Created: 12/5/1992

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Special Analysis

NORTH KOREA: Returningard Line

* mtrting to an antagonistic approach toward South Korea and other international players, wanting thai it it prepared to impend contact! and perhaps eftn to return to riolenct.[

Ipolkymakni in North Korea diner overih the outside [Pyongyang'* behavior would indicate thai those whoore accommodating approach haveey influence on policy in the past year. Last December. Pyongyang concluded uoprecedented agreements with Seoul on exchanges and reconciliation and on restriction of nuclear activity on the Peninsula, la the spring, thr North implemented an IAEA safeguards agreemeni and opened it* major nuclear facilities to international inipection. Later, the North Koreans made several positive gesture* toward Washington, including returningets of US war remains. During the first half of the year. IhcMoililalso held several round* of normalization talks with Japan.)

Whatever the degree of unity in Pyongyang, the arguments for this approach almost certainty included the prospects of such tangible benefits as improved diplomatic relations with tbe US. its West European allies, and Japan to balance Seoul'i growing tie* to Beijing and Moscow and help alleviate the isolation caused by the collapse of Communism elsewhere. Those advocating this approach probably abo Imped it would eventually lead to expanded economic cooperation with Seoul. Washington, and Tokyo to help revive tbe North's ailing economy and reduced military tetnaoa on ihe Peninsula, perhaps encouraging Washington lo resume troop withdrawals and Cud Team Spiril and other joint military exercises

with tht Sculhl

North Koreas failure to assuage international concern about its nuclear program, however, has forestalled these payoffs. Economic assistance aod the improvement of relations remain hostage to implementation of bilateral nuclear inspections, and planning for Team3 is underway. Moreover, the expanded North-South dialogue lias made it harder for the regime to motivate the populace-

ougher Approach

Early last month the Foreign Ministry suggested lhat P'yongyang might refuse to permit further IAEA inspections unless plans for next years Team Spiril exercise are scrapped)


In addition, P'yongyang hu recenlly postponed several meetingsand has threatened lo suspend Ihe entire dialogue if theheld. Press reports say North Korean delegates to nuclear talkslast month said the level of tension between North andas high as "on lhe eveoreover, early lastwalked out of normalisation talks with

North Korea's about-face couldloy to gain concessions from Seoul on bilateral inspections and to block the resumption of Team Spirit; the lwo are to hold another round of talks on nuclear issues Thursday.inimum. P'yongyang may intend to stall the dialogue until it canew administration in Seoul after theecember presidential election. On the other band, lhe current approach may mean that hatdliners in P'yongyang have reversed what theyankrupt policy.


ongyaRg hastrategic decision toard line, il may fellow through aad free re the inter-Korean dialogue and further limit cooperalioa with ibe IAEA.see lhe meeting on Thursday as pan of an effort lo avoid blame if their dialogue collapses. North Korea might also disrupt lhe operations of the UN Military Armistice Commission, for example, by refusing to at tend working-level meetings. An increase in tensioniege menulity in P'yongyang could increase the possibility for North Korean miscalculation and overreactsoo to external events. La sach aa esmrrmmeal, P'yongyang might evenerrorisi artrovocation along lhe demilitarized zone!

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