Negotiating with North Korea
Check out today's ADR Prof Blog post What are their interests? Negotiating with North Korea. Excerpt below.
North Korea recently sentenced two U.S. journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, to 12 years of hard labor for illegally crossing the North Korean border. By all accounts imprisonment in North Korea, especially in a labor camp, is horrible and potentially life-threatening. The question now is whether their early release can be negotiated.
This situation poses an extreme example of a difficult negotiation. Power and culture are key factors. The challenge in this negotiation is to understand what matters to the North Koreans and to use that understanding to work towards an agreement to release Ling and Lee. But gaining this understanding is complicated because the North Korean government keeps the country closed to most foreigners which means that few U.S. citizens have experience in North Korea, much less experience negotiating with the government. Reportedly the State Department is engaged on Ling and Lee’s behalf—but without full diplomatic representation that engagement is limited (particularly when the North Koreans prevent the U.S. Envoy for North Korea from even entering the country). Potential candidates to act as negotiators include New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (who has successfully negotiated with the North Koreans in the past) and former Vice-President Al Gore (who owns Current TV, the company the journalists were working for).
Continue reading here.
the president [Kennedy] recognized that, for Chairman Khrushchev to withdraw the missiles from Cuba, it would be undoubtedly helpful to him if he could say at the same time to his colleagues on the Presidium, "And we have been assured that the missiles will be coming out of Turkey." And so, after the ExComm meeting [on the evening of 27 October 1962], as I'm sure almost all of you know, a small group met in President Kennedy's office, and he instructed Robert Kennedy—at the suggestion of Secretary of State [Dean] Rusk—to deliver the letter to Ambassador Dobrynin for referral to Chairman Khrushchev, but to add orally what was not in the letter: that the missiles would come out of Turkey.
Ambassador Dobrynin felt that Robert Kennedy's book did not adequately express that the "deal" on the Turkish missiles was part of the resolution of the crisis. And here I have a confession to make to my colleagues on the American side, as well as to others who are present. I was the editor of Robert Kennedy's book. It was, in fact, a diary of those thirteen days. And his diary was very explicit that this was part of the deal; but at that time it was still a secret even on the American side, except for the six of us who had been present at that meeting. So I took it upon myself to edit that out of his diaries, and that is why the Ambassador is somewhat justified in saying that the diaries are not as explicit as his conversation.
From Sorensen comments, in Bruce J. Allyn, James G. Blight, and David A. Welch, eds., Back to the Brink: Proceedings of the Moscow Conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis, January 27-28, 1989 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1992), pp. 92-93.