Next Up, North Korea and Kim Jong-Il...
Recently, the Democratic People's
Mr. Roh is currently legal adviser to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, international consortium created in 1995 to advance an agreement with
Why do you think the DPRK is pursuing its nuclear development program? Out of insecurity, as a symbolic gesture of power? Out of desire for future conquest? Or a genuine interest in creating a new source of energy?
All of the above, but more so the first two reasons. What
In any event, with the end of the Cold War, the warming of relations between the
Based on your answer to the first question, do you think the DPRK constitutes a serious threat to
Yes, but the threat to the ROK lies more with conventional weapons than nuclear ones. The North Koreans have also shown that they possess the missile technology to fly past
What do you think the DPRK's silence during the recent war in
The DPRK followed the Gulf War II with great interest since one of their fellow members of the "axis of evil" is on the receiving end. The
What role have you most recently played in the KEDO negotiations?
In the past three years, I have traveled to North Korea four times to negotiate a nuclear liability protocol that spells out the responsibilities of North Korea for compensation to its neighbors in the event of a catastrophic nuclear accident (example: Chernobyl). As a member of the ROK delegation to KEDO, I have been providing counsel on nuclear liability and domestic North Korean law issues as they pertain to the protocol. For example, how are countries such as the ROK,
Towards what end do you feel the KEDO talks should be working?
Everything is on hold at the moment. It is hard to predict what the outcome of the nuclear standoff will be and how this will affect KEDO's future but, ultimately, the scope of KEDO's work must be squarely addressed.
Is it likely that an independent legal system will develop in the DPRK
without outside pressure?
No. Although North Korea has been experimenting with foreign investment laws since 1984 and has carved out separate laws pertaining solely to foreign investment, it is clear that the notion of Juche (self reliance) and preserving the unique brand of North Korean socialism will prevail over self imposed change. I also doubt that the DPRK would cave in to outside pressure to change its legal system. The sure but slow process is to convince the North Koreans that it is in their interest to create a more globally acceptable legal system. The only way to reach that goal is through depriving them of the much needed capital, technology, food, etc. that they otherwise would have full access to.
In your estimation, is the DPRK a doomed regime?
I can't speak for the regime, but I can say that the country, North Korea, is not doomed. The leadership in North Korea has to understand (and quickly) that we live in a very different world since 9/11. The willingness of the United States to go after rogue regimes and effect regime change must surely be in the mind of Kim Jong Il as he ponders his next move. I hope he makes a wise decision.