FACTORS DRIVING NORTH KOREA'S BEHAVIOR

Created: 3/1/1984

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Throughoutear wtP*yongyam to prw its propaganda offensive on Ihe talks issue. Wc believe, however, thai trends will continue to work against Pyongyang, resaluiig inmore belated and frustrated leadership whose willingness to take risks will increase. The tear or two leading up to ibe sanamer Olympic Game* in Seoul8 could be adangeroas time. We cannot rale out other North Korean untwist or labversive acts in the more immediate future to capiulircnique opportunity such as lhat presented in Rangoon. In turn, the outlook isorehenceon the Korean Peninsula.

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othera ccruua inauonality open ling in Pjoaumaa. Both inurpreauora. ia on new. tra fabe. Beneath use appareot eoairadxtioa of thebocobinf and is* talts. we wecertain lopeocaiatcai rflono reverie UMrift of dcvelcpcacau.

The North's simultaneous push Tor trilateral ulka. In ourroduct of tfee suae ftmh and utiahlaf thai prodaccd tha Riageoa beatrtaag. Itcoscvmibie to oi iti i,dvaacc of Raaaooa, UK North Korean bad wfaoBd ibe talks stratco with then any case, Pyongyang! public call for

the cue of Ranaooa, we believe ibe North Koreans were acting on aa opportunity to eliminate the one leader most lespocaible for South Korea's recent political aad ecoacaaic saoccasea andecurity ties with UK United i

probably hoped to.

South and So raptoii any donxaik unreal thaickaHy also hoped that its hand ta the Rangoon bombing coukJ remainleast to the point of maintaining "plausible denial."

trilateral discussions was designed. In Dart, to undo some of the damage to the North's image asresult of the Rangoon bombing. Bat beyond ibit. il strikes as that the North Koreans also may have had several additional tactical objectives in mind:

I mall cations

For the remainder of this year, we cipect Pyongyang to be on rdauvcly good behavior. North Korea's proposal for tripartite talks will not mo its course until the North hat had more time lo gauge (be raulo From the North's perspective, the initiative alrcp't?A ;reduced some positive interim benefit by dcKciing attention from Rangoon and by putting Seoul somewhat on the defensive.

Pyongyang has not relaxed its harsh criticism of President Chun, but the North continues to siren its peaceful intentions and has moderated its invective against the United States.j

current stress on negotiations seems directed at sowing discord between Washington and Seoul over ho* to respond. The North undoubtedly perceives that Seoul is reluctant toarty to talks in which the United States would remain the North's primary interlocutor.

The North has characterized its proposal as an initiative forindication that Pyongyang may hope it can make Korean policy an bane in the US Preaidenual elections.

Beyond leebng to destabilize the US-South Korean relationship, Pyongyang appears to be attempting to frame the boundaries of any Sino-US discosrioo* on Korea by publicizing its own interests as clearly ai pouibte at the outset. Indeed, Northwent public with its proposal onanuary, the day Chinese Premier Zhao began an official viait to Washington.

In our view, the risk oframatic return to terrorism and subversion increases with time. We believe the negative trends that threaten Northgoal of reunification are likely to persist and that Pyongyang will continue to look for newto reverse them. Seoul's rising internationalmay be the factor that most grate* on the North Korean psyche.

Wc believe iheending up to the summer Olympic Game* in Seoul8 could be 8dangerous period. For one thin j. tbe political climate as the South budseadership transition8 is likely to be more fluid thin it is today, and this will make theore attractive target for Notih Korean destabiliratton efforts. P'yongyant "ill also want to discourage participation in th- Olympics and. in our opinion, will use whatever meanssabotage and acts ofconvince the world that Seoul isafe venue.

The bottom line here is thai we arc far morewith the potential for aggressive action by tbe North, such as we saw in Rangoon, through the remainder of this decade than we are with the prospects for significmt changes in North Korean objectives and strategy.

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