Park gets diplomatic, security recommendations

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Park gets diplomatic, security recommendations


Twenty six local experts have laid out 23 challenges for incoming president Park Geun-hye in North Korean affairs and other security issues, along with recommendations on how to deal with them.

The experts, including two members of the president-elect’s transition team, will publish a report entitled “NEAR Watch Report” on Friday.

“Since April, we have worked on solutions for diplomatic and national defense issues that the next administration will face,” said Chung Duck-koo, chairman of the Northeast Asia Foundation, who led the project. “We are planning to submit the report as a reference for Park’s transition team.”

One of the key issues is the next government’s policy goals in regards to North Korea. The experts said in the report that they studied sets of choices, such as should maintaining the status quo on the peninsula versus changing it and management of a divided Korean Peninsula versus preparing for unification.

They propose four final goals to the new administration: Ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, forging a system for peace on the peninsula, institutionalizing polices to boost inter-Korean cooperation and urging Pyongyang to change its communist system.

They said in the report that these four goals should be carried out simultaneously.

As for drastic changes under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, they said there was a “low possibility.” Given the fact that the regime has succeeded in sealing itself off from outside world, they say it’s hard to predict its collapse.

They said the South’s government needs to build up more information, diplomatic channels and leverage than China in figuring out what’s going on in North Korea, so that the South could achieve superiority in dealing with Northern affairs.

To encourage Pyongyang to open up its economy, they urged the new administration to change its perspective.

They pointed out that administrations in Seoul have been wary of bilateral interactions between Pyongyang and Beijing. The new administration should create economic schemes to develop trilateral relations among Seoul, Pyongyang and Beijing, which could bring comprehensive change from the North Korean regime.

Regarding the 60-year-old U.S.-South Korea alliance and bilateral relations between Seoul and Beijing, they advised the new president to prevent any military confrontation between the two Koreas from growing into a conflict between Washington and Beijing.

Reaffirming the U.S.-Korea alliance shouldn’t target Beijing, they said, and advised against refusing or postponing joining the missile-defense system of the United States.

They added suggestions on other diplomatic issues, too. They proposed starting an era of four-way economic cooperation among Seoul, Pyongyang, Beijing and Moscow; turning the East Asia Foundation that was supposed to handle historic matters into a future-oriented organization; launching a joint diplomatic bureau and a diplomatic policy office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

By Chang Se-jeong []
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