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FOIA Documents

Nautilus Reports on DPRK Negotiation Strategy

"Negotiating with North Koreans: The U.S. Experience at Panmunjom"
By Reed R. Probst, May 16, 1977
This study project was prepared for the US Army War College and released to the Nautilus Institute Under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Read the report.

The first session of working group meetings between the US, DPRK, ROK, Russia, Japan, and China on the nuclear situation in the Koreas occurred on May 12th-15th in Beijing, the next round of six-party talks is currently scheduled for June. As we approach this next round of discussions over the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula we should look at the ways that previous American negotiators have approached North Korean counterparts and lessons-learned over the decades.

This study report by Reed Probst examines the negotiation strategy between the US and the DPRK in regards to discussions over two major events between the two countries: the Axe Murder incident in the DMZ in 1976 [more information on this incident is available here] and the negotiations over the USS Pueblo, captured by the DPRK in 1968.

Mr. Probst writes:

"The record shows that the North Koreans have been quick to go to the conference table with the US when one or more of the following conditions have obtained:
a. when the North Korean position or recent gains are physically threatened.
b. when the North Koreans believe that negotiations might help them to consolidate past gains or to facilitate future gains.
c. when the North Koreans wish to avoid an escalation of tension or a direct military confrontation." [page 12]

"For all their slander and belittling of the 'US imperialist aggressors' in their propaganda, the North Koreans respect power and will back down only when confronted with a superior military force." [page 14]

This study report reveals underlying assumptions based on past experience that inform American negotiations with North Korea today. For contrasting perspectives, readers may wish to review items posted at the Negotiating Style section of the Nautilus Institute DPRK Briefing Book available here.

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