Good Company

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Interview with North Korea Expert Nicholas Eberstadt, on the Talks and Aftermath

Nicholas Eberstadt is a Korea expert. One Free Korea recently interviewed him and the interview is posted at The Command Post here. Very interesting discussion of the DPRK and the US- South Korea relations. Highly recommended reading.
OFK: I want to move to the "what next" question, in the event the six-nation talks fail. In your latest piece, you said, “Washington should impose real-time penalties on Pyongyang.” Can you elaborate on what you mean here?

NE: What we have to begin to do is penalize North Korea economically. The United States can increase North Korea’s economic penalties more or less unilaterially thru the Proliferation Security Initiative—working, of course, with those nations that have joined the PSI, and leading that coalition. We should be doing that anyhow. That’s just police work.

NE: We should also insist on a more humanitarian food aid program, which is to say a more intrusive and accountable food program, versus the one the World Food Program and others are kicking in for now. The current program feeds the North Korea government better than it feeds North Korea people. We should change that immediately.

NE: One other issue here is the need to confer more effectively with our European allies on international aid flows to the DPRK. Europe professes great concern for human rights in principle. North Korea is the worst human rights disaster on earth.

NE: The most important and difficult areas in aid flow are with South Korea and China. The U.S. needs to be much more effective in making its case to the South Korean public that aiding the North Korean state means endangering the South Korean state. The South Korean government is almost unconditionally supporting North Korea through its aid programs. That unconditional aid does not reflect the actual state of public opinion in South Korea; in fact, the South Korean public is deeply divided on the question of unconditional aid to the North. Making the case against unconditional aid to the North in various venues would be very helpful changing South Korean policies in this regard.
There's a lot more.

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