The 48th Meeting of "Diplomatic Roundtable"
on "How to Break the Six Party Stalemate in the Korean Peninsula" Held

JFIR and its two sister organizations, the Global Forum of Japan and the Council on East Asian Community, taking advantage of an occasion of a visit to Japan of a prominent person on international and other affairs, regularly organize a "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting, which is an informal gathering of members of JFIR and its two sister organizations for a frank exchange of views and opinions with the visiting guest. The 48th "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting on the topic of "How to Break the Six Party Stalemate in the Korean Peninsula " was held on 10 April 2009. An introductory presentation by Mr. James FOSTER, former Director for Korean Affairs of U.S. State Department, was as follows.

The most serious crisis we face now is the fact that we are not ready to respond to the death of Kim Jong Il. The biggest mistake the Bush Administration made over the past 8 years was that the U.S. ended up with giving North Korea enough time and allowing it to develop nuclear materials needed for making a nuclear weapon although it did not comply with the international agreements. We don’t know where the nuclear materials are hidden because it is almost impossible to find them.

There is no viable military option to solve the North Korea problem now. This is the 100-year war. As it is important to manage the problem, rather than to negotiate with North Korea, a long term strategy, looking into the future of the Northeast Asia, will be needed. What Japan needs to do is not to closely work with the US and China, but to rather have good relations with South Korea and Russia to reach a consensus on the future of the Korean Peninsula. If these three countries can reach a consensus to a certain extent, China will change its attitude towards North Korea, which will be a major step to bring a settlement for the North Korea issue. How to break the Six Party stalemate in the Korean Peninsula is to pursue not a bilateral solution, but a 5-party solution.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)