IMPLICATIONS OF A ROK FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVE

Created: 6/18/1973

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE ^

ImplicationsOK Foreign Policy Initiative

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THIS ESTIMATE IS SUBMITTED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AND CONCURRED IN BY THE UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD.

The following intelligence organizaffons participated in ihe preparation ot the estimate;

. Th* Control Intelligence Agency and tha intelligence organization* ol theof State and Detente, and

Concurring!

Deputy Director ot Central Intelligence

The Director'of Intelligence and Research, Deparimonl of Stoto The Director, Defense Intelligence Agency The Director, Notional Security Agency

The Director, Division of International Security Affairs, Atomic Energy Commission

Abstaining!

The Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and tha Special Assistant to the Secretory of tha Treasury, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction.

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This material contains iciformation affectingitrieS>hjHonal Defense of the United States ' within the meaning of the espionage laws.. theor revelation of which in any manner to an urKJu^arired penon is prohibited.

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

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SUrUKCT: MPLICATIONSOK FORKIfiN POLICY INITIATIVE

PRECIS

The proposed South Korean initiative is designed toiplomatic setback at the United Nations this fail. In substance, it would bow to pressure in tbe UNebate with North Koreaand would anticipate possible change in the UN role. Inmore positive sense, It wouldonger range effort toodus Vivendi on the Korean Peninsula based on new understandings among the powers concerned.

It" ROK leaders do not proceed with the initiative, andurther effort is made toeneral Assembly debate on Korea, the ut:tempt would probably fail- There would be negative political consequences for the US as well as South Korea.

Tf tbe ROKs do proceed as planned, their initiative could lead to an eventual phasing out of the UN role in Korea, but this process need not endanger peace and stability there.

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Prospects for obtaining new, formal internal Loiuil guarantees to keep tbe peace In Koren would not be good. However, there would be scope for certain more United moves by the powers that would reflect tbelr Interest', und would contribute co stabilitydiplomatic recognition nf tbe two Koreas by the great powers, endorsement of the Korean DMZe facto boundary, and bilateral, understandings to limit ami supplies to the peninsula. In the main, however, peace and stability would tend to restas it does todayon the interests of the powers in avoiding conflict and in the actions they tookilateral basis to limit adventurous or provocative actions by their Korean clients.

If the UX machinery, particularly the UN Command, were phased out before the achievement of some new international undertakings, the ROK Government would become somewhat more demanding in its securitywith the US. Seoul would want reaffirmation of the bilateral security treaty. It would be less conrplacent than before when talk of US force reductions In Korea was broached. It might be loss receptive co the idea of reducing ROK ground forces. It would bo increasingly sensitive to any iiiova ta cut promised ROX force moderniitation outlays, and it might even request new and larger modernization packages.

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THE ESTIMATE

T. THE KOK INITIATIVE

Beet what they perceivetrong trend towardacceptance of the North Korean regiee, the leadcra of

South Korea areajor shift in foreign policy. Scheduled to he announced onune, the new ROK Una includes: AcceptanceV General Assembly (UNGA) debate on the Korean Issue (with North Korea participating together with theissolution of the UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of KoreaTJRK)u; and membership for Horth Korea in specialized UN organizations. "IK leaders are also expected tu Introduce at least the Idea ihnt both KoVMfl should enter the UN, Accepting the likelihood thatove would lead in tine to dismantling the United Nations Command (UHG) structure in Korea In all Ita ramifications.

n wore positive sense, the South Koreans see theiranboglnningonger range effort to obtainand Sc-vlat acceptance of ROK legitimacy, and formal Northof good behaviorin effect, to achieve something approaching

a modue Vivendi on the peninsula. Seoul hopes to accomplish this without.

at the same time, offering formal, diplomatic recognition of the Pyongyang regime (that is, without sacrificing the emotional goal of Koreanand without accepting North Korea's demand for withdrawal of US forces.

he South Koreans hope to do all these things in close cooperation with the US in order to avoid any damage to their all-Important bilateral relationship and to enlist US bargaining power in dealing with China, the USSR, and the international community generally. Indeed, if not assured of b'S support for their proposed initiative, ROK leaders would probably prefer to confine their maneuvers to little more than passive acceptance of the Inevitability of an IINCA debate on Korea this fall. Having been encouraged by the US for some time to think beyond the immediate political/ military requirements of their confrontation with North Korea, the ROK leadership would probably be puzzled and disappointed by any such evidence

of US unwillingness to endorse their new strategy, at least in broadTbelr displeasure would grow If Pyongyang subsequentlyiplomatic raarch hy surfacing Its own conciliatory proposals before the General Assembly.

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II. MXEtT DHvrXOrTffiNTS AT THE UNITED NATIONS

A. If the ROKs Do Hot Proceed Vith Their Initiative

South Korea, for whatever reason, attempts once nore toa favorable UNGA vote on postponement of "the Korean item,"probably fall. Vith the North-South dialog clearly stalled,of last yeartliat the two parties were moving toward aon their ownare now weak. Recognizing this, suchas Japan, Australia, aad the lit would be less thanNorth Korea, meanwhile, has Increased its circle ofNew York.he wake of the Indochina settlements, therepervasive desire in the General Assembly to air the Korean issue.

Seoul and its allies nonetheless try to postpone andwould be certain political costs. For the ROK: same discreditsome domestic criticism;easure of US publicdisapproval of South Korean Inflexibility. Tor the ROKCovernr.ents, the mast leportant loss might be in teras ofpower in any subsequent negotiation with North Korea,the USSR on new guarantees of security In Korea to replace theSeoul and Washington might also sour relations with the UKLo some extent If these countries hnd been active in the losing

battle. In short, whileegative outcome at the UN this fall would give tbe appearance of ineptitude on the part of the ROK and US Governments while decreasing their leverage in any later dealings on Korean Issues with the communist side.

B. If the ROKs I'o Proceed With Their Initiative

the ROK {and US) viewpoint* the ideal outcome atebate in which South Korea appeared sufficiently flexiblethe terms ofn North Korean participation, and on theUNCURKto forestall demand for prompt action onthe UNC and its peacekeeping role in South Korea- Morethere will be pressures generated by the North Koreans andfor prompt termination of the UN's role in Korean peacekeeping.

If such presentations are effective, the KOK and US representatives might have to respond with atague commitment to ultimate dissolution of the UNC mechanism. Nonetheless, there would seem to be very little possibility that the North Koreans could marshal strong UNon such essentially bilateral Issues as the US troop presence in South Korea and US military aid to South Korean forces.

it appears unlikely thai Implementation of theinitiative would result In any lcrnediate or sharp setback to the

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cause of security and stability ln Korea. Specifically, it would be recognised Internal tonally thst any generalized ROK or US coimltment on the IWC Issue would necessarilyood deal of tine toOnly the nest radical third-world supporters of the North Kormin cnusu would wish to dissolve precipitately the mechanism that helped maintain peace in Korea forears. China and theould almost certainly wish to avoid the risks Inherent in any sudden breakup of the UN-sponsored security mechanism and would provide only modest support to the North KoreanROBLEMS IN ACHIEVING HEW INTERNATIONAL GUARANTFKS

he principal value of the UNC to the US at this point is that ltchanism for maintaining3 truce agreements. Its military command functions, while convenient and politically advantageous to the US, could be replaced ln practical effect by purely bilateral ROK-US arrangenenta. Its value in the use of Japanese bases is to strengthen ths legal basis for I'S military operations froa Japan In certain Korean contingencies. But Japanese attitudes on such matters have cometo depend primarily on the specific context of any such Korean emergency and, more Important, on the prevailing political climate in Tokyo.

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the problem for th* US as the US' Inevitably aovesitself of the Korean probleu is to supplant the UNC mechanlsa

with otherdesigned to maintain North-South peace.

Council Undertakings

UNC operates under the authority0 Securitythis authority has never been challenged in the Council.be logicalespecially now that Peking is on the Councilto this body for the sort of undertaking that night helpthe loss of the UNC mechanism. For example, the Security Councila legally usefui endorsement of the Korean DMZeboundaryuntil unification occurs. Such actionhowever, at least in the near term, slnco neither China nor

the USSR would want to offend the North Koreans by acting to reinforce rather than remove UK involvement in Korean affairs.

Guarantees

any be somewhat greater scope for effective actionsnertg the powers outside the UN context. Suchpotentially offensive to either of the Korean parties, need notabrond and, of course, need not be formalized.

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entertains relatively cordial relatione with North Korea

at this tlsto. Kecauce of its security concerns regarding the USSR, China's overriding interest Is to keep Korea fron becoming an area of military contention between its client in Pyongyang and the US client in Seoul. But China also wishes to maintain its superior position of influence in PyongyangIh the Russians, hence Peking feels compelled to support North Korean objectives in the UK and in the peninsula to some extent. There ishared Chinese-North Korean interest in minimizing Japanese influence in both Koreas. Even if China were openormalization of the status quo in Korea, it could not get out ahead of the North Koreans on this issue.

USSH has similar interests and attitudes. Though Itswith the Korth Korean regime is comparatively cool, it Is forthat Moscow munt be even more cautious than Peking inoffensive toomplicating factor in thoon Korea is the analogy to Germany; Moscow does not favorof unification sentiment in divided states, much lessof unification formulas however vague. Chinese concepts,are conditioned by contrasting needs regarding the Taiwanother things being equal, therefore, the Russians are probablyable with tbe Korean status quo than are tha Chinese.

wants stability in Korea but tends to weighto achieve it against the potential for disturbingriendly conservative leadership In Seoul. The Soutlibuffer, complete with US troops and planes, isto the Japanese leadership. They prefer the status quo lnto any series of moves likely to offer opportunities for theChinese or Soviet influence in Seoul. Japan, however, shows no sign

of movingecurity role in the nearby peninsula, in part because Tokyo understands the harsh reaction likely to emanate from tbe Korean parties as well as from China and Russia.

Japan obviously must think beyond the withdrawal of the US military presence from South Koreaeriod when greater self-reliance may be required. It is evident, at this point at least, that Tokyo's leaders prefer to evade this potential problem and to continue instead to encourage maintenancetrong US military presence In the South.

To summarize, all three of the Northeast Asian Rowers appear reasonably satisfied with the development of an atmosphere of accommodation between the two Koreas over the past year or two. But none seemsanxious to seek any speedup in the process or to involve Itself

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in any sort of formal security guarantee should the ITNC mechanism be phased out. The priority need for all three powers is the absence of the threat of armed conflict in Korea; this requirement might in fact predispose these powersirmer peacekeeping structure. China and the USSR, however,ountervailing need to avoid offending the Pyongyang regime. Japan is tugged by its concern withongenial leadership in Seoul. So long as the threat to continued peace in the peninsula remains at low levels, therefore, the incentives for bold new departures on the part of the powers interested in Korea will remain rather modest.

his is not to say that North Korea retains an absolute veto on its partners' actions nor that Pyongyang itself may not sea merit in certain coves to firm up the "Two Koreas" concept andenuine accommodation. For example, because it wishes to enhance Its International status and its economic development. North Korea strongly desires full diplomatic relatione with Japan and some sort of contact with the OS. South Korea, for Its part, has been soliciting Soviet and Chinese interest in accepting the legitimacy of the Seoul government. It is possible, then, to envisage an understanding among the four major powersthe 'JS, Japan, China, and tbe USSRwhereby the two Koreas are accorded diplomatic recognition by all of them. This would amount to acceptance of the legitimacy

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of both and imply acceptanceivided Korea for the indefinite future. Lip service might still have to be paid to the unification idea, however, since it is part of tbe ideology of both Koreas.

nother possibility might be issuanceoint statementoutside Che objectionable (to Pyongyang) US contextperhaps In the form oforth-South rcnunication-of-force agreement which would de facto accept the DMZ. There are, in addition, such areas as arms supply in which the powers night quietly (and probablyilateral rather than multilateral basis) reach limitation agreements without concurrence of their clients. It is also possible that if relations between the two Koreas went well in these new circumstances, Lhey would themselves be disposed to arrangements for mutual force reductions. We note, however, that verification of any such reductions in North Korea would involve serious and complicated problens.

IV. POSSIBLE PROBLEMS IK UNITED STATES RELATIONS WITH THF. ROK

he South Korean leadership is obviously ready to venture into new international waters, ot the UN and in dealings with the communist world. Nonetheless, Seoul will require continuing assurances of USfor basic KOK security needs and, less urgently perhaps, periodic

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acknowledgement of its self-image as the most loyal US ally in East Asia, Seoul wants to become more "independent" of the US, but surrounded by states it mistrusts (includingouth Koreaeed towith Washington for an indefinite period. In these circumstances, the US willignificant measure of influence in Seoul over the next several years.

the UNC were phased out before the achievement of someguarantees, the ROK Government would become somewhatin its security relationships with the US. Seoul wouldof the bilateral security treaty. It would be lessthan before when talk of US force reductions ln KoreaIt might be less receptive to the idea of reducing ROKit would be increasingly sensitive to any move to cutforce modernization outlays; and it might even request newmodernization packages. South Korea's general concerns would

be heightened by greater uncertainty over the utility of the Japanese base structure.

is possible that this portrayal of ROK attitudes isThe South Koreans are quite sophisticated in securityoften adopt worried poses mainly to stimulate the flow of US funds

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equipment. There is little doubt, however, that they would do so in the posited situation; and the burden of US negotiators in Seoul may become greater tlian In recent years.

he prospect for stabilization in the Korean Peninsula is good. Tbe US link will remain most valuable to Seoul, but could be supplemented in timeegree of acceptance by Peking and Moscow, and byln North-South relations tending to enhance the climate of normalization. It may be possible in timebarring serious great-power fliiroups in Northeast Asia or domestic upheavals in either Koreato find the two regimes focussed on their economic and political competitions, with military problems largely relegated to the background.

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