Hopes that Pyongyang Will Better Seoul

Aug 30,2000

It took 14 years for South Korea and Japan to normalize relations, with the two sides beginning their preparatory talks in 1951 and concluding the Korea-Japan Basic Relations Treaty in 1965. On the other hand, the negotiations between North Korea and Japan first began in 1991, but broke off in the following year, and have now resumed after an eight-year suspension.

How thorny is the road that lies ahead for these negotiations? Together with North Korea's establishment of official ties with the United States and the normalization of relations between the North and Japan, these talks with Japan are an essential condition for completely resolving the Korean Peninsula issue.

There are both similarities and differences between the ROK-Japan negotiations of the 1950s and 60s, and the DPRK-Japan negotiations which are now underway.

One of the similarities is that the Kim Jong-il regime is counting on compensation from Japan as a key financial resource for rehabilitating the North Korean economy--just as the Park Chung-hee administration in South Korea did in the past. Accordingly, the key similarity lies in the fact that, however unconcerned and obstinate it may appear to be, the North is probably desperate for an early conclusion of the negotiations as it looks forward to the ensuing benefits. The Gross National Product (GNP) of South Korea in 1965 was 3 billion dollars. North Korea's GNP reached 12.6 billion dollars in 1998. Taking inflation into account, the economic conditions of South Korea back then and today's North Korea are similar, at least in statistical terms.

South Korea received about 300 million dollars in non-obligatory capital and services, and an additional 200 million dollars in an obligatory loan from Japan, based on the 1962 secret agreement between then director of South Korea's Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Jong-pil, and Japan's former minister of foreign affairs, Ohira Masayoshi. In terms of actual buying power, the sum is equivalent to 2.27 billion U.S. dollars in today's currency. It was an outrageously petty sum as remuneration for 36 years of "slavery." Today, North Korea is demanding up to 10 billion dollars in compensation, but Japan is remaining resolutely silent on the issue.

The greatest difference between the ROK-Japan negotiations and the ongoing DPRK-Japan negotiations is that the former had been strongly influenced by interference and pressure from the United States, whereas there is none in the latter. A Japanese daily newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun, recently reported on the contents of official U.S. government records that attest to the deep U.S. involvement in the ROK-Japan negotiations. According to the documents obtained by Asahi, the negotiations between South Korea and Japan were so affected by U.S. pressure that they were more like tripartite, rather than bilateral, negotiations.

At the time, Cold War tensions were at their highest and the United States was expanding its involvement in the Vietnam War. South Korea was dispatching its troops to Vietnam and Japan was serving as a rear base for U.S. Forces. The United States desperately needed both Korea and Japan, two of its most important allies in Asia, to resolve past conflicts and normalize relations. This was why the United States decided to actively exercise its influence.

As for compensation, which was the key point at issue in the negotiations between South Korea and Japan, the South demanded 800 million dollars, but Japan proposed a mere 50 million. It was the United States who arbitrated the deal. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Averell Harriman met with the Japanese prime minister, Ikeda Hayato, in Tokyo in 1962 and advised him to agree to, in the least, half the amount demanded by the South. During a meeting at the United Nations, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk also pressed Minister Ohira to raise the non-obligatory grant to 300 million dollars. In return for this increase, President Park Chung-hee decided to accept the bilateral treaty to deal with "problems concerning property and claims and economic cooperation," rather than Korea's national claim rights, an expression which Japan strongly opposed.

It was also the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Edwin Reischauer, who talked Japan into changing its mind when it refused to apologize to Korea for past atrocities. In 1964, the ambassador met with the minister of foreign affairs of Japan, Shiina Setsusaburo, and persuaded him that Japan should display a degree of magnanimity by apologizing for the past. This ultimately led to Shiina's visit to Seoul in 1965 and his indication of "deep regrets" for Japan's actions in the past. The development paved the way for the conclusion of the Korea-Japan Basic Relations Treaty and of four other accords.

Today, North Korea is conducting its negotiations with Japan without any external assistance, or interference. Watching this process, we in the South feel torn between two conflicting points. On one side, we hope for a speedy normalization of DPRK-Japan relations, which will be one of the important links in resolving issues on the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, we also hope that the North gleans a valuable lesson from South Korea's rash normalization of relations with Japan 35 years ago, so that the North may conclude the negotiations in such a manner that leaves nothing to be desired - in obtaining a full apology and appropriate compensation from Japan. It is in this vein that we are sparing no applause for Chairman Kim Jong-il's firm resolve to declare that the North, even though it may be suffering from its worst economic depression ever, will uphold the honor and pride of a sovereign state in negotiating with Japan.

by Kim Young-hei

北日협상에 거는 기대

한국과 일본이 국교를 정상화 하기까지는 1951년의 예비회담 시작에서 65년 한일기본조약 체결까지 14년이 걸렸다.1991년 시작됐다가 이듬해 결렬된 이후 8년만에 재개된 북한과 일본의 수교협상은 앞으로 어떤 험난한 길을 걸을 것인가.북일수교는 북미수교와 함께 한반도문제의 완전한 해결을 위해서는 비켜갈수 없는 조건의 하나다.
 50년대와 60년대의 한일협상과 오늘의 북일협상에는 그결과를 좌우할 정도의 닮은점과 다른점이 있다.
 닮은점은 그때의 박정희(朴正熙)정권의 경우가 그랬던것 같이 지금의 김정일(金正日)정권도 북한의 경제를 살리는 계획에 일본으로부터 받을 배상(賠償)을 재원(財源)의 큰몫으로 계산하고 있고,따라서 겉으로 보이는 표정과는 달리 "잿밥"을 위해서 조기타결을 갈망하고 있다는 점이다.1965년 한국의 국민총생산은 30억달러였고 98년도 북한의 그것은 1백26억달러다.물가지수의 상승을 감안하면 숫자상으로는 그때의 한국과 오늘의 북한의 경제사정이 비슷하다.
 한국은 김종필(金鍾泌)중앙정보장과 오히라(大平正芳)일본외상간의 1962년 밀약에 따라 3억달러의 상당의 물자 및 서비스와 2억달러의 차관(借款)을 받았다.한국은행에 따르면 그때의 5억달러를 물가지수 상승을 기준으로 계산하면 오늘의 22억7천만달러에 해당한다.36년간의 "노예생활"에 대한 댓가로는 천인공노(天人共怒)할 액수다.지금 북한은 50억달러에서 1백억달러의 배상을 기대하고 일본은 배상액수에 관해서 굳게 입을 다물고 있다.  
 한일협상과 북일협상의 가장 큰 다른점은 한국과 일본에 대한 미국의 간섭과 압력의 있고 없고다.일본의 아사히신분(朝日新聞)은 최근 한일수교협상에 미국이 깊이 개입한 미국정부의 공식기록들을 보도했다.아사히가 입수한 기록을 보면 한일수교협상은 한미일 3각협상이라고 부르는 것이 더 정확할 정도로 미국의 압력에 크게 좌우되었다.
 냉전이 절정에 달했던 그당시 미국은 베트남에서 전쟁을 확대하고 있었다.한국은 베트남에 군대를 보내고 일본은 미국의 후방기지의 역할을 할때였다.미국에게는 아시아에서 가장 중요한 두개의 동맹국인 한국과 일본이 과거를 청산하고 관계를 정상화하는 것이 절실했다.그래서 미국은 영향력을 적극 행사했다.
 한일협상의 핵심쟁점이던 배상문제에서 한국은 8억달러를 요구하고 일본은 5천만달러를 제시했다.그걸 중재한것이 미국이다.62년 애버럴 해리먼 극동담당 국무차관보는 도쿄에서 이케다(池田勇人)총리에게 한국이 요구한 액수의 절반을 수락하라고 종용했다.러스크 국무장관은 유엔에서 오히라 외상에게 무상을 3억달러로 올리라고 압력을 넣었다.그대신 박대통령은 일본이 거부하는 청구권이라는 명칭대신 재산청구권의 해결과 경제협력이라는 표현을 받아들였다.
 과거문제에서도 사죄에 반대하던 일본을 설득한것은 라이샤워 미국대사였다.그는 1964년 시이나(椎名悅三朗)외상을 만나 과거에 대한 사죄로 일본의 큰 도량(度量)을 보여주라고 타일렀다.결국 시이나의 65년 서울방문과 과거에 대한"깊은 반성"이 성사되고,그것을 바탕으로 한일기본조약과 4개의 협정이 체결됐다.
 북한은 외부지원없이 주체적으로 일본과 협상을 하고있다.북일수교협상을 보는 우리의 입장은 두갈래다.한반도문제 해결의 중요한 고리의 하나로 북일관계의 조속한 정상화를 바라면서도,제발 북한만은 35년전 한일 졸속수교를 타산지석(他山之石)으로 삼아 사죄와 배상에서 후회없는 협상을 할것을 기대한다.최악의 경제사정 아래서도 북한은 북일협상에서 주권국가의 명예와 자존심을 지키겠다고 말한 김정일위원장의 결의(決意)에 아낌없는 갈채를 보내는 것도 그런 심정에서다.

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