Korean Crisis Aggravated by Hostile Rhetoric and U.S. Military Violence Against Civilians
Interview with Karin Lee,senior associate with the East Asia Policy Education Project at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
While the Bush administration gathers its forces in the Persian Gulf to prosecute a war against Iraq, a growing crisis on the Korean peninsula has attracted international concern and attention. North Korea's recent admission that it had maintained a covert nuclear weapons program -- in violation of a 1994 accord with the U.S -- combined with open hostility from the White House, has escalated the crisis. North Korea's expulsion of U.N. weapons inspectors and the reopening of its plutonium producing reactor at Yongbyon, has provoked condemnation from the International Atomic Energy Agency which warned that if Pyongyang does not change course, economic sanctions could be applied.
South Korean president Kim Dae-jung won a Nobel prize, in part, for initiating his "sunshine" policy toward North Korea. The effort to ease tensions and normalize relations between the Koreas was supported by the Clinton administration which signed a 1994 accord with the North to supply fuel oil and two light water nuclear reactors in exchange for Pyongyang's pledge to halt development of nuclear weapons. But upon taking office, President Bush withdrew support for normalization and remained inconsistent in its willingness to talk with the Communist North.
Despite the crisis, South Korea's president-elect Roh Moon-hyun speaks for many of his citizens when he advocates a more moderate approach in dealing with the North than Washington. Growing hostility to the U.S. in South Korea stems from the perceived arrogance of a superpower and violence committed against civilians by some of the 37,000 U.S. servicemen stationed there. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Karin Lee of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, who examines the roots of the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Contact the Friends Committee on National Legislation by calling (202) 547-6000 or visit their Web site at www.fcnl.org
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