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Negotiating With North Korea: Lessons Learned And Forgotten

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Chapter Summary

The experience gained from dealing with North Korea from 1993-2000 is largely forgotten. During those years, the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) logged thousands of hours of contact. The inability of most observers to remember the legacy of these contacts is the central reason for the sterile nature of diplomacy since 2001. Conventional wisdom remains the same: It is impossible to deal with the North Koreans. A large percentage of those talks ended in agreements, almost all of which went beyond the declaratory stage to concrete implementation. The range of subjects expanded, moving past the 1994 Agreed Framework and finally culminating in the October 2000 US-DPRK Joint Communiqué, which laid a foundation for new progress. Nevertheless, lessons were learned and put to good use. These lessons the new administration discarded in favor of its own mythology when it took office in January 2001.

Keywords: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK); North Korea; US



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