Former U.S. Defense Chief Calls For New Approach On N Korea

Saturday, May 23, 2009

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Concluding that the six-party talks intended to halt North Korea's nuclear program were a failure, former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry said Friday that his country will have to work closely with Japan and South Korea to find a better approach.

Perry, who served in the Clinton administration, spoke at a panel discussion here on East Asian security.

He stressed that, although the series of meetings of representatives from China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. have been a good forum for discussion, the same approach cannot be used to resolve the nuclear dispute. While calling for cooperation from China, he said the U.S. will work more closely with Japan and South Korea from now on.

The event, part of Nikkei Inc.'s International Conference on the Future of Asia, focused on how security and diplomacy in Asia will change in the Obama administration.

Under its basic principle of not allowing a nuclear North Korea, the Obama administration will continue to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program, Perry said.

Other panelists offered differing views on the six-party talks and China's role. Zhu Jianrong, a professor at Toyo Gakuen University in Japan and an authority on Sino-Japanese relations, said there is no clear alternative to the six-country format for now. At the same time, he emphasized the need for a new strategy and made the case for a framework centered on China, Japan and the U.S. Zhu expressed skepticism toward the view that the U.S. and China will become the two dominant players in the world and stressed that Japan, the U.S. and China should hold regular summits.

Kim Suk-woo, a former vice minister of South Korea's unification ministry, said China should take a more active role in negotiations. Like Perry, he predicted that the three-way partnership between Japan, South Korea and the U.S. will deepen.

(The Nikkei May 23 morning edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.