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Colin Powell Once Proposed Peaceful Regime Change in North Korea

Colin Powell Once Proposed Peaceful Regime Change in North Korea

Posted December. 24, 2004 22:28,   

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According to Michael Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute on December 23, the U.S. Department of State decided on peaceful regime change for North Korea as its policy goal prior to the third round of six-party talks in June this year, but this was excluded in the process of obtaining President George W. Bush’s approval.

Horowitz said this, citing words of a high official of the U.S. Department of State, after finishing an explanatory meeting on foreign policy towards North Korea at the Hudson Institute, located in Washington, D.C.

State of the White House Meeting –

According to Horowitz, Secretary of State Colin Powell reported a solution to the North Korean nuclear issue (a June proposal) including “seeking peaceful regime change” to President Bush at the White House on June 22 prior to the third round of six-party talks. However, the White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said, “It is better to exclude that content.” President Bush accepted this and crossed it out in thick pen right away.

It is not known that the elimination opinion raised by Condoleezza Rice means either she opposes the regime change itself or it is due to concerns about making waves externally.

However, the New York Times reported the following day of the meeting, on June 23, that “the U.S. decided to suggest either a military attack against North Korea or a provisional security guarantee that it would not topple the Kim Jong Il regime in the third round of six-party talks.”

A Connotative Sense–

The official U.S. policy keynote is regime transformation of North Korea. This is what Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said in public to Korean ruling and opposition party members who visited Washington, D.C. in early December. The U.S. will not try to change the North Korean regime through military attack like the Iraqi Saddam Hussein regime, but plans to induce North Korea to establish its democratic leadership by itself by convincing North Korea of the practical benefits of opening its doors to the world community.

A South Korean government official explained this, saying, “The idea of regime change didn’t came out all of sudden since the U.S. explained that it has no intention of changing the Kim Jong Il regime by force two years ago.”

However, it is possible to interpret that if the elimination opinion of National Security Advisor Rice was due to concerns about making external waves, the regime change that Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley mentioned would have been just another expression of “peaceful regime change,” which was included in the June proposal of Secretary of State Colin Powell.



Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com