Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Global Views
Restart of U.S.-DPRK Negotiations
Special Contribution
By Victor Cha
CSIS Korea Chair
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il

The United States will announce a return to dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The next meeting will take place in Geneva. This follows a first round of dialogue between the Obama administration and the DPRK in late July 2011 in New York City. At the same time, the United States will announce that Special Envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth will step down and will be replaced by Glyn Davies.

Q1: What does the Obama administration want North Korea to do at this stage?

A1: The administration has laid out a series of “pre-steps” it would like to see from the North before returning to the Six-Party Talks. These include a reaffirmation of North Korean support for the denuclearization pledges in the 2005 agreement; a freeze on all activities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex; a freeze and international inspection of the uranium enrichment facility; a nuclear and missile test moratorium; and a pledge not to attack South Korea again.

Q2: Why is the administration returning to dialogue?

A2: Presumably to see whether the North is amenable to taking any of these steps. This is the second set of bilateral talks. The first was in July 2011 in New York. Outwardly, there is nothing that the North has done during the Obama administration to give the impression that it is committed to denuclearization. While the administration will deem these “exploratory talks,” they will widely be seen as a return to negotiations. Moreover, holding out the Six-Party Talks as the main purpose of these preliminary discussions is a bit of a red herring—the North would prefer bilateral talks with the United States to Six-Party Talks always.

Q3: Why Geneva?

A3: Geneva was the site of the Clinton administration’s bilateral talks with the North that led to the 1994 denuclearization agreement. It was also the site of one set of the Bush administration’s talks with North Korea in October 2007. The North Koreans like two sites in Europe: Geneva and Berlin, where they have better embassy support than at other embassies around the world.

Q4: What is the meaning of the change of team?

A4: Both Glyn Davies and Ford Hart, the new special envoy for the Six-Party Talks, are State Department veterans and career diplomats. Putting these two in charge is probably aimed at depoliticizing the policy by avoiding outside appointments. While both are Asia specialists, they have no real previous experience in Korea and none whatsoever in North Korea. Yet both are quick studies, and it won’t take them long to figure out that the North is not serious about denuclearization.

Q5: If denuclearization is not possible, then why engage? What is the objective here?

A5: North Korea leaves you only with bad and worse options. Avoiding dialogue only promises a runaway nuclear program and more provocations. If these lead to South Korean retaliation, then you have a full-blown crisis on the peninsula. A CSIS study found that negotiations do reduce the DPRK potential to provoke. Thus, dialogue may not get denuclearization, but it does help to manage the situation, avert a crisis (in an election year), and possibly offer small victories in freezing elements of the program. It’s not great, but it may be all we can hope for.

Victor D. Cha holds the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

Critical Questions is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).

For more information about Critical Questions or CSIS policy experts, please contact Andrew Schwartz,, (202) 775-3242 or Ryan Sickles,, (202) 775-3140.

Related Articles
    Continued Expansion and Upgrade Work at ...
    The Burgeoning North Korea Missile Threat
    No Significant Activity Observed in N. Korea's ...
    Sharp Focus: A Unique View of the Sinpo ...
    Sharp Focus: A Unique View of the Mayang-do ...
    Sinpo South Shipyard Update: North Korea Moves ...
    N. Korea Shows Signs of Reprocessing Activity ...
    Business as Usual: North Korea Restarts ...
    Two Years since Singapore: Did Kim Outplay ...
    Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant Remains ...
    Singapore Summit Assessed by Victor Cha
    N. Korea Announces Successful Hydrogen Bomb ...
    Reports of Another High-Level Execution in ...
    US President Obama to Visit S. Korea April ...
    North Korea Abducts American Senior Citizen
    S. Korea President Park Geun-Hye Holds Summit ...
    N. Korea Threatens to Strike the United States
    CSIS Korean Chair Victor Cha Analyzes North ...
    South Korea Elects President Park Geun-Hye
    North Korea’s Successful Rocket Launch
    North Korea’s Second Rocket Launch in 2012
    Shake-up in Pyongyang
    The Death of the DPRK Leader
    S. Korea Wins Bid to Host 2018 Winter Olympics
    Beijing Acts Like North Korea's Defense Lawyer ...
    "America's First Pacific President" Attends ...
    Succession in North Korea
    Jimmy Carter’s Mission to North Korea
    The Aftermath of the Cheonan
    North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il’s Visit to ...
    The Sinking of the ROK Navy Vessel Cheonan
    Obama's North Korea Conundrum"
    Pyongyang Deserves Same Treatment as Seoul
    "Seoul Government Needs to Conduct Its Own ...

Other Articles by Prof. Victor Cha
     Continued Expansion and Upgrade Work at ...
     The Burgeoning North Korea Missile Threat
     Biden-Moon Summit: Rejuvenating and ...
     Sinpo South Shipyard Update: North Korea ...
     N. Korea Shows Signs of Reprocessing ...

Dr. Victor Cha is Korea Chair of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). He earned his MA from Oxford, and Ph.D. from Columbia. Many books he authored include the award-winning author of "Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle." As prolific writers of articles on int'l relations in such journals as Foreign Affairs and The Washington Quarterly, he also interacts frequently with CNN, NYT, and Washington Post as well as Korean media.






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange