Can we trust that North Korea and China want a nuclear free zone in Northeast Asia, given the fact that they have secretly been working on a nuclear program of their own?

Dr. Alyn Ware quoted what President Reagan about his more reconciliatory approach to the USSR: “We start with trust, but that is not enough, we have to verify.” This is still relevant today. Disarmament and peace agreements commonly have built in mechanisms to verify and to ensure compliance. The UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency have an important role to play here. Trust can be built up over time by mutually reinforcing activities. For this reason, the incremental reciprocal measures North Korea has been asking for, in combination with verification on each level, is the best approach.

How can the US guarantee security on the Korean Peninsula if its military bases create more tensions than security in the region? Dr. Ware admits that military bases can be provocative. However, it is rather the military exercises that may be perceived as provocative. Hence, the importance of exchanging information about the purpose and the nature of the exercises avoid conflicts.

What to think of the little interest in unification shown by South Korean youngsters?

Dr. Bischof said they may be daunted by the fact that West Germany absorbed East Germany, and by the economic cost it entailed. Therefore, a step-by-step approach is preferred. Dr. Schmidt added that the North Koreans are not eager to unite. Indoctrination by the Juche prevent them from thinking out of the box. Hence the importance for us to work on the ideological level. Merely pursuing disarmament is not enough, North Korea’s nuclear program results from its ideology. Besides, efforts should be made on all levels, such as sports and culture, to open up the North Korean society.

Mr. Peter Haider concluded by saying that because Europe experienced countless bloody wars in the past, it now strongly believes in peace, dialogue and cooperation. European countries should export this concept of soft power.

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