News

 

DATE=12/5/97

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-223710

TITLE=KOREA TALKS Q&A / SECURITY ISSUES (L-ONLY)

BYLINE=MAX RUSTON

DATELINE=NEW YORK

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO:  ON TUESDAY, OFFICIALS FROM NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA, THE 

UNITED STATES AND CHINA WILL GATHER IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, FOR A

FIRST ROUND OF TALKS AIMED AT ESTABLISHING A NEW PEACE AGREEMENT 

FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA.  NEGOTIATORS WILL ALSO TRY TO REDUCE 

TENSION IN WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST HIGHLY MILITARIZED REGIONS OF 

THE WORLD.  V-O-A'S MAX RUSTON SPOKE WITH FORMER U-S DEPUTY 

ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY DAVID DENOON AND ASKED HIM HOW 

IMPORTANT THE GENEVA TALKS -- AND RELATIONS BETWEEN NORTH AND 

SOUTH KOREA -- ARE TO THE SECURITY SITUATION IN EAST ASIA.



                        /// BEGIN ACT ///



         DENOON:  I WOULD SAY (THE TALKS ARE) DEFINITELY A BIG 

         STEP FORWARD.  I WOULD SAY IMPORTANT ON SEVERAL GROUNDS.

         IT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT THEY HAVE BACKED 

         DOWN FROM PREVIOUSLY RIGID POSITIONS OVER THE LAST YEAR 

         OR TWO.  BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY I THINK THE CONTEXT IS 

         CRITICAL AND THAT IS THAT THE CHINESE HAVE CLEARLY BEEN 

         ENCOURAGING THE NORTH KOREANS TO TAKE A MORE COOPERATIVE

         STANCE, AND THIS IS A SIGN THAT THE CHINESE HAVE PLAYED 

         AT LEAST A USEFUL OR SUPPORTIVE ROLE IN THE BACKGROUND, 

         AND I THINK THAT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL IN THE REGION.



         RUSTON:  KIM JONG-IL HAS RECENTLY CONSOLIDATED HIS 

         LEADERSHIP POSITION IN NORTH KOREA.  DOES THAT GIVE US 

         ANY MORE HOPE FOR A BETTER SECURITY SITUATION IN THAT 

         REGION?



         DENOON:  THERE ARE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES TO YOUR 

         QUESTION.  FIRST IT WOULD BE REASSURING, IN ALMOST ANY 

         COUNTRY, IF YOU FELT THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP WAS SECURE

         AND THAT IT WAS OBVIOUS WHO WAS IN CHARGE, SO IN THAT 

         SENSE, KIM JONG-IL'S CONSOLIDATION OF AT LEAST TITLES IS

         SOMEWHAT REASSURING.  ON THE NEGATIVE SIDE, HOWEVER, 

         MOST OF WHAT OUTSIDERS KNOW OF KIM JONG-IL AS AN 

         INDIVIDUAL LEADS US TO BE RATHER SKEPTICAL BOTH OF HIS 

         ABILITIES AND HIS INTENTIONS.  WE KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT

         HIM.  WE HAVE SO LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT HIS MOTIVATION

         AND HIS THOUGHT PROCESS, THAT I WOULD NOT BE POSITIVE 

         ABOUT SOMEONE ON WHOM WE HAVE VERY LITTLE INFORMATION.



         RUSTON:  DOES NORTH KOREA POSE A SECURITY THREAT TO THE 

         EAST ASIA REGION?



         DENOON:  YES, IN TWO WAYS.  ONE, THEY DO HAVE 

         INTERMEDIATE-RANGE MISSILES AND, SADLY, DESPITE THE 

         EXTRAORDINARY ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES THEY HAVE HAD, THEY 

         STILL SEEM TO BE GOING AHEAD WITH EFFORTS TO TEST AND 

         MODERNIZE THOSE MISSILES.  AND CERTAINLY THEIR CURRENT 

         OPERATIONAL MISSILES COULD HIT THE ENTIRE AREA OF SOUTH 

         KOREA AND CERTAIN WESTERN AREAS OF HONSHU IN JAPAN.  SO 

         THAT IS TROUBLE IN ITSELF.  BUT I THINK MORE IMPORTANTLY

         NORTH KOREA IS A POTENTIAL FLASH POINT BECAUSE OF OUR 

         DIFFICULTY FIGURING OUT WHY THE KOREAN LEADERSHIP DOES 

         WHAT IT DOES -- WHEN THEY ASSASSINATE A LARGE PART OF 

         THE SOUTH KOREAN CABINET IN BURMA A DECADE AGO, WHEN 

         THEY BLOW UP AIRPLANES AS THEY DID IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 

         WHEN THEY DIG TUNNELS INTO THE SOUTH AND INFILTRATE 

         COMMANDOS IN SUBMARINES -- ONE WONDERS WHY THEY DO THIS.

         IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT GAIN THEM ANYTHING IN THE SHORT 

         RUN AND IT IS HIGHLY PROVOCATIVE.  NOW IF THEIR GOAL IS 

         SIMPLY TO BE, QUOTE, RESPECTED, AND TO BE FEARED, THEN 

         THEY HAVE ACHIEVED THAT.  BUT IF THEY HAVE SOME OTHER 

         GOAL, IT IS HARD FOR OUTSIDERS, WHO HAVE VERY LIMITED 

         INFORMATION ABOUT THE INTERNAL WORKINGS OF THEIR 

         LEADERSHIP, TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO 

         ACCOMPLISH.



                         /// END ACT ///



OUTRO:  THAT WAS FORMER U-S DEPUTY ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY 

DAVID DENOON, NOW A PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT NEW YORK 

UNIVERSITY, SPEAKING WITH V-O-A'S MAX RUSTON ABOUT THE SECURITY 

SITUATION ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA.  (END)



NEB/NY/MPR/LSF



05-Dec-97 10:02 AM EST (1502 UTC)

NNNN



Source: Voice of America

.