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Full Access Negotiating the Cold War: The United States and the Two Koreas

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Negotiating the Cold War: The United States and the Two Koreas

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

Since December 1997, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States have met in a series of talks aimed at promoting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region. According to a November 1998 U.S. Department of Defense report, the discussions have created a “diplomatic venue for reducing tensions and ultimately replacing the Armistice Agreement with a permanent peace settlement.”1 Amidst the tragic human suffering which has occurred in North Korea, there have been some encouraging developments on the peninsula. The 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea placed international controls on North Korea’s atomic energy program and cautiously anticipated the normalization of U.S.-DPRK relations. Since assuming power in early 1998, South Korean President Kim Dae Jung has vigorously pursued a policy of engagement with P’yo¨ngyang, known as the “sunshine policy.” Over the past decade, North Korea has also reoriented its foreign policy. In the early 1990s, the regime’s social and economic crisis led to a rethinking of its autarkic economic system. By early 1994, the state had created new free trade zones and relatively open foreign investment laws.2 By complying with the Agreed Framework, the DPRK has also shown a willingness to work with the international community on sensitive issues affecting its internal sovereignty and ability to project power beyond its borders.


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