Correcting Paul Kim on Korea
...Paul Kim's Statements on the Facts and Background of North Korean Issues The 2003 January 10 edition of The Washington Post carried a story entitled, North Korea: South Korean Perspective, which was the transcript of an NPR question and answer session with Paul Kim, Former Director of the Korean-American Peace Institute. Kim
made several answers that were blatantly incorrect.In fact, the type of misinformation and complete disregard for facts is exactly the type of pseudo-journalism in South Korea that causes confusion and spreads anti-Americanism - some correction is called for.
Question: "[Are recent North Korean actions] simply a case of Korean pride run amok?… Is this whole nuclear threat based on the North Korean's "hurt feelings" that the rest of the world doesn't treat them with the respect that they think they deserve?" Paul Kim
: "…They feel they have not been heard by the Bush Administration so they are trying to send a signal." AreaStudies.Org
: No, North Korea does not like the answer of the Bush administration - they do not like being held accountable for their actions, something Clinton and Kim Dae Jung had been - and now Rho Moo-hyun is - unwilling to address.The difference is significant.
Question: "Don't most Koreans realize that this anti-American feeling that they're fostering is somewhat juvenile, extremely hypocritical and ultimately very dangerous?…" Paul Kim
: "… I think it is not helpful to just label Koreans "juvenile" or "hypocritical."Relationships between countries are always changing; and especially when it is felt that a "foreign" country is above "law", any red-blooded American would be up in arms.Korean people are some of the most literate and well-read; and recent American policies on Korean peninsula are seen as arbitrary and perhaps not to be best interest of Korean people.The way for American policy is to persuade the Koreans that this isn't so: that we have their best interest in heart as well as our own security concerns." AreaStudies.Org
: First, very many Koreans have been juvenile and hypocritical - death threats over speed skating and jokes by Jay Leno?The first step in correcting a problem is admitting to it, yet Kim
is in denial.
...Paul Kim: "…North Korea sees the US as its biggest threat, especially after 9/11 when President Bush named North Korea a member of the "axis of evil".
When that happened, North Korea took that as a sign that US was not interested in following the guidelines of the 1994 Agreed Framework which was to lead to a political reconciliation between the US and North Korea (NK)… But they want to be guaranteed that US will not attack them, and being named a member of the "axis of evil" does not guarantee them that." AreaStudies.Org
: Paul Kim
irresponsibly dismisses the possible reasons as to why North Korea might feel threatened.
: "The recent show of "anti-Americanism" perhaps is a reflection of this sense: that US policy in Korea is geared towards fulfilling American interests, without taking in South Korean interests.For example, when President Bush came in office, one of the first things he did was to disparage President Kim Dae Jung's "sunshine policy," without realizing fully what it would mean… Washington's politics, which sways from calling North Korea an axis of evil and then says they do not have any intention of attacking them.
The problem with Kim's
above statement is that the Bush administration fully realized that the Sunshine Policy has failed because North Korea has rejected it; the South Koreans still, for the most part, fail to realize this.Finally, saying the North is evil does not mean one will attack.If that were so, the North would have already attacked the South a thousand times over.The implication Kim
makes above is completely absurd at best.
Question: "How much of the current situation is because of the new Korean administration and a general desire for reconciliation with the North, and how much of it is a result of specific incidents involving US soldiers, like the traffic accident where two people were run over?" Paul Kim
: "… I think the tension between US and ROK goes back at least 10 years.
completely misses the gist of U.S. policy toward the North: if other nations want to reconcile with North Korea or not is not the point - the North Korean response is.
: "I'm not sure how you can make that kind of a judgment.The 1994 Agreed Framework was working well.
dismisses that fact.
: "…This current round is about equality in relationship.And it seems to me Washington and Seoul should see themselves as equals.Seoul should be treated like Tokyo.But as of now, at least among many policy makers, there is a tendency to treat Korea as a Cold War outpost."AreaStudies.Org
is unable to answer the question, and instead side-steps it.The answer is that the anti-Americanism will not "go away" until South Korean society matures.The recent demonstrations have made this point painfully clear.Many Koreans call for the SOFA to be revised to be fairer to Korea - like the U.S.-Japan SOFA.What the fail to realize is that the sections they want revised are already the same as the U.S.-Japan SOFA.Kim
makes a similar mistake by comparing U.S.-Japanese relations to U.S.-Korean relations.
: "From having visited there, it isn't a matter of being brainwashed (perhaps the level of being brainwashed by billion dollars worth of ads has greater impact on us), but living in a society that is fairly regimented.