Tracking Number:  237105

Title:  "Nuclear Issue Seen as Trump Card to Korean Stability." An aerospace and defense conference sponsored by the Korea Society agreed that the nuclear issue is the most important element in the Korean peninsula's political mix today. (920730)

Date:  19920730


07/30/92 *

NUCLEAR ISSUE SEEN AS TRUMP CARD TO KOREAN STABILITY (Article on Korean Society panel discussion) (520) By Jim Shevis USIA Staff Writer Washington -- A panel of experts on Korea and the U.S.-Korean relationship agreed July 30 that the nuclear issue is the most important element in the peninsula's political mix today.

"The bottom line on the nuclear issue is that it's going to be a slow process of finding answers to questions," the State Department's Charles Kartman told a gathering of American businessmen.

"It's only after the nuclear issue is resolved that we can move on to other issues," said Kartman, the department's director for Korean affairs.

"So I want to caution you...that North Korea is the least attractive market for investment in the world."

Kartman's comments came during an all-day aerospace and defense conference sponsored by the Korea Society, a private, nonprofit organization that seeks to promote an understanding between the people of Korea and the United States.

Panelists Yim Sung Joon, political counselor at the Republic of Korea's embassy in Washington, and William T. Pendley, a retired Navy admiral who is now adviser to the assistant secretary of defense, also assessed communist North Korea's nuclear capability in the peninsula's political equation.

"The nuclear issue is the trump issue," said Pendley, who once led the U.S. delegation in the Panmunjom armistice talks to end the Korean War.

"For North Korea to have nuclear weapons would be to make North Korea the first nuclear terrorist state," he said.

Yim said that, even though North and South Korea have signed an agreement on the non-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, "we have little information as to what is going on in their nuclear program."

Yim said that North Korea is "still believed to be carrying on a secret nuclear program."

It has allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Agency for Atomic Energy, Yim said, but has not complied with separate inspection requirements in its bilateral agreement with South Korea.

"My government's policy is to hold off on unification talks until North Korea allays all suspicions on its nuclear program," Yim said.

Kartman said the United States "applauds" South Korea's policy toward the north, and assured U.S. support of South Korea's security.

On the issue of unification, which is receiving much attention in Seoul these days, Kartman said that "it is our official policy to support it so long as it is peaceful and acceptable to all of the Korean people."

Kartman said that North Korea's policy for 40 years has been to split off the United States from South Korea, a strategy that he said would not work.

"The north wants us to come out in front of South Korea," Kartman said. "It wants you (American business people) to come on over...goods things will happen, they say.

"They are very sophisticated. They would use this to give the impression of improved U.S. relations with North Korea.

"The United States is not going to jump out ahead of our ally," Kartman said. "We remain behind South Korea and will follow their lead."


File Identification:  07/30/92, EP-410
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Thematic Codes:  1EA
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  237105
USIA Notes:  *92073010.EPF