pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

PacNet #44A – North Koreans for Kerry: Be Careful What You Wish For

In their first presidential debate, President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry gave the issue of U.S. policy toward North Korea an unexpectedly high profile. In the process, this complex and difficult crisis was dumbed down to two contrasting slogans: bilateral talks vs. multilateral talks. Presuming this simplistic contrast indeed represents the primary difference between the two candidates’ positions, it isn’t unrealistic to presume that the North Korean leadership, and possibly other countries in the region that have been frustrated by our failure to make progress on this issue, would like to see Kerry elected. At a minimum, the Kerry camp’s expressed willingness to try a new approach is likely seen to hold forth the promise of breaking the current stalemate.