Los Angeles, May 29, 2009—
A policy brief from the U.S. based Korea Policy Institute is being released just as the recent nuclear test by North Korea and resulting condemnation by the international community demonstrate how rapidly tensions in Northeast Asia can escalate.
The U.S. is once again seeking ever tougher sanctions against one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, as North Korea threatens to restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. How did this come about and is there any way to pull out of this downward spiral of posturing and brinkmanship? The policy analysis, The Case for a Peace Treaty to End the Korean War, addresses these questions, and includes recommendations for the Obama administration.
This policy analysis was developed from the presentations of Korea scholars, policy experts, and community advocates at a U.C. Berkeley conference this past October. It posits that for the past fifty years the primary rationale for sheltering South Korea under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and maintaining troops there has been to deter a potential North Korean invasion. Conditions globally and on the Korean peninsula, however, have changed a great deal, but U.S. policies in dealing with North Korea have not. Further, “It is evident that the U.S. and North Korea never shared a common understanding of the purpose of the Six Party talks,” said Paul Liem, President of the Korea Policy Institute. “Washington regarded them as a means to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear programs, whereas Pyongyang viewed them as a way to normalize relations with the U.S.”
Says Liem, in summarizing the brief, “this failure to end hostilities with North Korea stemming from the Korean War is the foremost obstacle to addressing nuclear proliferation by North Korea, ensuring peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, and maintaining long-term U.S. strategic influence in the Northeast Asia region. It’s time to end the Korean War.”
The brief concludes with several recommendations for the Obama administration as it continues to develop its Korea policy. Click here for the full report.