February 13, 2009
The Honorable Hillary Clinton U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
On behalf of the Korea Policy Institute, I congratulate you on your appointment as Secretary of State. Comprised primarily of Korean American scholars, professionals, and peace advocates, the Institutes mission is to promote friendship between the peoples of the United States and Korea. We are optimistic that under your leadership, the United States will resume its journey on the path towards achieving a lasting peace in Korea.
We are delighted that you will soon be traveling to Asia, particularly in light of news that North Korea may be preparing to test a missile and that the Defense Department has indicated that it may shoot it down. This is an unfortunate continuation of the previous eight years of hostility between the United States and North Korea, but it also presents an opportunity to clearly establish a new approach for diffusing such tensions. In this regard we were heartened to read todays Reuters report of your announcement that the United States is willing to replace the Korean War Armistice with a permanent peace treaty if North Korea is genuinely prepared to eliminate their nuclear weapons program.
Mindful of experiences during and since the Clinton administration, it is apparent that diplomacy with North Korea has been most successful when both parties are able to agree to take simultaneous steps towards peace and normalization of relations, and least successful when one party has demanded that the other go first. This is a critical lesson learned over the past eight years and we believe that if our actions are guided by it, the United States and North Korea will indeed achieve their mutual aim of burying swords for ploughshares.
The Korea Policy Institute believes that if any progress is to be made in relations between the United States and North Korea, and between South Korea and North Korea, whether on issues of nuclear disarmament, human rights, or economic reform, the Korean War must end. Failure to resolve hostilities stemming from the Korean War has made it impossible to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
We therefore urge you to spare no effort on your visit to Asia to rally our allies and inspire them to boldly re-engage with North Korea, utilizing all avenues of diplomacy, with all parties concerned, to end the Korean War and bring forth a new era of peace and stability in the Northeast Asia region. In this effort, the Korea Policy Institute (www.kpolicy.org) is at your service.
Paul L. Liem President, Korea Policy InstituteCc:Bruce Cumings John Feffer Selig Harrison Martin Hart-Landsberg Karin Lee Gi-Wook Shin Jae-Jung Suh Phil Yun