A day after President Bush delivered an ultimatum to Iraq, three veteran diplomats addressed the situation in North Korea – another member of the “axis of evil” – in a forum discussion at the Business School yesterday.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Korean Ambassador to the United States Yang Sung Chul and former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Donald Gregg, spoke at the forum, titled “Korea: Issues and Prospects.” The event filled Hale Auditorium with hundreds of students, professors and others concerned with the diplomatic conflict.
“We have the Iraq crisis going on now, and we may go into war by the end of the week,” said Albright, a distinguished scholar at the William Davidson Institute of the Business School. “But I think there is an even greater crisis, and that is the relationship that we have with North Korea.”
Albright said she believes the incredibly strong U.S. military will have no problems in delivering a victory over Iraq. Concerns should focus on the problems that will lie ahead in the war’s aftermath, she said. Although there are many differences between Iraq and North Korea, Albright said “these two crises unfortunately have become linked and I think they need to be looked at, to some extent, together.”
President Bush linked Iraq and North Korea in last January’s State of the Union address. But Gregg said labeling Iraq, Iran and North Korea “the axis of evil” was a “terrible mistake” that put three heterogeneous countries together in the same category. In October, North Korea’s potential for threatening the world’s safety became apparent when it resumed the nuclear weapon program that it agreed to stop in 1994. The crisis intensified in January when the country announced its immediate withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Apart from being the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government, Albright is also the highest level American official who has ever met with Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea.
Albright said her visit to North Korea in October 2000 was productive and that direct dialogues should be held with North Korea for the United States to make clear that its weapon development is unacceptable. “I have always believed that you have to talk to the other side if you want to be able to deliver a tough message,” she said.
Chul echoed Albright’s view and said, “dialogue and diplomacy is the most practical and rational response to the North Korea situation.”
He said the whole world should contribute to resolving the crisis.
“The United States together with China, Russia and the (European Union) must coordinate and cooperate with each other to achieve the end,” Chul added.