the two countries. That was immediately after South Korean President Roh Tae-woo said he was “willing to help North Korea improve relations with South Korean allies such as the US and Japan in order to form the conditions for establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.” (Lee Je-hun, “Why Has U.S. Blocked Way for N. Korea-Japan Relations?” Hankyore, July 25, 2021)

Delegations from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under former Deputy Prime Minister Kanemaru Shin and from the Japan Socialist Party (JSP) under former chairperson Tanabe Makoto headed to Pyongyang on September 24, 1990, on the invitation of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). Considering that these powerbrokers in Japan’s two biggest parties had brought a personal letter from the Japanese prime minister, it only stood to reason that their visit would have a positive result. Two days later, on September 26, Kanemaru and Tanabe sat down for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Il-sung. The Japanese delivered the letter from Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu in the meeting and said they thought it was necessary to express contrition and pay compensation for Japan’s past actions, and Kim responded by proposing the beginning of negotiations for normalizing diplomatic relations. The three parties (that is, the LDP, the JSP, and the WPK) released a joint statement about North Korea-Japan relations two days later, on September 28. In this historic document, which consisted of eight sections, the parties “recognized that diplomatic relations must be established as soon as possible” (Section 2) and “agreed to strongly recommend that intergovernmental negotiations begin in November 1990” (Section 7). Furthermore, the parties “recognized [that Japan] must officially apologize and provide adequate compensation to the DPRK [North Korea] because of the harm done to the North Korean people during the 45 years since World War II,” as well as during the 36 years of Japan’s colonial rule over Korea. It was surprising enough that the two sides had agreed to initiate negotiations aimed at normalizing relations. But what’s even more remarkable — indeed, almost shocking — is that Japan recognized the need to pay compensation for the 45 years after the war. That indicates how determined Japan was to normalize relations with North Korea. North Korea and Japan moved quickly to actualize the agreements they’d reached in their three-party joint statement. Following three preliminary meetings in Beijing, they held the first official round of governmental dialogue to normalize diplomatic relations in Pyongyang on January 30-31, 1991. The announcement of the three-party joint statement, which could have been regarded as a blueprint for the future of North Korea-Japan relations, came two days before South Korea and Russia announced their agreement to normalize relations at the UN headquarters in New York on September 30, 1990. The joint statement was a strategic move by North Korea and Japan to counteract the impact of South Korea and Russia’s rapprochement. As the U.S. sought to maintain its position as the world’s only hegemonic power in the post-Cold War era, it was not pleased to see Japan, its most important Asian ally, making overtures to North Korea. Indeed, the U.S. efforts to thwart Japan became overt soon after the three-party statement was released. A report by Yomiuri Shimbun on October. .5, 1990, indicated the pressure that the U.S. was placing on Japan “[to] convince the North to accept nuclear inspectors, to refuse to pay compensation for the 45 years since World War II, to receive a guarantee that the North would not use the compensation for 36 years of colonial rule to strengthen its military, and to ask the North to make an effort to keep inter-Korean dialogue from losing ground.” As usual, Japan didn’t stand up to the U.S. When it joined the first round of talks in Pyongyang, Japan presented the U.S.’ four demands to Pyongyang as “our basic guidelines for participating in the talks.” North Korea didn’t object, contrary to its typical practice. Instead, it pushed hard to get results. When Japan asked the North to allow 20 Japanese women married to North Koreans to visit home and check on the welfare of 12 other women, the North only said it would “try to make that a reality within the scope of what’s possible.” But as Japan caved to American pressure, its attitude toward the talks with North Korea gradually became more intransigent. In the third round of talks (May 20-22, 1991, in Beijing), Japan named three prerequisites for normalizing diplomatic relations: North Korea had to agree to nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency through a safeguard agreement; it had to agree to simultaneous admission to the UN with South Korea; and it had to make meaningful progress in dialogue with South Korea. North Korea would have managed the UN admission and inter-Korean dialogue issues on its own — but the nuclear issue was a problem. A report on pages 3 and 4 of Rodong Sinmun dated May 21, 1991, observed that the “only way to cooperate on resolving this issue is to bring about negotiations between North Korea and the U.S.” According to that report, the North “once again asked Japan to make a recommendation to the U.S. government so that negotiations occur between the DPRK and the US,” but Japan refused. To make matters worse, the third round of talks saw Tokyo pressing Pyongyang to investigate the “Ri Eun-hye issue.” This was based on the claims of Kim Hyon-hui, the culprit arrested for the 1987 bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, who said a Japanese abductee named “Ri Eun-hye” had been responsible for teaching her Japanese. The North called this a “scheme,” but at a fourth round of talks held from August 30 to September 2, 1991, in Beijing, it reached an agreement with Japan to hold “informal contact at the vice foreign minister level outside of and separate from the main talks.” It was evidence of how intent the North was on normalizing relations. In the end, however, the negotiations toward establishing diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Tokyo ran aground on the nuclear issue — and the “Ri Eun-hye” issue. The eighth and final round of talks took place in Beijing on November 6, 1992, but failed to yield any results. Rodong Sinmun reported that the first two rounds of talks had taken place amid a “mood of reconciliation and friendliness” (the first) and a “friendly atmosphere” (the second). In contrast, it did not use the words “reconciliation” or “friendly” in its reports on the third through eighth rounds. This meant the strategy adopted by then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker had succeeded. In a confidential cable sent to then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney on November 18, 1991, Baker wrote, “The new [Kiichi] Miyazawa government has moved Tokyo’s position [on the nuclear issue] close to our own: normalization and economic aid require not signing and implementing the IAEA full-scope safeguards agreement, but also foregoing [sic] a reprocessing capability. Some Japanese bureaucrats may seek to nibble away at this position, but we should hold them to it.” Washington had used the nuclear issue — i.e., the first North Korean nuclear crisis — to block Japan’s overtures to the North. (Lee Je-hun, “Why Has U.S. Blocked Way for N. Korea-Japan Relations?” Hankyore, July 25, 2021)

Kim Il-sung: “Disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons mass destruction is the most pressing task in ensuring peace. The large stockpile of nuclear weapons now on Earth is a menace to the survival of mankind itself. It is intolerable that the valuable results of science and technology created by mankind and social wealth be used for the production of the means of aggression and war that threatens man’s survival, not for the well-being and development of humanity. The testing and production of nuclear weapons must be banned, the number of nuclear weapons must be reduced and, then, nuclear weapons must be completely abolished. The Korean people, who are constantly under the threat of nuclear weapons, have proposed the abolition of nuclear weapons as a vital matter relating to the destiny of the nation. We strongly assert that the Korean peninsula should be made a nuclear-free peace zone. We strongly support the peace movement of the peoples of many countries for disarmament and for the creation of nuclear-free peace zones.” (Kim Il-sung, “For a Free and Peaceful New World, opening address to Inter-Parliamentary Conference, Pyongyang, April 29, 1991)

Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression and Exchanges And Cooperation between the South and the North

To enter into force as of February 19, 1992

The South and the North,

In keeping with the yearning of the entire Korean people for the peaceful unification of the divided land;

Reaffirming the three principles of unification set forth in the July 4 {1972} South-North Joint Communiqué;

Determined to remove the state of political and military confrontation and achieve national reconciliation;

Also determined to avoid armed aggression and hostilities, reduce tension and ensure peace;

Expressing the desire to realize multi-faceted exchanges and cooperation to advance common national interests and prosperity;

Recognizing that their relations, not being a relationship between states, constitute a special interim relationship stemming from the process towards unification;

Pledging to exert joint efforts to achieve peaceful unification;

Hereby have agreed as follows:


Article 1

The South and the North shall recognize and respect each other’s system.

Article 2

The two sides shall not interfere in each other’s internal affairs.

Article 3

The two sides shall not slander or vilify each other.

Article 4

The two sides shall not attempt any actions of sabotage or overthrow against each other.

Article 5

The two sides shall endeavor together to transform the present state of armistice into a solid state of peace between the South and the North and shall abide by the present Military Armistice Agreement {July 27, 1953} until such a state of peace has been realized.

Article 6

The two sides shall cease to compete or confront each other and shall cooperate and endeavor together to promote national prestige and interests in the international arena.

Article 7

To ensure close consultations and liaison between the two sides, South-North Liaison Officers shall be established at Panmunjom within three (3) months after the coming into force of this Agreement.

Article 8

A South-North Political Committee shall be established within the framework of the South-North High-Level Talks within (1) month of the coming into force of this Agreement with a view to discussing concrete measures to ensure the implementation and observance of the accords on South-North reconciliation.


Article 9

The two sides shall not use force against each other and shall not undertake armed aggression against each other.

Article 10

Differences of views and disputes arising between the two sides shall be resolved peacefully through dialogue and negotiation.

Article 11

The South-North demarcation line and areas for non-aggression shall be identical with the Military Demarcation Line specified in the Military Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953 and the areas that have been under the jurisdiction of each side until the present time.

Article 12

To implement and guarantee non-aggression, the two sides shall set up a South-North Joint Military Commission within three (3) months of the coming into force of this Agreement. In the said Commission, the two sides shall discuss and carry out steps to build military confidence and control of major movements of military units and major military exercises, the peaceful utilization of the Demilitarized Zone, exchanges of military personnel and information, phased reductions in armaments including the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and attack capabilities, and verifications thereof.

Article 13

A telephone hotline shall be installed between the military authorities of the two sides to prevent accidental armed clashes and their escalation.

Article 14

A South-North Military Committee shall be established within the framework of the South-North High-Level Talks within one (1) month of the coming into force of this agreement in order to discuss concrete measures to ensure the implementation and observance of the accords on non-aggression and to remove

military confrontation.


Article 15

To promote an integrated and balanced development of the national economy and the welfare of the entire people, the two sides shall engage in economic exchanges and cooperation, including the joint development of resources, the trade of goods as domestic commerce and joint ventures.

Article 16

The two sides shall carry out exchanges and cooperation in various fields such as science and technology, education, literature and the arts, health, sports, environment, and publishing and journalism including newspapers, radio and television broadcasts and publications.

Article 17

The two sides shall promote free intra-Korea travel and contacts for the residents of their respective areas.

Article 18

The two sides shall permit free correspondence, meetings and visits between dispersed family members and other relatives and shall promote the voluntary reunion of divided families and shall take measures to resolve other humanitarian issues.

Article 19

The two sides shall reconnect railroads and roads that have been cut off and shall open South-North sea and air transport routes.

Article 20

The two sides shall establish and link facilities needed for South-North postal and telecommunications services and shall guarantee the confidentiality of intra-Korean mail and telecommunications.

Article 21

The two sides shall cooperate in the economic, cultural and various other fields in the international arena and carry out jointly undertakings abroad.

Article 22

To implement accords on exchanges and cooperation in the economic, cultural and various other fields, the two sides shall establish joint commissions for specific sectors, including a Joint South-North Economic Exchanges and Cooperation Commission, within three (3) months of the coming into force of this


Article 23

A South-North Exchanges and Cooperation Committee shall be established within the framework of the South-North High-Level Talks within one (1) month of the coming into force of this Agreement with a view to discussing concrete measures to ensure the implementation and observance of the accords on

South-North exchanges and cooperation.


Article 24

This Agreement may be amended or supplemented by concurrence between the two sides.

Article 25

This Agreement shall enter into force as of the day the two sides exchange appropriate instruments following the completion of their respective procedures for bringing it into effect.

Signed on December 13, 1991

Chung Won-shik Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea

Chief delegate of the South delegation to the South-North High-Level Talks Yon Hyong-muk

Premier of the Administration Council of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Head of the North delegation to the South-North High-Level Talks

Japan-DPRK normalization talks break down in 8th round

I.A.E.A. requests special inspection of nuclear waste sites. Mohamed El Baradei: “The discovery of discrepancies and plutonium concealment in North Korea was a success for the I.A.E.A.’s verification program. What is less clear, in hindsight, is whether the Agency’s request for a special inspection in 1993 was the right approach. We were fairly certain that North Korea would reject the request, and that a confrontation would be the most likely result. From past experience, we could have anticipated that the Security Council, charged under the I.A. E.A. statute with ensuring compliance, would not take strong action. Thus, the I.AS.E.A. and the international community might have done better to continue negotiations with North Korea and push for incremental progress.” .” (Mohamed El Baradei, The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times (New York: Henry Holt, 2011), p. 46)

First Nodong missile test, flies 300 miles (New York Times, June 13, 1993)

Clinton said in an interview today on NBC television: “We would overwhelmingly retaliate if [the North Koreans] were to ever use, to develop and use nuclear weapons. It would mean the end of their country as they know it.” He added, “North Korea is just one of many renegade nations that would like to have nuclear weapons and be unaccountable for them, and we can’t let it happen.” (Daniel Williams, “U.S. Warns North Korea on Nuclear Weapons,” Washington Post, July 11, 1993) Asked what “sort of deterrence” he thought U.S. nuclear weapons played in preventing WMD from being used by rogue states, STRATCOM commander General Eugene Habiger told Congress in 1997: “In my view, sir, it plays a very large role. . . .[The threat of U.S. nuclear use] was passed to the North Koreans back in 1995 [1993], when the North Koreans were not coming off their reactor approach they were taking.” Habiger subsequently privately explained that the message passed on to North Korea had been explicit. (Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, “U.S. Nuclear Threats: Then and Now,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/October 2006, p. 70) Admiral Henry Chile told the STRATCOM historian that Clinton’s warning to North Korea “was more blunt than what President Bush had put in his letter” to Saddam Hussein in 1991. Clinton “just said that if they used a nuclear weapon on Seoul, we’d destroy their country. He didn’t say how, but I think that that sent a very powerful message. [Redacted]We could turn a considerable portion of it [into rubble], but I don’t think we would ever want to, and I would hope that would be sufficient. Clearly there are some huge ramifications to doing something of that nature in that part of the world.” (US Strategic Command, Office of the Command Historian, History of the United States Strategic Command, 1 January 1995 -14 February 1996, May 1, 1997, pp. 57-58)

PM Benazir Bhutto in Pyongyang, gets designs for Rodong

Carter-Kim Il-sung deal. Clinton invw June 30, 1994: Jimmy Carter had initiated his own recent rip with a call to Al Gore, and Clinton had approved the volunteer mission to break through North Korea’s extreme isolation. He said the administration was receiving other private signals — oddly from evangelist Billy Graham — that North Korea was shriveling away like “another East Germany.” …The only hitch was that Carter announced the terms to CNN before they became official, adding gratuitously that he had never agreed with sanctions in the first place. News stories had the White House seething, but Clinton made light of the spat. He said the deal was since ratified by an exchange of letters, and he did not believe Carter would criticize official policy “if the game were still in doubt.” (Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), p. 162)

Clinton met with Kim Yongsam at the APEC summit in Manila. Invw on December 19, 1996, Clinton called KYS of South Korea “very excitable” in private talks about harassments from North Korea, nuclear negotiations, and political tensions over the fate of his indicted predecessors. (Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), p. 402)

Rodong Sinmun “urges the United States to ponder it over as there are some moves in the U.S. that mar the spirit of the DPRK-U.S. framework agreement. An analyst of the paper says: Recently, South Korean mass media said the Carnegie Foundation had worked out a report to the effect that the U.S. would continue placing Japan and South Korea under its “nuclear umbrella,” which means the use of U.S. nuclear weapons in case of “conventional attack” on South Korea. The Voice of America also broadcast this news. … It is very irresponsible for the U.S. to talk about the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula while the nuclear activity is frozen in the DPRK. This is, in fact, as good as urging the DPRK to go its own way. If the U.S. does not intend to keep its commitment not to use nuclear weapons against the DPRK, we have no idea of keeping up our nuclear freeze. This is an issue that belongs to the exercise of our sovereignty. If the implementation of the framework agreement and the moves for better ties between the DPRK and the U.S. are suspended due to the U.S. nuclear policy toward the DPRK, it will not be good for the U.S., either.” (KCNA, “Paper Urges U.S. to Ponder It Over,” February 7, 1997)

“The Four Party Talks are intended to promote stability on the Korean peninsula during a time of rapid change in the relative prosperity and power of the two sides and uncertainties of the North’s decline. … The steady decline in the North’s economy (in particular, its inability to feed its people) and the ascendance of the South raise the possibility for the first time that the DPRK might collapse, with either a dangerous military spasm or a flood of starving refugees, or move toward peaceful unification. [Redacted phrase] we cannot forecast internal events in the North with any level of confidence, any more than we can bring about the DPRK’s collapse or ensure the status quo. Our approach to the Four Party talks must therefore be flexible enough to encompass a wide range of options, including a collapse of the North, and extended period of ‘muddling through,’ or even — although this seems less likely — the adoption of meaningful reforms which would give the DPRK regime renewed vitality. The talks must help us manage the dynamic events underway, contributing to our ultimate aim of peaceful change at each point along the way.” (U.S., Secret, The Four Party Talks on Korea: Background Paper, July 1997)

At N-S vice ministerial meeting with DPRK Cabinet Councilor Chun Gum-cheol in Beijing, Vice Minister of Unification Chung Se-hyon proposed “principle of reciprocity” and linked 200,000 tons of fertilizer to family reunions, but the North insisted on fertilizer first. “However, a lesson we learned from our failed talks was to give first and take later. …This would protect the North Koreans’ pride and help us pursue our goal” (Lim Dong-won, Peacemaker: Twenty Years of Inter-Korean Relations and the North Korean Nuclear Issue (Stanford: Shorenstein Center, 2012), pp. 178-79)

U.S. simulated 24 F-15E fighter-bombers dropping 30 mock nuclear weapons on North Korea at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina, according to declassified documents obtained by Kyodo. (Yonhap, “U.S. Conducted Simulated Nuclear Strike on N.K.: Report,” November 7, 2004)

UnifMin Lim Dong-won announces the results of three working-level N-S meetings held in Beijing from May 12: “The South will provide 200,000 tons of fertilizer to the North on humanitarian grounds. On June 21, we will meet with the North Koreans at a vice minister-level to primarily discuss the issue of separated families.” (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 225)

Kim Sa-nae, wife of Kang Thae-yun, DPRK economic counselor in Islamabad and an employee of Changgwang Simyong Corporation, leading missile exporter, is shot to death by North Koreans near A.Q. Khan’s home in 1998, ten days after Pakistan nuclear test, was part of 20-member delegation of engineers and scientists invited to witness the test say former staff members at Khan’s lab. “She was in fact killed by the North Koreans on the grounds that she was in touch with certain Western diplomats,” says an Indian official. The cargo plane carrying her body home on was owned by the Pakistani air force and had P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, technical data and uranium [hexafluoride] on board. (Paul Watson and Mubashir Zaidi, “Death of N. Korean Woman Offers Clues to Pakistani Nuclear Deals,” Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2004)


In exchange of fire in the West Sea near Yeonpyeong Island, the South navy sank a North torpedo boat. Starting on June 4, North Korean crab-fishing boats under the protection of navy patrol boats came south of the NLL. When they c0ntinued to defy warnings, the NSSC accepted DefMin Cho Seong-tae’s recommendation “to push the North Korean vessels back to the north of the NLL.” President Kim issue instructions: “Hold the NLL through all means. But do not fire first. If the North Kopreans open fire first, absolutely crush them. At the same time, prevent escalation under all circumstances.” At 9:30 this morning, the South commenced “Operation Push Back” and a North Korean torpedo boat fired on a South patrol boat. In the ensuing 14-minute exchange, the North suffered more than 30 casualties. (Lim, Peacemaker, pp. 224-27)

U.S. announces intention to remove some sanctions under Trading with the Enemy Act

At vice ministerial meeting in Beijing, the North refused to discuss the separated families issue but instead demanded an apology for what it called “a premeditated, deliberate armed provocation committed by the South.” At general officers talks in Panmunjom it also called for abrogation of the NLL and observance of a 12-nautical mile territorial sea in accordance the Law of the Sea Convention. (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 230)


“The DIA was adamant,” says NSA Sandy Berger. “They said they could see the roads that were characteristic of this kind of facility; they could actually see …. That this hole was ideally suited for a nuclear reactor.” Others, including the CIA, were more skeptical. “I looked at that evidence,” said one senior administration official, “and I could easily see innocent explanations for virtually everything they pointed to. And others in the intel community looked at exactly the same stuff and heard the DIA’s arguments about it, and said essentially, this is really flimsy stuff.” “DIA hyped their findings unbelievably,” noted a former senior official. “They misstated their level of certainty, and the further up the food chain they went, the more they dropped the caveats, and ended up putting us in a terrible position.” [Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes headed DIA.] Visits to the site showed, said Gary Samore, NSC senior director for nonproliferation, “that Kumchangri was not configured in a way that could be used either for plutonium or for enrichment.” He added, “Sandy Berger depended pretty heavily on my judgment, and I feel that my recommendation to him that it was a serious issue led the administration to deal with it more seriously than it ever turns out is justified. I would say that was the biggest mistake I made in my career as a civil servant.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), pp. 13-14)


DPRK: “In response to the U.S. demand, the DPRK will have high-level talks with the U.S. for the settlement of pending issues as an immediate task. It will not launch a missile while the talks are under way with a view toward creating an atmosphere more favorable for the talks.” (Jack Pritchard, “North Korea’s Taepodong 2 and the End of the Missile Moratorium,” Korea Insight, 8, no. 7 (July 2006) KEI)


PM Hosokawa writes that “it is in the interest of the United States, so long as it does not wish to see Japan withdraw from the NPT and develop its own nuclear deterrent, to maintain its alliance with Japan and continue to provide a nuclear umbrella.” (Hosokawa Morohiro, “Are U.S. Troops in Japan Needed? Reforming the Alliance,” Foreign Affairs, 77, No. 4 (July-August 1998), p. 5)

Taepodong-1 test.

DPRK FoMin spokesman: “The satellite launch is one more fruit of the independent national economy, a product of 100 percent local technology and local effort. This gives pride and delight to the Korean nation and their friends. Some people around the DPRK, however, are making a fuss, ignorant of this valuable success of science and technology which will add to the common treasurehouse of humanity. They suspected it to be a ballistic missile launching test, expressed some “apprehensions” and described it as “serious event.” Their rash behavior reminds one of the saying “once bitten, twice shy.” Some people in the United States talk as if the ballistic missile launched by the DPRK had made it difficult for them to fulfill their obligation under the DPRK-U.S. framework agreement. They try to link this matter with food assistance which they have described as a purely humanitarian issue. What is more intolerable is Japan’s behavior. Although they have no information on what happened, the Japanese authorities, blindly accepting rumors about the ballistic missile launching test in the DPRK, are threatening that they will bring this issue to the United Nations Security Council and that they will take “countermeasures.” Before announcing that they would “put off” negotiations for normalization of diplomatic relations, Japan must not forget that it is our right, not any bargaining thing, to demand apologies and compensation for its past crimes and that we are willing to exercise our right. It is an internationally recognized right of a sovereign state to peacefully use the space. It is also a strong trend of modern science and technology to develop, launch and use an artificial satellite in line with this. We have never criticized the United States and Japan for having launched artificial satellites. We are well aware that these satellites have been used for espionage on our country. For our country to have an artificial satellite, therefore, is an only too natural exercise of sovereignty= whether this capacity will be used for a military purpose or not, entirely depends on the attitude of forces hostile towards us. The United States must ponder over its military pressure upon and preemptive attack on the DPRK. Japan must be aware that an attempt to enact a law for involvement in belligerent to relations between the DPRK and the U.S. is tantamount to a declaration of war against the DPRK. The artificial satellite recently launched just before the historic first session of the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK manifests the iron will and indomitable spirit of our party, army and people who are working hard for the greater prosperity of the country, pulling through difficulties. Those two countries must be aware of this. Particularly, the forces hostile towards the DPRK must be mindful that their attempt to lead the DPRK to a change will bring them nothing but destruction.” (KCNA, “Foreign Ministry Spokesman on Successful Launch of Artificial Satellite,” September 4, 1998)

LtGen Xiong Guangkai, dep chief of staff of Chinese PLA, visits Pyongyang. NSA report that China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology working closely with North Korea, but link to Taepo-dong not confirmed. (Shirley A. Kan, China and Proliferation of WMD and Missiles, Congressional Research Service Report, November 15, 2006, p. 19)

LtGen Raymond Ayres, USMC, on non-attribution basis: U.S. will preempt once it has “unambiguous signs that North Korea is preparing to attack.” Its aim would be to “abolish North Korea as a state … and ‘reorganize it” under South Korean control. “We’ll kill ‘em all.” (Richard Halloran, “New Warplan Calls for Invasion of North Korea,” November 14, 1998)

Institute of National Strategic Studies, “A Comprehensive Approach to North Korea”

NSA report China sold North Korea specialty steel for use in missile program. (Shirley A. Kan, China and Proliferation of WMD and Missiles, Congressional Research Service Report, November 15, 2006, p. 19)

DOE intel report that Yushin Trading Company had recently ordered two frequency converters capable of regulating electricity current to gas centrifuges from Japan, a clear sign that the North “is in the early stages of a uranium enrichment capability.” It adds, “On the basis of Pakistan’s progress with a similar technique, we estimate that the DPRK is at least six years from the production of HEU, even if it has a viable centrifuge design.” (Bill Gertz, “North Korea Site Yields Only a System of Empty Tunnels, Washington Times, May 28, 1999, p. A-1; Bill Gertz, “Pyongyang Working to Make Fuel for Nukes,” Washington Times, March 11, 1999, p. A-1)

At TCOG, US proposes building six standard power plants instead of two LWRs. ROK disagreed. (Lee Ha-won, “U.S. Proposes Alternative Power Plants for N.K.,” Chosun Ilbo, January 5, 2001)

Perry in Pyongyang with Wendy Sherman, special adviser to the president and secstate; Kenneth Lieberthal, NSC director for Asian affairs; Evans Revere, Korea desk director at DoS. Liberthal quotes Gen. Ri Chan-bok’s response to Perry: “I know a lot about your background. I know where you’re from” — and he named the city where Perry grew up. “And then he proceeded to indicate … if the U.S. were to use military force against North Korea, … ‘we will hit your town with nuclear weapons.’” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), p. 12)


KPA Mission in Panmunjom spokesman’s statement: “The situation in Korea, where there is neither a war nor peace, is growing tenser due to the ceaseless military provocations of the South Korean authorities along the extension line of the demarcation line in the waters off the west coast of Korea. From June 4 onward, the South Korean authorities have infiltrated scores of naval warships deep into the territorial waters southwest of the Kangryong peninsula in south hwanghae province and began threatening the north side’s peaceful fishing boats that were engaged in routine fishing. Such provocations took place even today, following those on June 5-6. The KPA naval patrol ships that stalwartly stand guard over inviolable territorial waters of our country promptly took a self-defence measure and entered into routine patrol mission. But, the South Korean authorities infiltrated various types of warships into the north side’s territorial waters, six or seven warships on a daily average and 14 to 20 at maximum, unhesitatingly committing provocations by hindering routine patrol of the KPA naval vessels. In the course of that, naval vessels of both sides collided three times on June 9 and 11. From 11:15 on June 9, the South Korean “naval” clippers intentionally ran into our patrol boats on a routine duty after intruding deep into the north side’s territorial waters and fled after suffering a big setback. The situation has reached an extremely grave phase. Even at this moment, scores of South Korean warships are sailing around along the extension line of the military demarcation line at the West Sea of Korea and the groups of warships in the Taeyonphyong and Soyonphyong islets are on the alert for reinforcement. Their planes are also ready for emergency action. Meanwhile, the “Minister of National Defense” of South Korea instructed the “army, navy and air force” units to be on the alert. The “headquarters of the joint chiefs of staff” is directly commanding the military provocations on the spot. The emergency meeting of the “Ministry of National Defense” reportedly discussed tough measures to be taken to counter our self-defensive measure. All these moves illustrate that the South Korean authorities’ military actions have entered a reckless phase of war provocation. We are watching the military provocations as a grave war gamble that cannot be overlooked because they took place at a time when the overall contents of the “operation plan 5027” for invasion of the north were revised and supplemented for a preemptive attack on the North Korea and when the Yugoslav crisis was coming to an end. We bitterly denounce the South Korean authorities’ military provocations, patronized by the U.S. conservative hard-liners, as a flagrant violation of the Korean armistice agreement and as a deliberate and premeditated move to drive the situation of the Korean peninsula to a touch-and-go situation of military confrontation. As regards the prevailing situation, the Panmunjom mission of the Korean People’s Army states as follows, on authorization: 1) The South Korean authorities must take a measure of immediately withdrawing all warships that intruded into the north side’s territorial waters. It is an unshakable will of the Korean revolutionary armed forces never to pardon those who violate even 0.001 mm of the sky, the land and the sea of the fatherland, in defence of their sovereignty. The South Korean authorities must know that if they continue reckless provocations despite our repeated warnings, they will meet with our strong self-defensive strikes. There is a limit to patience. We are always fully prepared to settle account with the South Korean authorities. They must realize that we do not make empty words. 2) The South Korean authorities must make an apology for the intrusions into our inviolable territorial waters and refrain from misleading public opinion. Now the South Korean authorities talk as if our naval warships intruded into their waters, though they made naval provocations. At the same time, they try to shift the blame for the incident on to the north, calling for resumption of the Military Armistice Commission, the opening of the Panmunjom general officer-level talks and the like, manipulated by their master. The South Korean authorities must immediately give up the foolish act that reminds one of a thief crying “stop thief.” 3) The South Korean authorities must be held wholly responsible for all consequences of the naval provocations. The naval provocations have rendered the situation in Korea extremely dangerous. We are fully prepared to cope with any danger and will not miss any opportunity. If the naval provocations against the north continue, the South Korean authorities will be held wholly responsible for all ensuing consequences. Our people and revolutionary armed forces will sharply watch every move of the South Korean authorities.” (KCNA, “Statement of Spokesman for KPA Mission in Panmunjom, June 11, 1999)


U.S. intel reportedly found PRC entities transferred accelerometers, gyroscopes and precision grinding machinery to North Korea. (Washington Times, April 15, 1999) (Shirley A. Kan, China and Proliferation of WMD and Missiles, Congressional Research Service Report, November 15, 2006, p. 19)

Kim Yong-sun, KWP secretary, in interview with CNN’s Chinoy: “If a visitor brings us cake, we will also give cake. But if they bring a sword, we will respond with a sword.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), p. 15)

North pledges moratorium of test launches of medium- and long-range missiles in meeting with Chuck Kartman in Berlin.

DCI publicly confirms PRC supplies to North Korea. (Shirley A. Kan, China and Proliferation of WMD and Missiles, Congressional Research Service Report, November 15, 2006, p. 19)

Musharraf memoir: Abdul Qadeer Khan “transferred nearly two dozen P-1 and P-2 centrifuges to North Korea. He also provided North Korea with a flow meter, some special oils for centrifuges, and coaching on centrifuge technology, including visits to top-secret centrifuge plants.” (Pervez Musharraf, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir, (New York: Free Press, September 2006), p. 296) A.Q. Khan interview: “It was a North Korean plane, and the army had complete knowledge about it and the equipment.” Musharaff was chief of staff. “It must have gone with his consent.” Khan said, “No flight, no equipment could go outside without the clearance from the ISI and SPD and they used to be at the airport, not me,” referring to the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency and the Strategic Planning Division that manages Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal (Associated Press, “Scientist: Pakistan Knew of N. Korea Nuke Deal,” July 4, 2008) British intelligence tells ROK of Pakistan help for North’s enrichment. (Chun 12/6/07)

KPA general staff a special communique “on proclamation of the Military Demarcation Line at the West Sea of Korea: The unstable tense military situation persists on the Korean peninsula in which a war may break out any moment. This situation has been getting more grave since the June 15 exchange of fire at the West Sea of Korea. Right after the west sea armed conflict we took initiatives to call six rounds of DPRK-U.S. general officer-level meetings, in order to prevent recurrence of conflicts in the waters at issue and ease the tense situation, and made every possible effort to this end. Especially, we advanced a realistic proposal to define the Military Demarcation Line at the west sea through dialogues and contacts between the two responsible parties, grasping the stark situation in which the military conflicts at the west sea are mainly ascribable to the different assertions of the two warring sides as to the maritime demarcation line. Meanwhile, we proposed to the U.S. forces side the detailed procedures such as date and place of working-level contact, number of participants and form of the contact, and have made our sincere efforts to realize it.We also expressed our generous intention to allow the participation of the South Korean puppets in the contact, in consideration of their desire to take part in the discussion of the matter, though they are not a signatory to the Armistice Agreement. If the U.S. forces side is interested in the relaxation of the military tension on the Korean peninsula even the least, it should respond to our proposal and our proposal on detailed procedures on the working-level contact. The U.S. forces side, however, shunned the discussion of the issue in contravention of the AA and turned down our proposal on the working-level contact, leaving it to the defunct north-south joint military commission. It has craftily worked to maintain the “Northern Limit Line” unilaterally fixed by it in our territorial waters. As known to the world, the “Northern Limit Line” is an illegal line drawn by the U.S. forces side unilaterally in our territorial waters in defiance of the Korean Armistice Agreement and the international law. Its insistence on keeping the “Northern Limit Line” is as brigandish as drawing a line in other’s courtyard by stealth and arguing that it is its own.
Accordingly, the U.S. forces side’s insistence on keeping the “Northern Limit Line” constitutes a grave encroachment upon the sovereignty of our republic. The behavior of the U.S. forces side to avoid the discussion of the matter shows that it gave up by itself its authority and duty under the Korean Armistice Agreement. Under situation where the U.S. forces side is insisting on keeping the illegal and brigandish “Northern Limit Line,” avoiding the discussion of the issue, although we intend to settle the issue of Military Demarcation Line at the west sea through negotiations, the KPA general staff solemnly declares in defence of inviolable waters under our military control as follows: 1. The Military Demarcation Line at the West Sea of Korea will be an extension line of the provincial boundary line (A-B) between Hwanghae-do and Kyonggi-do stipulated in the Armistice Agreement. The line links the point (37 degrees 18 minutes 30 seconds N, 125 degrees 31 minutes 00 second E) equidistant from “A” point and Tongsan point, the tip of Kangryong peninsula under the DPRK control, and from Kul-op Island under the U.S. military control = the point (37 degrees 1 minute 12 seconds N, 124 degrees 55 minutes 00 second E) equidistant from Ong Island under the DPRK control and from Sogyokryolbi Island and Sohyop Island under the U.S. military control = the point southeast of it (36 degrees 50 minutes 45 seconds N, 124 degrees 32 minutes 30 seconds E)= and the maritime demarcation line between the DPRK and China. The waters north of the line will be waters under the KPA side’s military control. 2. We declare that the brigandish “Northern Limit Line” unilaterally defined by the U.S. forces side inside our territorial waters of the West Sea of Korea is invalid. 3. Our self-defensive right to the Military Demarcation Line at the West Sea of Korea will be exercised by various means and methods.” (KCNA, “Special Communique of KPA General Staff,” September 2, 1999)

NIE: “Most analysts believe that North Korea probably will test a Taepodong-2 this year, unless delayed for political reasons. … North Korea could convert its Taepo Dong-I space launch vehicle (SLV) into an ICBM that could deliver a light payload (sufficient for a biological or chemical weapon) to the United States, albeit with inaccuracies that would make hitting large urban targets improbable. North Korea is more likely to weaponize the larger Taepo Dong-II as an ICBM that could deliver a several-hundred kilogram payload (sufficient for early generation nuclear weapons) to the United States. Most analysts believe it could be tested at any time, probably initially as an SLV, unless it is delayed for political reasons.” (National Intelligence Council, Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States through 2015, U.S. Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, September 16, 1999)

Perry report made public. “In a step-by-step and reciprocal fashion,” Washington will “move to reduce pressures on the D.P.R.K. that it perceives as threatening.” As for a “Plan B,” he speaks only of “a second path” of “firm but measured steps” by the United States and its allies “to assure their security and contain the threat.” Perry’s proposed response to North Korean provocations: “In this regard, it is with mixed feelings that we recognize certain provocative behavior of the D.P.R.K. may force the U.S. to reevaluate current aid levels.” The report refers to “serious concerns about continuing nuclear-weapons work in the D.P.R.K.”

Classified report says China’s Changda Corp. Sought to buy Russian gyroscopes of the same kind China supplied to the North Korean missile program earlier. (Washington Times, November 19, 1999) (Shirley A. Kan, China and Proliferation of WMD and Missiles, Congressional Research Service Report, November 15, 2006, p. 19)

Chuck Kartman meets with North Koreans in Berlin and hands over draft text of joint communiqué to be issued during high-level North Korean visit to Washington

South Korea’s Minister of Culture Park Ji-won met with Hyundai chairman Lee Ik-chi and Yoshida Takeshi, who carried a message of their intent to seek an inter-Korean summit. Yoshida was a go-between for Kanemaru. (Lim Dong-won, Peacemaker: Twenty Years of Inter-Korean Relations and the North Korean Nuclear Issue (Stanford: Shorenstein Center, 2012), pp. 2-3)

Special envoy Park Ji-won and two top NIS North Korea specialists, Kim Bo-hyun and Seo Hoon, have preliminary meeting with Song Ho-kyong in Singapore. Park proposed the Kim Dse-jung go to Pyongyang in May or June and offered humanitarian assistance and enhanced economic cooperation. (Lim, Peacemaker, pp. 4-5)

First N-S envoys’ meeting in Shanghai.

At second envoys’ meeting in Beijing, the North objected to saying “the summit meeting between President Kim Dae-jung and Chairman Kim Jong-il,” saying that Kim Young-nam was head of state, but ‘in consideration of the South’s wishes” they would allow a meeting with Kim Jong-il on the sidelines during the summit. The North asked fopr cash but envoy Park Ji-won turned them down, saying “After we hold a summit, we can provide humanitarian assistance or economic cooperation, but cash is impossible.” Surmising that the North wanted to gain more concessions in return for a summit before the National Assembly elections, After consulting with the president, Lim Dong-won instructed envoy Park, Just tell them you will see them again after the elections. And come back home.” They adjourned after the first day. (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 6)

President Kim Dae-jung instructions for the third special envoys’ meeting the next day: “A rich older brother should not visit his poor younger brother’s home empty-handed. …Special Envoy Park, you tell them we will offer $100 million as a gift for the summit. That is the bottom line for your negotiation.” … As found in a special prosecutor’s investigation three years later, the idea of providing $100 million was never realized.” (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 7)

June 12-14 North-South summit meeting announced officially.

Special envoy Park Ji-won informs NIS Director Lim Dong-won that Hyundai offered North Korea $400 million for exclusive rights for “seven business projects,” including doubling of rail tracks between Seoul and Sinuiju, construction of an industrial park on the west coast, building of power generation facilities, and modernization of communications systems. (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 10)

Rice in memo to Bush before unveiling Bush defense and foreign policy: “The President cannot wait until that horrifying day when North Korea or Iraq launches — or threatens to launch — a nuclear attack against the U.S. or its key allies.” The ABM Treaty “makes it impossible to do what we must do to defend ourselves.” (Karen DeYoung, Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell (New York: Knopf, 2006), pp. 290)

KCNA: senior vice PM declared DPRK strong enough militarily to concentrate on economic development. (Chinoy, Meltdown, p. 17)

NIS director Lim Dong-won meets with Lim Dong-ok in Pyongyang who tries and fails to have Kim Dae-jung visit Kim Il-sung’s mausoleum. (Lim, Peacemaker, pp. 13-15)

NIS director Lim Dong-won meets with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, quotes him as saying, “President Kim argues that U.S. troops should r4emain in Korea for peace and stability in Northeast Asia even after unification. As a matter of fact, I don’t think thatnis a bad idea, provided that the status and role of U.S. troops be changed. It is desirable that U.S. troops stay as a peacekeeping force in Korea, in stead of a hostile force against the Republic [DPRK]. We already sent Secretary Kim Yong-soon to the United States in 1992 to officially convey this to the U.S. government. The point is if we become too anti-American, it could hurt the interest of our nation. I think it is an important task to end this historically hostile relationship and achieve normalization of relations with the United States. If relations are normalized, we can resolve all security concerns of the United States. Therefore, we propose an early peace treaty to replace the Armistice Agreement.”(Lim, Peacemaker, p. 22)

At summit meeting, Kim Dae-jung told Kim Jong-il, “The North and South have been mutually concerned about their security: the North about unification by absorption or invasion from the South, and the South about communization or invasion from the North. In reality, these are impossible perspectives. War would only drive the nation into common destruction. Our [position is firm. I promise that under no condition will the South seek invasion of the North pr unification by absorption. I can assure you that the North need not be concerned about that. As stipulated in the North-South Basic Agreement, let us create a joint military committee to discuss the issue of preventing accidental armed clashes and to address the issue of arms reduction. However, in order to resolve North-South issues, we also need the cooperation of neighboring countries. When I went to the United States in June 1998, I proposed the lifting of economic sanctions on the North. In my talks with Japanese Prime Minister Mori, I urged him tom normalize Japan’s relations with the North and we seriously discussed how to approach this issue. We will actively support the North so that you can develop good relationships with the United States, Japan, and European countries. Therefore, I ask that the North comply with the Agreed Framework signed in Geneva to resolve the nuclear issue and make progress in missile talks with the United States. …And let us work together to create and manage a six-nation Northeast Asia security cooperation organization — with the participation of the United States, Japan, China, and Russia for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.” (Lim, Peacemaker, pp. 40-41) When Kim Dae-jung proposed the hot line, Kim Jong-il immediately gave his approval. (p. 51) Later, Kim Jong-il said, “In early 1992, we sent Secretary Kim Yong-sun to the United States as a special envoy. Through him, we told the United States that we would not fight with South Korea. Then we asked that the U.S. troops remain in South Korea to help prevent fighting between the North and the South. We explained the numerous historical instances of foreign invasions because of the geopolitical interests of our big neighboring powers. We told them that in view of the power dynamics of Northeast Asia, the U.S. military presence would contribute to the maintenance of peace on the Korean Peninsula. I know President Kim has said that the U.S,. troops should stay beyond unification. I, too, share your view. The continued presence of U.S. troops in South Korea may be a big burden to your government. But isn’t this something you have to overcome?” (p. 53)

North Korea has been “producing uranium” at a secret underground complex at Mount Chonma near the China border since late 1989, Sankei Shimbun reported. A 66-year-old former DPRK military official who fled to China last year revealed the existence of the facility, which was begun in 1984 and completed in 1986 and has some 400 workers, including 35 technicians, during interrogation by Chinese officials. (Kyodo, “N. Korea Has Secret Uranium Production Facility: Daily,” June 9, 2000)

North-South summit. According to UnifMin Pak Jae-gyu, KJI told KDJ, “If the purpose of U.S. forces’ stationing in the south is hostile, I can’t accept it. But if U.S. forces are stationed in the south for peace in Northeast Asia, I have no reason to strongly oppose it now and after unification.” (Yomiuri Shimbun, “The Enigmatic Kim Jong-il/ North Korean Leader Contradicts Stance on Unification of Peninsula,” March 2, 2004) “When a rich brother goes to visit a poorer brother, the rich brother should not go empty-handed, KDJ told the Financial Times last week. “We wanted to provide $100 million of support. But there was no legal way to do it.” (James Brooke, “2 Koreas Sidestep U.S. to Forge Pragmatic Links,” New York Times, June 26, 2004, p. A-1) Clinton invw July 14, 2000: Asked about the N-S summit, Clinton beamed. “We’ve been working on that for a long time.” Clinton said Kim briefed him afterward by phone, and sent his intelligence chief to report personally at the White House. The South Koreans found “the northern Kim” surprisingly well informed and balanced about the outside world. His delusional behavior must be partly calculated. North Korea, facing starvation even for its high-ration soldiers, craved normal trade with the West, especially the United States, and Clinton thought the summit validated his five-year policy of demanding normalization with South Korea. Until then, by forcing the North Koreans to deal with us through KDJ, we would use our leverage to defuse on of the world’s ticking time bombs. (Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), pp. 603-4) Kim Dae-jung told an international conference marking the first anniversary of the summit, he argued for keeping U.S. troops as a balancing force in Korea “situated as it is in the midst of the world’s four major powers.” “But to my great surprise, Chairman Kim Jong-il replied, ‘I already know President Kim’s thinking on this issue through South Korean newspapers. I also thought to myself how can President Kim think exactly like me? The continued presence of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula serves the interests of the Korean people.” (Bill Tarrant, “Seoul: N. Korea Sees Role for U.S. Troops in Korea,” Reuters, June 15, 2001) McEachern: “Workers Party Secretary Kim Yong-sun told South Korean President Kim Dae Jung that the U.S. military must remove all troops from the peninsula. Kim Jong Il reportedly interrupted, ‘What problem would there be if the U.S, military remained?’ Kim Yong-sun began presenting the party line, and Kim Jong Il replied, ‘Stop that.’ [facing President Kim} Even though I try to do something, people under me oppose it like this.Perhaps the military, too, must have the same view of the U.S. military as Secretary Yong-sun. The U.S. military should not attack us. But, in President Kim’s explanation, there are some aspects I concur with. [Te U.S. military] need not withdraw now. It will be good for the U.S. military to remain to maintain peace even after reunification.’ Kim Dae Jun asked, ‘But in press articles, does not North Korea always demand the U.S. military withdrawal? Kim Jong Il repled, ‘It is for domestic consumption. As there is the aspect that our military maintains (disciplne) through tension, I hope you will not be so concerned.” (Patrick McEachern, “North Korea’s Policy Process,” Asian Survey, XLIX, 3 (May/June 2009) p. 536)

N-S Agreement: In accordance with the noble will of the entire people who yearn for the peaceful reunification of the nation, President Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea and National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held a historic meeting and summit talks in Pyongyang from June 13 to 15, 2000.

The leaders of the South and the North, recognizing that the meeting and the summit talks were of great significance in promoting mutual understanding, developing South–North relations and realizing peaceful reunification, declared as follows:

  1. The South and the North have agreed to resolve the question of reunification independently and through the joint efforts of the Korean people, who are the masters of the country.
  2. For the achievement of reunification, we have agreed that there is a common element in the South’s concept of a confederation and the North’s formula for a loose form of federation. The South and the North agreed to promote reunification in that direction.
  3. The South and the North have agreed to promptly resolve humanitarian issues such as exchange visits by separated family members and relatives on the occasion of the August 15 National Liberation Day and the question of unswerving Communists serving prison sentences in the South.
  4. The South and the North have agreed to consolidate mutual trust by promoting balanced development of the national economy through economic cooperation and by stimulating cooperation and exchanges in civic, cultural, sports, health, environmental and all other fields.
  5. The South and the North have agreed to hold a dialogue between relevant authorities in the near future to implement the above agreements expeditiously.

President Kim Dae-jung cordially invited National Defence Commission Chairman Kim Jong-il to visit Seoul, and Chairman Kim Jong-il will visit Seoul at an appropriate time.

(signed) Kim Dae-jung, President, The Republic of Korea

(signed) Kim Jong-il, Chairman, National Defence Commission, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

June 15, 2000

North and South cease slander along DMZ

Memo from J. Stapleton Roy, assistant secstate for intel and research, to SecState Albright drafted by Robert Carlin, says the summit undermined the widely held view of Kim Jong-il. “Rather than being a recluse, Kim has appeared frequently … for the past several years. He has long followed ROK media and has kept himself well-informed on events in South Korea. He may well know more about South Korea than Kim Dae-jung knows about events in the North.” He was capable of being flexible: “The North Koreans have survived, independent and prickly, among their larger neighbors precisely because they have not had an ideologically rigid foreign policy. On the contrary, the policy has reacted to changing circumstances in and around the peninsula.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), pp. 18-19)

Hyundai chmn Chung Ju-young met with Kim Jong-il, who proposed Kaesong, on a main line of attack in the event of war, as the site of the joint development area instead of Haeju, promised to remove troops from the Tongcheon area near Mount Kumgang. (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 232)

In an announcement intended to remove the prime rationale for an American missile defense plan, Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, said today that North Korea had offered to abandon its missile program if other nations would provide it with rockets to launch satellites into space. Putin announced the offer after a meeting in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, with that country’s leader, Kim Jong-il. The visit was a first for a Russian president. A senior American official said Washington could not agree to the offer if it meant putting Western missile technology in North Korean hands. But he said the United States would be willing to explore an arrangement in which North Korea’s satellites would be brought to other nations to be launched into space. Leon V. Sigal, a specialist on northeast Asia at the Social Science Research Council in New York, said the North Korean offer signaled a willingness to reach an accommodation with the United States. ”North Korea’s basic strategy is to use its missile program to move its relationship with the United States away from one of hostility,” he said. North Korea’s missile offer, Sigal noted, appeared to be an echo of the nuclear deal North Korea had struck previously with the Clinton administration. Under that arrangement, North Korea agreed to shut down its plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon, which had been a major worry for Western experts who feared the plutonium was being used for nuclear bombs. In return, the West agreed to provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors, which would supply electricity but are far less useful for making nuclear weapons. But Kurt Campbell, a former senior Pentagon official with responsibility for Asia and the Pacific, doubted the West would provide rocket boosters to North Korea. ”The technology would be transferable,” he said. ”Japan would be anxious, and there is still much that we don’t understand about what is going on in North Korea.” (Michael R. Gordon, “North Korea Reported Open to Halting Missile Program,” New York Times, July 20, 2000, p. A-1)

First ever Japan-DPRK FM meeting in Bangkok agrees on agenda for 10th round of normalization talks. (Hiramatsu, “Leadup to the Signing of the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration,” Gaiko Forum, (Winter 2003), 30)

DPRK-U.S. meeting at ARF

First round of N-S ministerial talks in Seoul

ROK takes up North’s enrichment with Pakistan. (Chun 12/6/07)

Choi Hak-rae, president of Hangyore, says Kim Jong-il told luncheon of newspaper presidents, “Even if I am in favor of developing missiles and nuclear weapons, do you really think I’d use them to strike the United States? A single launch from us against that country would be met with retaliation by the United States with thousands of missiles.” He adds, “First of all, unless I take the initiative in undertaking a missile development program for my country, the United States will never be willing to negotiate with us. Second, we can’t put up with the draconian economic sanctions the United States has imposed on us. Our economy is in a state of collapse and many of our people are dying of starvation, you know?” (Yomiuri Shimbun, “The Enigmatic Kim Jong-il: N-Weapons Program Part of Game with U.S.,” February 21, 2004)

10th round of Japan-DPRK normalization talks in Tokyo and Chiba (Hiramatsu Kenji, “Leadup to the Signing of the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration,” Gaiko Forum, (Winter 2003), 30)

Second round of N-S ministerial talks in Pyongyang

63 long-term prisoners repatriated

Kim Yong-nam, president of the Supreme Assembly, en route to address UNGA is frisked by American Airlines officials as he boards plane to New York in Frankfurt. Outraged at being treated “like a criminal,” he cancels his trip. Thomas Hubbard, DAS for East Asian Affairs delivers letter of apology to North Korean mission in New York. (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), pp. 24-25)

DPRK Party Secretary for South Korean Affairs Kim Yong-soon met UnifMin Lim Dong-won in Seoul and agreed on Kim Jong-il’s return visit to Seoul in the spring, a defense ministerial meeting on Jeju in return for one million tons of food aid, opening of a “peace corridor” through the DMZ, and connection of the Seoul-Sinuiju railway. (Lim, Peacemaker, pp. 237-42)

Former MinUnif Park Jae-kyu says at a meeting in September 2000, Kim Jong-il told him normalization talks with Japan held just before had gone smoothly and added, “North Korea can get economic assistance if it improves its relationship with Japan.” (Yomiuri Shimbun, “North Korean Leader Puzzles the World,” February 20, 2004)

At US-DPRK talks in Berlin North committed to moratorium on missile launches in return for sanctions easing.

North and South entered Sydney Olympics together.

Groundbreaking for N-S rail connection

109 South Korean tourists visited Mount Paekdu by way of Pyongyang.

N-S Defense Ministers’ Talks on Jeju

Third N-S Ministerial Talks on Jeju

Track II dinner with Kim Gye-gwan, Li Gun

Kim Gye-gwan tells Chuck Kartman in New York, “Kim Jong-il is preparing to send his personal envoy to Washington with an important proposal on missiles.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), p. 25)

Joint statement on terrorism:

Vice Marshall Jo Myong-rok, first vice chair of the national Defense Commission, in full dress uniform meets with President Clinton. He hands Clinton a letter from Kim Jong-il expressing willingness to end production, export and use of medium- and long-range missiles. Jo invites Clinton to Pyongyang: “If you come to Pyongyang, Kim Jong-il will guarantee that he will satisfy all your security concerns.” He asks, “I need to secure your agreement to come to Pyongyang. I really need to take back a positive answer.” Wendy Sherman recalls, “We all knew there was something real here. Kim Jong-il was ready to do a deal.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), p. 25) ROK UnifMin Park Jae-kyu interview: “When the first summit took place in 2000, I heard that Pyongyang had a three-stage roadmap of its own — first, an inter-Korean summit for the reconciliation of the two Koreas; second, a U.S.-D.P.R.K. summit to improve bilateral ties; and third, a second inter-Korean summit to upgrade cross-border relations.” (Park Song-wu, “’Kim Jong-il Planned to Hold Summit with Bill Clinton,” Korea Times, January 2, 2007) Clinton invw October 29,2000: The president said his secret reports made Premier KKJI into a recluse “three bricks shy of a load,” interested only in movie stars, and warned Kim’s top general Jo Myong-rok was too brainwashed for normal conversation. Much to his surprise, General Jo turned up urbane and well informed some three weeks ago on October 10 — the first North Korean official ever tto visit the White House — with an outline of Kim’s design to join the family of nations. Because of cooperation from South Korea’s visionary president, KDJ, Clinton explained why he had an outside chance in these last weeks to visit Pyongyang and clinch a deal stopping North Korea’s missile program. (Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), pp. 626-27)

Vice FoMin Kang Sok-ju, who accompanied Vice Marshal Jo, told North Korea Policy Coordinator Wendy Sherman, “The North is ready to discuss the proposals that were made by Dr. Perry during his visit to Pyongyang last May. Let’s resolve the missile issue in a package solution and move toward full-fledged normalization of relations.” (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 249)

US–DPRK Joint Communiqué: “As the special envoy of Chairman Kim Jong Il of the D.P.R.K. National Defense Commission, the First Vice Chairman, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, visited the United States of America from October 9-12, 2000. During his visit, Special Envoy Jo Myong Rok delivered a letter from National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il [inviting Clinton to Pyongyang], as well as his views on U.S.-D.P.R.K. relations, directly to U.S. President William Clinton. Special Envoy Jo Myong Rok and his party also met with senior officials of the U.S. Administration, including his host Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Defense William Cohen, for an extensive exchange of views on issues of common concern. They reviewed in depth the new opportunities that have opened up for improving the full range of relations between the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The meetings proceeded in a serious, constructive, and businesslike atmosphere, allowing each side to gain a better understanding of the other’s concerns. Recognizing the changed circumstances on the Korean Peninsula created by the historic inter-Korean summit, the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have decided to take steps to fundamentally improve their bilateral relations in the interests of enhancing peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, the two sides agreed there are a variety of available means, including Four Party talks, to reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula and formally end the Korean War by replacing the 1953 Armistice Agreement with permanent peace arrangements. Recognizing that improving ties is a natural goal in relations among states and that better relations would benefit both nations in the 21st century while helping ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. and the D.P.R.K. sides stated that they are prepared to undertake a new direction in their relations. As a crucial first step, the two sides stated that neither government would have hostile intent toward the other and confirmed the commitment of both governments to make every effort in the future to build a new relationship free from past enmity. Building on the principles laid out in the June 11, 1993 U.S.-D.P.R.K. Joint Statement and reaffirmed in the October 21, 1994 Agreed Framework, the two sides agreed to work to remove mistrust, build mutual confidence, and maintain an atmosphere in which they can deal constructively with issues of central concern. In this regard, the two sides reaffirmed that their relations should be based on the principles of respect for each other’s sovereignty and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, and noted the value of regular diplomatic contacts, bilaterally and in broader fora. The two sides agreed to work together to develop mutually beneficial economic cooperation and exchanges. To explore the possibilities for trade and commerce that will benefit the peoples of both countries and contribute to an environment conducive to greater economic cooperation throughout Northeast Asia, the two sides discussed an exchange of visits by economic and trade experts at an early date. The two sides agreed that resolution of the missile issue would make an essential contribution to a fundamentally improved relationship between them and to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. To further the efforts to build new relations, the D.P.R.K. informed the U.S. that it will not launch long-range missiles of any kind while talks on the missile issue continue. Pledging to redouble their commitment and their efforts to fulfill their respective obligations in their entirety under the Agreed Framework, the US and the D.P.R.K. strongly affirmed its importance to achieving peace and security on a nuclear weapons free Korean Peninsula. To this end, the two sides agreed on the desirability of greater transparency in carrying out their respective obligations under the Agreed Framework. In this regard, they noted the value of the access which removed U.S. concerns about the underground site at Kumchang-ri. The two sides noted that in recent years they have begun to work cooperatively in areas of common humanitarian concern. The D.P.R.K. side expressed appreciation for significant U.S. contributions to its humanitarian needs in areas of food and medical assistance. The U.S. side expressed appreciation for D.P.R.K. cooperation in recovering the remains of U.S. servicemen still missing from the Korean War, and both sides agreed to work for rapid progress for the fullest possible accounting. The two sides will continue to meet to discuss these and other humanitarian issues. As set forth in their Joint Statement of October 6, 2000, the two sides agreed to support and encourage international efforts against terrorism. Special Envoy Jo Myong Rok explained to the US side developments in the inter-Korean dialogue in recent months, including the results of the historic North-South summit. The U.S. side expressed its firm commitment to assist in all appropriate ways the continued progress and success of ongoing North-South dialogue and initiatives for reconciliation and greater cooperation, including increased security dialogue. Special Envoy Jo Myong Rok expressed his appreciation to President Clinton and the American people for their warm hospitality during the visit. It was agreed that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will visit the D.P.R.K. in the near future to convey the views of U.S. President William Clinton directly to Chairman Kim Jong Il of the D.P.R.K. National Defense Commission and to prepare for a possible visit by the President of the United States.”

Ambassador Stephen Bosworth informed UnifMin Lim Dong-won, President Clinton, with the agreement of President Kim, has decided to accept Chairman Kim Jong-il’s invitation to visit Pyongyang. Secretary Albright is planning to travel to Pyongyang to prepare a visit by President Clinton.” (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 250)

SecState Albright-Kim Jong-il meetings. “We were most concerned about long-range missiles because that’s what — with a nuclear warhead attached — is an existential threat to the United States. But we also understood that if we didn’t deal with medium-range missiles we wouldn’t be able to hold the Japanese on board with us. So getting them to end all of their missile sales and sales of missile-related technology and all of their service contracts was part of the deal — that they would stop any development, testing or deployment of long-range missiles and they would begin discussions on the already deployed Rodong missile. And in return for that, they wanted a path to the normalization of the relationship — no hostile intent between our countries, which we had already put in the communiqué. And they expected some recognition, as they made good on this …” Albright opened the talks by giving Kim a letter from Clinton. DoS spokesman Richard Boucher described it as “outlining the expectation of further developing relations.” She recalls telling Kim that “I couldn’t recommend a summit without a satisfactory agreement on missiles.” Kim said, “So it’s clear since we export to get money, if you guarantee compensation, it will be suspended.” He added, “If there is an assurance that South Korea will not develop 500-km range missiles, we won’t either. As for the missiles already deployed, I don’t think we can do much about them. You can’t go inside the units and inspect them, but it’s possible to stop production.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), p. 28) On morning of the 2nd day, Robert Einhorn presented 14 detailed questions to his counterpart, including whether the deal covered export of missile components and technology or just missiles, existing contracts, what range of missiles, accession to MTCR. That afternoon Albright put the questions to Kim. “There were 14 unresolved issues,” Sherman says, “and he sat with the secretary, answering all her questions.” Einhorn elaborates: “When Albright presented him with the questions, at first he looked a little puzzled, as if he hadn’t known about them. Albright offered to give him time to look them over, but he said, ‘No, no, I can do this.’ He went down the list, one by one, and gave specific explanations. For example, on the question of missile exports, ‘Yes, I mean no exports of missiles of any range.’ And ‘Yes, I mean to ban the export of missile technology, not just the missiles.’ On issues where it was clear he didn’t want to be drawn out yet, he skipped over them. He understood where he wanted to be clear and where he wasn’t going to be.” (Fred Kaplan, “Rolling Blunder,” Atlantic Monthly, May 2004)

SecState Albright stopped in Seoul en route home from Pyongyang and told UnifMin Lim Dong-won, “Chairman Kim offered to give up his long-range (more than 500-kilometer) missiles, if the United States will agree to launch civilian satellites for Pyongyang.” He agreed to observe MTCR guidelines and was willing to halt all missile exports. (Lim, Peacemaker, p. 254)

Rodong Sinmun: “Multi-faceted contacts and dialogues have been under way between the DPRK and the U.S. in recent years. … Describing the DPRK-U.S. joint communiqué as a historic diplomatic document confirming the stands of the DPRK and the U.S. to improve the relations, the commentary says: The document has not only an informative value but international legal validity. … As part of the steps to honor it, the U.S. Secretary of State visited the DPRK recently and handed Kim Jong Il a personal letter carrying the view of President Clinton on issues related to the improvement of the DPRK-U.S. relations and sincerely discussed them. … The DPRK will do its best to develop the DPRK-U.S. relations on the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in other’s internal affairs. The U.S. should keep its faith and promise and honor its commitments.” (KCNA, “DPRK’s Principled Stand on DPRK-U.S. Relations,” November 7, 2000)

NSA Sandy Berger proposed committing Clinton to go to Pyongyang and trying to work out the key details of the missile deal. If the North did not budge, Clinton could find an excuse not to go. “He ultimately decided that we needed one more round with them,” Berger recalled, “in which we determined that Wendy [Sherman] would go and say, ‘I have in my pocket the date of the president’s trip. If we can reach agreement here with respect to verification and definitions, I will give you this piece of paper; if not the president is not prepared to come.’ What then happened was the extraordinary election of 3200 and recount …And we were very unwilling to commit the president to be in Pyongyang in the midst of an enormously difficult moment for the United States.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), pp. 39-40)

Clinton invw: Advisers were split over whether he should go to North Korea. [Cohen against, Albright and Berger for] (Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), p. 630)

Wendy Sherman, Chuck Kartman, Jack Pritchard and Bob Einhorn briefed SecState designate Powell in his home. Condoleezza Rice arrived midway through the meeting. Powell felt it was a “good, solid briefing, very interesting, very useful. They had done a lot of good work.” He told them, “You’re on your own. And if he does this, it is because he has decided to do it based on what he has done, and not with any imprimatur from the new administration.” Kartman recalled, “At the end, Powell said words to the effect that this was all really promising and I think we’ve got to pick up on these things. Condi Rice didn’t say anything. You could sense that they were not on the same page.” (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), pp. 35-36) One participant remembers Powell listening to the briefing with enthusiasm. Rice, however, was clearly skeptical. “The body language was striking,” he says. “Powell was leaning forward. Rice was very much leaning backward. Powell thought that what we had been doing formed an interesting basis for progress. He was disabused very quickly.” (Fred Kaplan, “Rolling Blunder,” Atlantic Monthly, May 2004)

Berger and Albright met with Powell and Rice. “We all felt that from our perspective, they were going to pick up the ball where we had left it, that they thought we had actually moved it quite far, and if here were opportunities here, that this would be continued.” Berger recalled, “I was convinced by Powell.” (Chinoy, Meltdown, p. 41)

DDI Jamie Miscik briefs Bush. Bush expresses doubts, What is Clinton doing? Is he going to negotiate something I’m going to be stuck with? (Chinoy, Meltdown, p. 41)

Clinton and Berger met with Bush and Powell. Clinton himself raised the idea of going to Pyongyang, asking Bush if he would object. Bush was noncommittal, saying it was Clinton’s decision and that the country only had one president at a time. Clinton and Berger concluded the new administration would continue negotiating and try to close the missile deal. Much as Clinton wanted to go to Pyongyang, he decided it was better to let his successor try to work out the remaining issues and make the policy of negotiating with the North their own. “Rather than simply sending them a note saying we are interested in your missile proposal but we are not interested in going to Pyongyang, and since the President wasn’t averse to meeting with Kim Jong-il but the logistics, timing and various downsides of going to Pyongyang were too much, it came out — let’s turn it around. … Why not have Clinton meet Kim Jong-il in Washington?” No one expected Kim to agree buy it was a way to soften the blow. (Mike Chinoy, Meltdown (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), pp. 41-42) Bush on January 12: Q. The president is also leaving a partial deal with North Korea on the table. A. Yeah, he brought it up to me. … You know, I am comfortable with the idea of using food to help nations in need. … Again, there is a lot of these deals where there is an outline with the deal, but part of any, seems like to me, agreement with North Korea must enable this country to be able to verify that they are upholding their end of the agreement.” (New York Times, “Excerpts from the Interview with President-Elect George W. Bush,” January 14, 2001, p. 28) Clinton invw on January 8, 2001: Bush has listened without comment to most of Clinton’s extensive briefing on foreign affairs. Unexpectedly, when asked, he encouraged Clinton to seize any opportunity to stop the North Korean missile program. Bush said he could not imagine going there for at least the first year of his presidency, and if it took a presidential trip to complete the deal, he would hold no ill will toward Clinton for stealing the limelight or boxing in the new administration. “Go ahead, Mr. President,” Bush told him. “It sounds like a good idea to me.” The president, while appreciative, had decided against the trip. His time was so short, and the political logistics were cruel. If he went to Pyongyang, he must go also to South Korea, then Japan, and these distant commitments might keep him away from a sudden opportunity in the Middle East. {?] “If something went wrong there because of me,” said Clinton, “I’d never forgive myself.” Reluctantly, he had decided to leave the North Korean missile deal “on the table,” all but completed for Bush and his incoming secretary of state, Colin Powell. (Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), pp. 639-40) [Clinton told Berger, Podesta, Segal Bush favored going ahead with the deal. Let him do it. Why put the deal in jeopardy or take the political heat of doing it last-minute. The Middle East was an excuse.]

Clinton announced that his trip to Pyongyang was off. “We’ve made a lot of progress with the North Koreans,” he told reporters. “But I concluded that I did not have sufficient time to put the trip together and to execute the trip in an appropriate manner.” (David E. Sanger, “Clinton Scraps North Korea Trip, Saying Time’s Short for Deal,” New York Times, December 29, 2000, p. A-)

Peter Rodman: Bush administration has “very different policy views” on North Korea that “ought to inhibit the outgoing administration from dramatic initiatives” such as a presidential trip to North Korea. (Associated Press, “Clinton Won’t Visit North Korea,” December 28, 2000)

Rice: “The regime of Kim Jong Il is so opaque that it is difficult to know its motivations, other than that they are malign. But North Korea also lives outside of the international system. Like East Germany, North Korea is the evil twin of a successful regime just across its border. It must fear its eventual demise from the sheer power and pull of South Korea. Pyongyang, too, has little to gain and everything to lose from engagement in the international economy. The development of WMD thus provides the destructive way out for Kim Jong Il.

President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea is attempting to find a peaceful resolution with the north through engagement. Any U.S. policy toward the north should depend heavily on coordination with Seoul and Tokyo. In that context, the 1994 framework agreement that attempted to bribe North Korea into forsaking nuclear weapons cannot easily be set aside. Still, there is a trap inherent in this approach: sooner or later Pyongyang will threaten to test a missile one too many times, and the United States will not respond with further benefits. Then what will Kim Jong Il do? The possibility for miscalculation is very high.

One thing is clear: the United States must approach regimes like North Korea resolutely and decisively. The Clinton administration has failed here, sometimes threatening to use force and then backing down, as it often has with Iraq. These regimes are living on borrowed time, so there need be no sense of panic about them. Rather, the first line of defense should be a clear and classical statement of deterrence — if they do acquire WMD, their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration. Second, we should accelerate efforts to defend against these weapons. This is the most important reason to deploy national and theater missile defenses as soon as possible, to focus attention on U.S. homeland defenses against chemical and biological agents, and to expand intelligence capabilities against terrorism of all kinds.” [trash AF, KJI as foil for BMD] (Condoleezza Rice, “Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs (January-February 2001)

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