In this Oct. 23, 2000, record photo, North oriental Leader Kim Jong Il, right, and also U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, left, walk in the direction of a conference room at the Pae Kha Hawon Guest house in Pyongyang, phibìc Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Declassified Records describe U.S. And also South oriental Shifting see of the North

Kim Young Sam: “I would certainly not to trust North Korea regardless of an agreement”

Kim Dae Jung: “If they don’t change, castle simply have no future”

Albright went from see Kim Jong Il as “strange, moody and also hypersensitive” come “practical, pragmatic, decisive, and non-ideological”


Kim Jong Il, left, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the Pae Kha Hawon Guest residence in Pyongyang on October 23, 2000. (David Guttenfelder, The linked Press) 



South Korea’s Kim Dae Jung poses v the North’s Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang. (S009/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)



U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Robert Gallucci (center) and also representatives of Japan and South Korea at the signing that the KEDO treaty. (Jon Levy, AFP via Getty Images) 



President Clinton meets through William Perry, the previous secretary of defense that led a an essential review the U.S.-North Korea policies and also served as special envoy come Pyongyang. (The william J. Perry Project) 



Washington, D.C., June 18, 2020 – American and also South korean assessments the North oriental dictator Kim Jong Il shifted during the food of negotiations in the 1990s over the North’s controversial atom program, according to newly declassified documents derived under the freedom of details Act and posted now by the nongovernmental national Security Archive in ~ The George Washington University. Successive South korean leaders i agree on the grave hazard that would be do if Pyongyang violated atom agreements but emphasized differing perspectives, native deep mistrust to a much more confident feeling that Seoul had actually the benefit of time.

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On the American side, the documents present Secretary of State Madeleine Albright express a an extremely different understanding of the North korean leader ~ meeting through him in October 2000. No longer seeing him together “strange, moody and also hypersensitive,” she take it the cautiously optimistic view the he may actually be an ext “practical, pragmatic, decisive, and non-ideological” 보다 the U.S. Had actually realized.

Today’s posting build on a collection of earlier National security Archive E-books, most recently this repertoire from December 2017 top top engaging phibìc Korea. Together, the materials provide detailed insights right into Pyongyang’s motivations, intentions, and negotiating styles, how Washington and also Seoul viewed the threats from the North and the opportunities occurring from the i agreeed Framework, and the myriad problems that encumbered the negotiating process.

Among the obstacles Clinton management officials challenged along the method were determining whether Pyongyang had violated the commitment by structure an underground nuclear facility; mitigating Kim Young Sam’s “neuralgia toward Japan” i beg your pardon hindered attempts in ~ a tripartite technique to the issue; and working come avert a Russian market of light water reactors to phibìc Korea.

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The Clinton management and the 2 Koreas (Continued)

By Robert A. Wampler, Ph.D.

This document posting provides brand-new documents ~ above the Clinton Administration’s initiatives to communicate with phibìc Korea ~ above the worries of its nuclear weapons and missile programs, and also U.S. Moves to lay the basis because that an overall development in relationships with Pyongyang throughout Clinton’s second term. As recent occasions have shown, also a an international pandemic has not prevented phibìc Korea indigenous finding means to insert itself into the news, from the mysterious disappearance and resurfacing that Kim Jong Un come the current North oriental threats come send troops into the Demilitarized Zone and also the devastation of a liaison office in ~ Kaesong. Media reports have tied these occasions to a higher-profile role for Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, in windy affairs concerning inter-Korean relations..

Occurring two decades earlier and earlier, the negotiations discussed in these documents, in addition to those exit in an earlier posting native December 2017 hoped to remove the hazard posed by phibìc Korea come security and also stability on the peninsula and in the wider region. The historic context because that these records is debated in the 2017 posting’s essay. As that essay notes, the promise that the Clinton era’s diplomacy would prove to it is in unfulfilled. Conference suspicions around the administration’s phibìc Korea policies would quickly be copy by the George W. Shrub administration’s transition to a an ext confrontational approach, which uncovered justification in the 2002 discovery that North Korea had actually resumed its nuclear weapons program in violation that the 1994 agreement.

The records in today’s article shed added light top top U.S. Efforts to persuade North Korea to embrace a different course in its relationships with Washington and Seoul the would remove the threats posed by its nuclear and also missile programs, name: coordinates its phibìc Korea policies with south Korea and also Russia, advance the dialogue in between North and also South Korea and lay the basis because that Pyongyang to move towards normalized connections with the U.S. They fall into 2 groups: the talks leading to the 1994 Agreed framework to halt north Korea’s atom program, and the follow-on initiatives in 1998-2000 relating come missiles. In the latter case, the idea was to construct on an covenant to rein in Pyongyang’s missile program and also establish the measures needed come secure an ext normal connections with the U.S. And also South Korea, finishing in Secretary the State Madeleine Albright’s historic trip come Pyongyang in 2000. Because that the an initial period, the account in Going Critical: The first North korean Nuclear Crisis by Robert Gallucci, Daniel Poneman, and Joel Wit remains the best and also most in-depth narrative account the the U.S. Diplomatic initiative that caused the1994 frame Agreement.<1> The 1993-1994 papers posted below are the result of the Archive’s initiative to certain declassification of the papers the authors attracted on in creating Going Critical.

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The first group of papers posted this day underscores the obstacles the U.S. Faced on 2 fronts in that is diplomatic efforts: handling South oriental president Kim Young Sam’s deep-rooted mistrust of phibìc Korea, and also deflecting Russian attention in providing light water reactors to north Korea as component of the framework Agreement. The memoranda the telephone conversation in between Clinton and the South oriental president in i m sorry they debated the Geneva talks in between the U.S and also North Korea show Kim Young Sam repeatedly pressing Clinton around the hazards of trusting phibìc Korea, bluntly warning the “Any commitment they make can’t it is in relied on. . . . Us can’t really trust them. . .” Kim take it every chance to stress the essential need for a south Korean role in pursuing North-South dialogue, which additionally reflected concerns that the U.S. Would seek a separate bilateral commitment with Pyongyang the left out Seoul. Kim Young Sam was likewise apparently an obstacle to nearby trilateral plan coordination in between the U.S., south Korea and also Japan on north Korea, provided U.S. Ambassador to Japan Stephen Bosworth’s comment that the South oriental leader’s “neuralgia” towards Japan made “tripartite thinking tough for him.” Ambassador Robert Gallucci’s briefings because that the Russians on the Geneva talks show another diplomatic former that forced some finesse, as he operated to head off any kind of effort by Moscow to press for the selection of Russian irradiate water reactors to supply phibìc Korea’s power requirements as component of the 1994 agreement. Together Gallucci called the Russians, “Only South korean reactors, financed greatly by Seoul through some help from Tokyo, passed the test . . . That any light water reactor package had to it is in politically, technically and financially viable.” The require for the U.S., southern Korea and Japan to bring out your LWR commitments to phibìc Korea to be underscored through Clinton in a meeting with the south Korean and Japanese leaders, when he warned the “We don’t want to offer North Korea an excuse not to save its word,” a warning that would certainly prove prescient.

The 2nd group of papers dating indigenous 1998 to 2000 shows exactly how U.S. Diplomacy had actually to attend to a different set of views toward engagement v North Korea expressed by South oriental president Kim Dae Jung; secure Congressional support for the brand-new course in north Korea policy laid the end by the Perry report; and evaluate the brand-new perspective on north Korea listed by Secretary Albright’s visit come Pyongyang. Kim Dae Jung’s Sunshine plan sought to give North Korea incentives to take on a more positive method to North-South relations and also engagement with the wider world. Behind this approach were presumptions that time to be on the side of southern Korea and the U.S. Through regard come the prospects because that reform under Kim Jong Il, chairman Kim believed that there was a possibility of real adjust in phibìc Korea within the next few years, due to the fact that “if they don’t change, lock simply have no future.” chairman Kim additionally saw no need for undue haste in link with reaction to intelligence reports the North Korea might have a an enig underground atom facility in violation the the 1994 agreement. Chairman Kim and also his senior advisors felt that a North oriental nuclear threat occurring from the suspected mystery underground facility would certainly not materialize for number of years, giving time for southern Korea to offer North Korea a high stake in peace. If this hope failed come materialize, Seoul felt there would certainly be adequate time to transaction diplomatically and militarily v the danger “before it i do not care lethal.”

The Clinton administration’s North korean policies sought to temper careful optimism through realism. As Gallucci called the Russians at one point, he known that there to be a school of thought that Pyongyang was simply stalling in the talks, however as a negotiator he had actually to test the optimistic assumption that they were seriously negotiating. Albright do a comparable comment come Clinton in an august 1999 memorandum recommending that he communicate in an individual diplomacy v Congress come secure its assistance for the plans laid out in the Perry Report, particularly the easing of sanctions if north Korea took certain steps to rein in that missile program and exports. She admitted the “one have the right to never recognize what to mean with the north Koreans,” and so they have to be prepared for the downside. Still, she was more hopeful 보다 in a long time, and so they need to “put every our piece in location so the our Congress and also our allies carry out us the room and support to pursue the upside.” Albright found additional grounds because that this careful optimism v her discussions with Kim Jong Il and also his an elderly aides in phibìc Korea in October 2000, as she provided in her different briefings because that South oriental president Kim Dae Jung and also the Japanese international minister complying with her trip to north Korea. Based on her meetings there, she realized the the U.S. Had until now failed to know what form of human being he yes, really was, which to be in contrast to the welcomed view the him together “strange, moody and hypersensitive.” Now, agreeing with Kim Dae Jung that their earlier assessment the the North korean leader to be wrong, Albright witnessed Kim Jong Il as “practical, pragmatic, decisive, and non-ideological.” Still, as Albright said the press that “she was not born yesterday, and also that she glasses were not rose-tinted.”