Thursday, June 5, 2014
The United States and the Two Koreas, Part II: 1969-2010
Washington, DC, June 5, 2014 – During the North Korean nuclear crisis of the 1990s, the United States and South Korea shared blunt concerns about the possible outbreak of military hostilities with Pyongyang, according to newly published internal documentation from the National Security Archive. In April 1994, South Korean Defense Minister Rhee Byong Tae told U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, "If there is another war, the country will be totally wiped out," and all the progress built since the 1950s would be "turned into ashes." Perry saw no "imminent danger of war on the peninsula," but admitted that if sanctions were imposed on Pyongyang its unpredictability required the U.S. and its allies to be prepared militarily.