The Peninsula Question

The Peninsula Question: A Chronicle of the Second Korean Nuclear Crisis

Yoichi Funabashi
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 592
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  • Book Info
    The Peninsula Question
    Book Description:

    In October 2002 the United States confronted North Korea with suspicions that Pyongyang was enriching uranium in violation of the Agreed Framework that the nations had worked out during the Clinton administration. North Korea subsequently evicted international monitors and resumed its nuclear weapons program. The Peninsula Question chronicles the resulting second Korean nuclear crisis. Japanese journalist Yoichi Funabashi, informed by interviews with more than 160 diplomats and decision makers from China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the negotiations to denuclearize the peninsula. Between 2002 and 2006, a series of top level diplomats, including the prime minister of Japan, attempted to engage with North Korea. Funabashi illustrates how the individual efforts of these major powers laid the groundwork for multilateral negotiations, first as the trilateral meeting and then as the Six-Party Talks. The first four rounds of talks (2003-2005) resulted in significant progress. Unfortunately, a lack of implementation after that breakthrough ultimately led to North Korea's missile tests in July and subsequent nuclear tests in October 2006. The Peninsula Question provides a window of understanding on the historical, geopolitical, and security concerns at play on the Korean peninsula since 2002. Offering multiple perspectives on the second Korean nuclear crisis, it describes more than just the U.S. and North Korean points of view. It pays special attention to China's dealings with North Korea, providing rare insights to into the decision-making processes of Beijing. This is an important, authoritative resource for understanding the crisis in Korea and diplomacy in Northeast Asia.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-3011-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    Yoichi Funabashi
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Prime Minister Koizumi’s Visit to North Korea
    (pp. 1-49)

    The onigiri,or rice balls, that were served for lunch were left on the table, as if they were some kind of offering. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi did not touch them at all.¹

    It was September 17, 2002, and Koizumi was sitting in a specially designated anteroom on the ground floor of the Paekhwawon (Hundred Flowers) Guest House in Pyongyang. It was a little past noon, and he had just finished a top-level talk with Chairman Kim Jong-il. Koizumi silently watched the Japan Broadcasting Corporation satellite TV news program that was reporting on the talk.

    Armed North Korean police officers...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Koizumi Again Visits Pyongyang
    (pp. 50-92)

    It was a beautiful spring day at the Taedonggang Guest House in Pyongyang. Outside, thousands of fluffy willow seeds were in the air—not falling, not flying, just floating in the air. In ancient days, Pyongyang was called Ryugyong, Capital of Willows. It was May 22, 2004. Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi was soon to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for the second time, a little less than two years since their first meeting on September 17, 2002.

    A solitary clock—flat, golden, and shiny—was on the table. The clock had a face on each side, and...

    (pp. 93-134)

    It was past 5:00 p.m. on October 4, 2002, in a conference room of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang. Outside, it already was dark. On the front wall of the spacious room, whose ceiling was at least thirty feet (ten meters) high, hung gigantic portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Kang Sok-ju, North Korea’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, walked into the room, after having had his guest, James Kelly, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, wait for him for quite some time. He was barely seated when he declared bluntly,...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Collapse of the Agreed Framework
    (pp. 135-165)

    It became difficult for the pro-engagement school in the Bush administration to promote dialogue with North Korea after James Kelly’s delegation came home with Pyongyang’s acknowledgment of its pursuit of highly enriched uranium. Moreover, Kang Sok-ju had gone so far as to declare the Agreed Framework invalid. The confrontation school, consequently, reveled in its triumph.¹ On hearing Kelly’s report from Colin Powell, Rumsfeld hit the desk and declared, “Jim Kelly is an American hero.”² Kelly’s stock was very high (though it did not last long with Rumsfeld).

    The offices of John Bolton, Robert Joseph, and Dick Cheney reiterated their demand...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Russia as Honest Broker?
    (pp. 166-196)

    On January 18, 2003, Alexander P. Losyukov, deputy foreign minister of Russia, visited Pyongyang. He had never expected the Pyongyang winter to be so cold. As a Russian, he was used to cold winters; in fact, he did not much mind the cold outdoors, at least compared with that inside buildings, where the cold seeped into every joint of his body. None of the government offices or conference rooms in Pyongyang were heated. At night, few lights were seen on the streets of Pyongyang. Paekhwawon Guest House, where the delegation was staying, had its own idiosyncrasies; for example, one could...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Brotherhood
    (pp. 197-229)

    Lim Dong-won flew to Pyongyang on January 27, 2003, aboard the presidential plane. Lim was President Kim Dae-jung’s special adviser for foreign, security, and unification policies, and he had worked behind the scenes running the historic summit talk between leaders of the two Koreas in June 2000.

    Lim had visited Pyongyang several times before as a secret emissary or presidential special envoy, but this visit would be his last as an envoy. Kim Dae-jung’s administration was to end in one month, and President Kim had dispatched Lim and his delegation to assure North Korea that the Roh Moo-hyun administration would...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN South Korea as Balancer?
    (pp. 230-261)

    Bush was in high spirits. The United States had attacked Iraq in March, occupied Baghdad in April, and declared victory in May. Once the occupation of Iraq started, however, a series of problems erupted. The United States alone could not maintain stability or even public order in Iraq, and therefore the reconstruction of Iraq could not proceed as planned. International cooperation became indispensable, and in response, the Roh Moo-hyun government dispatched some 700 medical corps personnel to Iraq. But because public order deteriorated further over the summer of 2003, the U.S. government began to request its allies and other friendly...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Hu Jintao’s “New Thinking” Diplomacy
    (pp. 262-299)

    Saturday, March 8, 2003, was a cloudless, sunny day in Pyongyang. Early in the morning, a Chinese government–chartered plane touched down at Sunan International Airport. About one week earlier, in international waters off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, a North Korean jet fighter had come very close to a U.S. reconnaissance airplane, and the U.S. crew reported the incident as a near collision. That was one of the reasons why the atmosphere was tense that morning.

    The Chinese government plane soon took off; one and a half hours later, it landed at Samjiyon Airport at the foot...

  13. CHAPTER NINE The Rise of China
    (pp. 300-328)

    During the second Korean nuclear crisis, China insisted on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as it had done during the first. Although the amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) possessed by North Korea remained uncertain, China had no doubt that North Korea intended to develop nuclear arms. China’s distrust of and apprehension toward North Korea deepened. China was not happy that North Korea had secretly advanced its uranium enrichment program, but it was more displeased by North Korea’s cunning. North Korea had used the uranium enrichment issue as if it were a new bargaining card but had neither acknowledged nor...

  14. CHAPTER TEN The Launching of the Six-Party Talks
    (pp. 329-376)

    At 9:00 a.m. on April 23, 2003, the trilateral meeting of the United States, North Korea, and China was convened in one of the nineteen buildings of the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing. Wang Yi, China’s vice foreign minister, announced the opening of the meeting, which was to be chaired by Fu Ying, director general of the Asian Affairs Bureau of China’s Foreign Ministry. Opening remarks were made by Li Gun, deputy director general of the North American Affairs Bureau of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry; James Kelly, U.S. assistant secretary of state; and Fu Ying, in that order. Five...

  15. CHAPTER ELEVEN Six-Party Talks Adrift
    (pp. 377-431)

    It was Sunday, July 24, 2005, at the St. Regis Hotel in Beijing. As soon as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill arrived, he was swarmed by reporters. In speaking with them, Hill remarked, “I did pack a few extra shirts,” a comment that was interpreted as a sign of his resolve that the fourth round of the six-party talks would not be a carbon copy of the previous three rounds.¹ While previous rounds were over in two or three days and produced nothing more than an oral summary by the chairman (the first round) or a chairman’s statement...

  16. CHAPTER TWELVE Kim Jong-il Visits China
    (pp. 432-462)

    It was still dark at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 10, 2006, and an icy wind was blowing over the surface of the frozen Yalu. Above the river, on the bridge connecting Sinuiju City, in North Korea, with Dandong City, in China, the train carrying Kim Jong-il slowed down as it made its way to the other side, where the Chinese flag was flying. Just downstream was another bridge, which extended from the Chinese side to a little beyond the midpoint of the river, where it ended. Both bridges had been built by the Japanese before World War II, and...

  17. CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Peninsula Question
    (pp. 463-476)

    On October 9, 2006, at 10:36 a.m. local time, the South Korean Ministry of Defense and the National Intelligence Service recorded a 3.58 to 3.7 magnitude explosion in northeastern North Korea. A more detailed analysis by the U.S. National Geological Survey raised the estimate of magnitude to 4.2 on the Richter scale and placed the explosion forty-two kilometers (twenty-six miles) northwest of Kilchu in Hamgyong Province, a remote area approximately 385 kilometers (240 miles) northeast of Pyongyang.¹ The Korean Central News Agency reported that the DPRK had “successfully conducted an underground nuclear test . . . at a stirring time...

  18. Chronology
    (pp. 477-482)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 483-560)
  20. Interviewees
    (pp. 561-562)
  21. Index
    (pp. 563-592)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 593-594)