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PacNet #21 – Is the U.S. Really an Obstacle to Inter-Korean Dialogue?

Almost one year following Kim Dae-jung’s historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-il, the most obvious area of inter-Korean agreement these days is the mistaken idea that the new Bush administration’s North Korea policy review is the cause of the temporary stalemate in inter-Korean dialogue. President Kim Dae-jung has urged the United States to re-engage with North Korea, and Kim Jong-il stated during discussions with EU Chairman Goran Persson in early May that the DPRK must wait for the outcome of the Bush policy review before resuming inter-Korean dialogue. The outcome of the Bush administration’s policy review will surely be a major subject on the agenda of senior Japanese, Korean, and Bush administration officials as they meet this weekend in Hawaii. However, inter-Korean dialogue faces many problems that renewed U.S.-DPRK negotiations will be unable to resolve.