NAVAL
POSTGRADUATE
SCHOOL
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA
THESIS
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
POLITICS OF N...
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Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
POLITICS OF NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND
REGIONAL SECURITY IMPLICA...
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ABSTRACT
The North Korean refugee issue is a challenge to regional stability. In addition to
humanitarian concerns, a ma...
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION.................................................1
A. INTRODUCTI...
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3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for the United
States ......................................................
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Map of the shared border between the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea and the Democratic...
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Number of Defectors by Year.......................................................................
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all I want to thank the Lord for granting me the perseverance to complete
this project. I w...
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1
I. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION
[W]hat terrifies South Koreans more than North Korean missiles is North
Korean ref...
2
B. PLAN OF THE THESIS
This thesis explores each of the Six Party nations’ stakes in the refugee issue, the
issue's poten...
3
increase UN Command Sending State participation, improve communications and
logistics planning, and strengthen the overa...
4
C. BACKGROUND OF THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION
The decline of the North Korean economy since 1990, combined with se...
5
resolution 429 (V) of December 14, 1950. The Convention went into force on April 22,
1954, in accordance with Article 43...
6
states that the term “refugee” shall “mean any person within the definition of article 1 of
the Convention as if the wor...
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Table 1. Number of Defectors by Year16
During the past decade, the number of North Koreans crossing the North Korea-
Chi...
8
in hiding, increasing the difficulty of gathering statistics. Various NGOs have developed
internal statistics, but those...
9
Figure 1. Map of the shared border between the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea and the Democratic People’s Republi...
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The standard of living for North Koreans in Yanbian who evade deportation is
dismal. Their children do not have access ...
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police officers; perhaps he was uneasy and unsure of exactly how to handle this unusual
situation. Eventually, the Japa...
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humanitarian crisis should a refugee scenario occur on the Korean peninsula. It presents
recommendations to enhance cap...
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II. SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF THE NORTH KOREAN
REFUGEE ISSUE
Following the Communist regime’s collapse, the early stabil...
14
planning. The chapter explores how focusing an annual exercise on a humanitarian relief
scenario might help overcome th...
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“breakdown of the internal security apparatus,” leading to a mass exodus of refugees
looking for scarce resources. The ...
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North Korean refugees present a political and humanitarian issue with huge
operational implications for military person...
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coalition members pledge to “again be united and prompt to resist” should there be “a
renewal of the armed attack, chal...
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South Korea.47 This command structure remained in place until 1994, when peacetime
control of ROK forces was transferre...
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2. Challenges to Military Support and Coordination: Information
Sharing and Logistical Planning
[T]he more sophisticate...
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reluctance to disclose OPLAN information to other UNC participants. The ROK's
hesitation is justifiable, as all UNC Sen...
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scrambling the jets and gathering personnel to arrive in the Korean theater within a
specified amount of time, while lo...
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C. MEETING THE CHALLENGES: HUMANITARIAN EXERCISES AS A
SOLUTION TO INFORMATION AND LOGISTICS PLANNING
PROBLEMS
General ...
23
migration of refugees on the peninsula would present tremendous short and long term
challenges, especially if it occurs...
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integration of the war fight and more on integration of subsequent operations to achieve
stabilization, reconstruction ...
25
of assets committed, firm commitment of actual forces must wait until they are needed.
However, an operational plan for...
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impediment to NGO efforts at food distribution and other humanitarian aid.62 Likewise,
the DPRK government was in a dif...
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throughout Japan for logistical support of the Korean theater. A multinational coalition
humanitarian scenario exercise...
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CMOD has the potential to coordinate UNC Sending State assets with its own
organization and missions. Although the CMOD...
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the North Korean population. Specialists in health care, psychology, education and social
work are studying the North K...
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III. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE ISSUE AND THE SIX
PARTY MEMBERS
The North Korean refugee issue may not be in the forefron...
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impact on the economic development of their home country, and the success of North
Koreans abroad could have a similar ...
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before moving onto any other issues, including the nuclear issue. The United States’
main efforts on North Korean issue...
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Korea's nuclear test in 2006.71 The past and present value of North Korea for China has
been to serve as a buffer zone ...
35
South Koreans immigrate or travel to northeast China for business purposes. As the
influx of South Korean businesses in...
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other countries China seek ties with, its geographical location is advantageous. Should
North Korea reform economically...
37
sees that it cannot do anything about the international community’s gradual absorption of
its citizens, it could eventu...
38
much enmity that friendly relations between a unified Korea and Japan seem
unattainable. Numerous disagreements stem fr...
39
and have since not been allowed to return to Japan. North Korea’s refusal to allow the
Japanese women to return home is...
40
At an institutional level, Koreans living in Japan have been subject to a variety of
foreigner registration systems. Th...
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang
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Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications - English - Maj Jacqueline D Chang

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  • 1. NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA THESIS Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited POLITICS OF NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND REGIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS by Jacqueline Danielle Chang June 2009 Thesis Advisor: Christopher Twomey Second Reader: Edward Olsen
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  • 3. i REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE Form Approved OMB No. 0704-0188 Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instruction, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202–4302, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (0704–0188) Washington DC 20503. 1. AGENCY USE ONLY (Leave blank) 2. REPORT DATE June 2009 3. REPORT TYPE AND DATES COVERED Master’s Thesis 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE: Politics of North Korean Refugees and Regional Security Implications 6. AUTHOR(S) Jacqueline Danielle Chang 5. FUNDING NUMBERS 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, CA 93943–5000 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER 9. SPONSORING / MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) N/A 10. SPONSORING / MONITORING AGENCY REPORT NUMBER 11. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES The views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government. 12a. DISTRIBUTION / AVAILABILITY STATEMENT Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited 12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE 13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words) The North Korean refugee issue is a challenge to regional stability. In addition to humanitarian concerns, a mass flow of refugees would have enormous impact on operations of the Republic of Korea's military and the U.S. forces stationed in Korea and Japan. Regional players have an obligation to contribute to regional security. Proactive and cooperative policy making by China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to protect North Korean workers and help North Korean immigrants assimilate could diminish the destabilizing triggers of the refugee issue and offer multiple benefits, including increased regional stability. 15. NUMBER OF PAGES 87 14. SUBJECT TERMS North Korean refugees, Six Party, Republic of Korea, ROK, South Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, Northeast Asia regional stability, UNC, CFC, USFK, UNC Rear, UNC Sending States, Korean diaspora, assimilation, immigration, human rights, humanitarian assistance, stability and reconstruction operations 16. PRICE CODE 17. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF REPORT Unclassified 18. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF THIS PAGE Unclassified 19. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF ABSTRACT Unclassified 20. LIMITATION OF ABSTRACT UU NSN 7540-01-280-5500 Standard Form 298 (Rev. 2-89) Prescribed by ANSI Std. 239-18-298-102
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  • 5. iii Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited POLITICS OF NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND REGIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS Jacqueline Danielle Chang Major, United States Air Force B.S., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1988 Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS IN SECURITY STUDIES (FAR EAST, SOUTHEAST ASIA, AND THE PACIFIC) from the NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL June 2009 Author: Jacqueline Danielle Chang Approved by: Christopher Twomey Thesis Advisor Edward Olsen Second Reader Harold A. Trinkunas, PhD Chairman, Department of National Security Affairs Chairman
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  • 7. v ABSTRACT The North Korean refugee issue is a challenge to regional stability. In addition to humanitarian concerns, a mass flow of refugees would have enormous impact on operations of the Republic of Korea's military and the U.S. forces stationed in Korea and Japan. Regional players have an obligation to contribute to regional security. Proactive and cooperative policy making by China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to protect North Korean workers and help North Korean immigrants assimilate could diminish the destabilizing triggers of the refugee issue and offer multiple benefits, including increased regional stability.
  • 8. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS I. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION.................................................1 A. INTRODUCTION............................................................................................1 B. PLAN OF THE THESIS .................................................................................2 C. BACKGROUND OF THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION.....................................................................................................4 II. SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE ISSUE..........................................................................................................................13 A. REFUGEES AS A PROBLEM FOR THE MILITARY ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA................................................................................14 B. OWNERS OF THE PROBLEM: UN COMMAND, UN COMMAND REAR, COMBINED FORCES COMMAND AND U.S. FORCES KOREA...........................................................................................................16 1. Command Structures.........................................................................17 2. Challenges to Military Support and Coordination: Information Sharing and Logistical Planning.......................................................19 3. Constraints on Information: A Crucial Problem............................19 4. Planning without Commitment: The Logistical Challenges of Inadequate Information and Coordination.....................................20 C. MEETING THE CHALLENGES: HUMANITARIAN EXERCISES AS A SOLUTION TO INFORMATION AND LOGISTICS PLANNING PROBLEMS.............................................................................22 D. COALITION DEVELOPMENT..................................................................26 III. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE ISSUE AND THE SIX PARTY MEMBERS.................................................................................................................31 A. NATIONAL AGENDAS OF THE SIX PARTY MEMBERS ...................32 B. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND CHINA..........................................33 1. History of Relations between North Korea and China...................33 2. The Korean Diaspora in China.........................................................34 3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for China....................35 C. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND JAPAN..........................................37 1. History of Relations between North Korea and Japan...................37 2. The Korean Diaspora in Japan.........................................................38 3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for Japan....................40 D. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND RUSSIA ........................................43 1. History of Relations between North Korea and Russia..................43 2. The Korean Diaspora in Russia........................................................45 3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for Russia ...................46 E. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND THE UNITED STATES..............46 1. History of Relations between the United States and North Korea...................................................................................................47 2. The Korean Diaspora in the United States......................................47
  • 9. vii 3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for the United States ...................................................................................................48 F. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA...50 1. The Changing Demographics of Defectors......................................50 2. Strangers in the Homeland: Social Issues of North Korean Refugees in South Korea ...................................................................51 G. CONCLUSION ..............................................................................................52 IV. POLICY IMPLICATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES............................................................................................................55 A. A COMMON MODEL FOR NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE ASSIMILATION............................................................................................55 B. BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE ASSIMILATION MODEL.......................57 C. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SIX-PARTY NATIONS...........58 1. Suggested Policy for China ...............................................................58 2. Suggested Policy for Japan ...............................................................58 3. Suggested Policy for Russia...............................................................60 4. Suggested Policy for the United States.............................................62 5. Suggested Policy for the Republic of Korea ....................................63 D. CONCLUSION ..............................................................................................63 LIST OF REFERENCES......................................................................................................65 INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST.........................................................................................71
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  • 11. ix LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Map of the shared border between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of China ....................................9
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  • 13. xi LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Number of Defectors by Year............................................................................7
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  • 15. xiii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First of all I want to thank the Lord for granting me the perseverance to complete this project. I would like to thank the Air Force Academy INSS, Jeff Kim, Bernie Murphy, and Carol Chang for each of their unique contributions that made a complicated research trip possible. Seeing things with my own eyes added an invaluable layer of perspective to my overall research. To Professor Olsen, Professor Twomey, Professor Lavoy, thank you so much for your patience and guidance—I will be forever grateful. Thanks to my NPS peers in our “thesis group,” a significant part of my “Dudley Knox social life,” as well as the wonderful Dudley Knox Library staff. My colleagues had “thesis widows,” but I had a “thesis orphan”—thank you son for being so understanding and a sport for all the take-out and frozen food you had to eat. Thanks Debra, José and Pam, for coming to the editing rescue. Last but not least, I am especially grateful to my mom, whose history inspired my choice in topic and whose strength, grace and positive outlook on life, despite all the hardships she has endured, motivates me to keep trying whenever I want to give up.
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  • 17. 1 I. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION [W]hat terrifies South Koreans more than North Korean missiles is North Korean refugees pouring South. The Chinese, for their part, have nightmare visions of millions of North Korean refugees heading north over the Yalu River into Manchuria.1 A. INTRODUCTION In the minds of most international observers, North Korea is associated with Kim Jong Il and his nuclear brinksmanship. The international community and especially the countries involved in the Six-Party talks—the United States, Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), People’s Republic of China (PRC or China), Japan and Russia—have concerns about the immediate and long-term impact of North Korean nuclear proliferation on Northeast Asia. However, the North Korean nuclear program is not the only contentious issue in Northeast Asia. In the competition for resources and attention in the policy realm, humanitarian issues frequently fall in line behind security issues. But in the Northeast Asian region, the humanitarian plight of North Korean refugees has a strong potential for quickly destabilizing the region, thus jeopardizing its security. The North Korean refugee situation might directly impact the delicate political balance among the Six-Party nations. How each country addresses this issue can affect its future influence within the region. Ignoring the issue poses the risk of a sudden change scenario accompanied by a mass flood of refugees. This thesis advocates policies to remove the triggers that might cause a refugee flow. Any nation taking a proactive stance on the refugee issue stands to gain long-term influence within the region. 1 Robert D. Kaplan, "When North Korea Falls," Atlantic Monthly, October 2006. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200610/kaplan-korea, accessed 8 October 2007.
  • 18. 2 B. PLAN OF THE THESIS This thesis explores each of the Six Party nations’ stakes in the refugee issue, the issue's potential impact on stability in Northeast Asia and the resultant risk to U.S. regional security. This exploration and analysis is followed by recommendations for proactive planning to anticipate and prevent potentially destabilizing refugee movement. The research methodology includes a review of the relevant literature, supported by conference attendance and personal interviews.2 Chapter I presents the background of the North Korean refugee situation, its magnitude and causes, and how it is becoming a growing humanitarian and security issue. The chapter reviews the legal history of the term “refugee,” which is important for evaluating China’s claim that North Korean refugees are economic migrants. The discussion describes how the refugee issue was thrust into the international spotlight, and the reactions of each of the Six Party governments. Chapter II describes the security implications of the North Korean refugee situation for the Northeast Asia region and U.S. national interests. A large U.S. military presence is stationed in Korea and Japan to defend the Republic of Korea against North Korean aggression. In addition to the uncertainties surrounding the Kim Jong Il regime and its nuclear threat, regional instability would increase with a sudden change scenario. The chapter traces changes in the ROK–U.S. command relationship and describes how the ROK’s growing independence and sovereignty impact the U.S. military role on the peninsula with particular attention to potential refugee issues. It explores the implications for the U.S., ROK, and coalition militaries if a refugee-related crisis threatens regional stability, focusing on challenges to related coalition operations posed by constraints on information sharing and logistical planning. The chapter proposes that shifting emphasis in an annual exercise to a humanitarian refugee scenario would better prepare military and civilians for a refugee-related crisis, enhance command capabilities, 2 Interviews were conducted by the author during travel to Yanji and Tumen, China for primary source data. Because interviewees include members of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide assistance to North Korean refugees, their names are not included for security reasons.
  • 19. 3 increase UN Command Sending State participation, improve communications and logistics planning, and strengthen the overall coalition. Chapter III reviews the stakes of each Six Party nation in the North Korean refugee issue, covering each country’s historical relationship with North Korea, the makeup of the ethnic Korean communities in Japan, Russia, and China, their immigration history and the unique characteristics of each diaspora. The chapter describes the major social problems associated with North Koreans’ resettlement in the Republic of Korea, as well as the implications of North Koreans’ resettlement in the United States. The history of ethnic Koreans in other countries sets the stage for assessment of each nation’s ability and desire to provide the infrastructure necessary to absorb North Koreans into their society. Successful assimilation of North Koreans in other countries might have positive reach back to North Korean development. Each of the Six-Party nations has a vested interest in Northeast Asian stability. If these nations were to collectively adopt a solution to the refugee crisis, it might have a positive impact on the nuclear issue and contribute to the long-term prosperity and security of the region. Chapter IV presents policy recommendations for each Six-Party nation based on each nation's historical ties with North Korea, its current economic and political situation, and the potential receiving population within their country. The chapter addresses the implications of allowing North Korean refugees to immigrate into each country, outlines the required infrastructure and social programs, and evaluates the chances of successful integration in each country’s social and economic structure. Overall, this thesis aims to inform the reader of the magnitude of the North Korean refugee issue, and by providing the background of the issue along with the history of North Korea’s relations with the other Six-Party nations, illustrates how this humanitarian issue also affects the security of the Northeast Asian region. The thesis advocates implementing a proactive policy that will both contribute to regional security and relieve the suffering of the refugees.
  • 20. 4 C. BACKGROUND OF THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SITUATION The decline of the North Korean economy since 1990, combined with several natural disasters, led to famine conditions that dramatically increased the death rate in North Korea. The famine peaked in 1996–1997, resulting in 50 deaths per 1,000 people. A recent slight decrease in famine deaths may be ascribed to the ad hoc personal garden plot created with the silent consent of the North Korean regime, mainly to allow a temporary pressure valve for the food crisis.3 The number of total deaths in North Korea is difficult to document, but estimates range from 600,000 to one million, equating to between three and five percent of a population of about 20 million.4 This dire situation has forced many North Koreans, particularly in the northwest provinces, to leave the country. This is further exacerbated by the DPRK’s “military first” policy that channels most of the nation’s food resources to the government elite and the armed forces.5 Most who leave North Korea can be classified into one of two categories: economic migrants, who cross the border multiple times to seek work and make money, and refugees, who leave North Korea to escape political persecution. The categorization of these North Koreans is a politically charged issue. On the one hand, China’s government regards them all as economic migrants, and does not recognize any North Koreans entering China as refugees.6 On the other hand, various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian organizations refer to them as refugees, not economic migrants. What distinguishes these two groups? The 1951 Refugee Convention provides the answer. The Refugee Convention was adopted on July 28, 1951, by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons, which convened under General Assembly 3 Hazel Smith, Hungry for Peace: International Security, Humanitarian Assistance, and Social Change in North Korea (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2005), 81-82. 4 Haggard and Noland analyze different sources of statistics and the methodology used to extrapolate the numbers. Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland, Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid and Reform (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 73-76. 5 Smith, 85-86. 6 Joshua Kurlantzick and Jana Mason, “North Korean Refugees: The Chinese Dimension,” in Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland, editors, The North Korean Refugee Crisis: Human Rights and International Response (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2006), 37.
  • 21. 5 resolution 429 (V) of December 14, 1950. The Convention went into force on April 22, 1954, in accordance with Article 43 of the Convention.7 The basis of the Refugee Convention is to protect refugees from persecution in other countries through one critical element, the principle of “non-refoulement,” which prohibits expulsion or return of refugees. Article 33 of the 1951 Convention states, No Contracting State shall expel or return [refouler8] a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. 9 The controversy does not lie in the principle of refoulement, but rather in the definition of the word “refugee” itself, as well as the question of whether a convention written for a specific situation long ago can apply in today’s refugee situation. According to the Convention of 1951, a person can be considered a refugee if their status is “a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951” and the person has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.10 The definition of refugee in the 1951 Convention presents a problematic technicality in that it excludes anyone who became a refugee post-1951, or who was not a refugee in Europe. However, the Protocol of 1967 changes what constitutes a refugee by deleting the time and geographical requirements.11 Article 1, Paragraph 2 of the Protocol 7 Introductory note of the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, available at http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/protect/opendoc.pdf?tbl=PROTECTION&id=3b66c2aa10, accessed 1 April 2009. 8 French term meaning “to force back” or “to turn away.” French-English Collins Dictionary http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/refouler, accessed 1 April 2009. 9 The 1951 Refugee Convention, available at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_c_ref.htm, accessed 1 April 2009. 10 The 1951 Refugee Convention. 11 Bill Frelick, “Evolution of the Term ‘Refugee,” U.S. Committee for Refugees website, www.refugees.org/news/fact_sheets/refugee_definition.htm (accessed 8 January 2005; site discontinued).
  • 22. 6 states that the term “refugee” shall “mean any person within the definition of article 1 of the Convention as if the words ‘As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951…’ and the words ‘…as a result of such events,’ in Article 1 A(2) were omitted.” In Paragraph 3, the Protocol further states, “The present Protocol shall be applied by the States Parties hereto without any geographic limitation.”12 The intent in delineating the terms is to clarify what the signatories pledge to uphold. China, the ROK, Japan, Russia, and the United States are all signatories to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol; North Korea is not. Given the formal definition, the categories of economic migrant and refugee are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Furthermore, there is nothing that keeps one from starting out as an economic migrant and later becoming a refugee.13 The political implication of China's decision not to recognize refugee status is that China sidesteps its obligations under the 1951 Convention. China does not want to deal with the North Koreans as refugees because it worries about opening a Pandora’s Box which might detract from its focus on its own economic development.14 Regardless of how North Korean cross-border migration is categorized, the situation is a security concern to the region and hence, to the participants in the Six-Party talks. Independent of the categorization question, there are multiple important issues that require closer scrutiny, including instances of worker abuse, human trafficking and other forms of human rights infringement. For instance, North Koreans seeking refuge or political asylum often leave behind family who suffer reprisals as a result of their family member’s departure. The regime’s reprisal mechanisms include imprisonment, confinement to a “re-education” camps and even execution.15 12 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, available at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_p_ref.htm, accessed 1 April 2009. 13 For that matter, one might start as a refugee and become an economic migrant, although this scenario is less likely. 14 This issue is discussed further in Chapter III. 15 One clearly documented example is that of Kang Chol-Hwan, who tells how his whole family was sent to prison for the alleged crimes of his grandfather. Kang Chol-Hwan, The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 40.
  • 23. 7 Table 1. Number of Defectors by Year16 During the past decade, the number of North Koreans crossing the North Korea- China border and reaching South Korea each year has steadily increased (see Table 1). One effect of this population flow is increased awareness within North Korea of the contrast between conditions domestically and in other countries. Over the years, there are stories of defectors sending information back to family and friends by returning to personally relay what they have seen, or planting cell phones to allow North Koreans to communicate with people in China or South Korea. In one incident, an NGO led by a North Korean launched helium balloons over the demilitarized zone (DMZ) into North Korea. Attached to each were a small pouch of rice and money, and a flyer describing South Korean prosperity.17 The lack of empirical evidence on how effectively such information seepage motivates potential defectors is an important area for further research. Anecdotal claims that smuggled South Korean drama videos affected the decision to defect suggest that information seepage into North Korea may contribute to future increases in refugees. Because there is no reliable tracking system, the estimated number of refugees ranges from tens of thousands to up to 300,000.18 Those who cross illegally often remain 16 From the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Unification website. http://www.unikorea.go.kr/eng/default.jsp?pgname=AFFhumanitarian_settlement, accessed 8 January 2009. 17 This came to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission’s attention when members of the Korean People’s Army issued complaints. 18 Hazel Smith provides detailed information on the problems and inaccuracies of the statistics. Hazel Smith, “North Koreans in China: Defining the Problems and Offering Some Solutions,” http://gsti.miis.edu/CEAS-PUB/2003_Smith.pdf, accessed 30 September 2004. Pre-1989: 607 1994: 52 1999: 148 2004: 1,894 1990: 9 1995: 41 2000: 312 2005: 1,383 1991: 9 1996: 56 2001: 583 2006: 2,018 1992: 8 1997: 85 2002: 1,138 2007: 2,544 1993: 8 1998: 71 2003: 1,281 2008: (unavailable)
  • 24. 8 in hiding, increasing the difficulty of gathering statistics. Various NGOs have developed internal statistics, but those who work near North Korea and most closely with the refugees hesitate to provide information, fearing it might compromise their ability to cooperate with the North Korean government or lead to persecution by the Chinese government.19 A large population of ethnic North Koreans live in Yanbian, also known as the Korean Autonomous Region, located in the Jilin province of northeast China, bordering the Ryanggang and North Hamgyong provinces of North Korea (see Figure 1). Ethnic Koreans have long inhabited this area and are co-opted by Chinese authorities to keep regional order. The Koreans are given token positions in local government, but never fill any higher-ranking or top positions in the Chinese government system. The Korean–Chinese who reside in that region, and others who work for various NGOs, run a sort of underground railroad for North Korean refugees, providing safe houses where they can hide from the Chinese police. Late in the evenings, the refugee knocks on the door and is taken in and given food, shelter, and money.20 Some remain in hiding for months, never leaving the building for fear of being caught by the Chinese police. The percentage of migrants crossing the border for economic reasons as opposed to political reasons is not known. Some North Koreans have legal authority to cross the borders multiple times; those who do not risk deportation back to the DPRK if caught by a Chinese patrol. Those repatriated to North Korea are reportedly subject to numerous human rights violations, ranging from forced abortion and infanticide of their new babies to summary execution. Many are sent to prison for punishment or “re-education.”21 19 Smith, “North Koreans in China: Defining the Problems and Offering Some Solutions.” This point is also raised by Scott Snyder in Paved With Good Intentions, The NGO Experience in North Korea, edited by L. Gordon Flake and Scott Snyder (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2003), 114. 20 Based on the author's interview with a former North Korean involved in refugee assistance; the source's identity is confidential due to personal security concerns. 21 Human Rights Watch website, “Denied Status, Denied Education: Children of North Korean Women in China,” http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/northkorea0408web.pdf, accessed 8 July 2008, 3.
  • 25. 9 Figure 1. Map of the shared border between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of China22 22 From United Nations, http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/korean.pdf, accessed 30 September 2004.
  • 26. 10 The standard of living for North Koreans in Yanbian who evade deportation is dismal. Their children do not have access to education and proper care, as they lack legal status in China.23 Other examples of the plight of border-crossers are more extreme. One North Korean woman who eventually made her way to the ROK told horrendous tales of being sold as a sex slave, confined to a house and not allowed to leave. She was then sold to another Chinese man, who took her to work and hid her in a “rubbish storage place” so she could not run away.24 Some go into hiding to evade the Chinese guards and avoid being sent back to DPRK prisons. Stories like these are repeated in the testimonies of refugees who have immigrated to South Korea.25 Despite these conditions, many North Koreans still see Yanbian as a refuge; there are reports of women who seek traffickers to get them out of even worse conditions in North Korea. Events captured by the media in 2002 highlight the international aspects of the North Korean refugee situation. In May, CNN aired dramatic video footage of five North Koreans (including a toddler on her mother’s back) attempting to run through the Japanese consulate gates in Shenyang, China. Chinese police pursued and caught the woman with the child and wrestled her to the ground, knocking the child off her back in the process. The child stood by crying while the police dragged her mother back through the gates, kicking and screaming.26 This incident shone a spotlight on the handling of a human rights issue by China and Japan. The international community scrutinized the role of the Japanese embassy personnel in the incident. There was some debate about whether the Japanese consular staff initially helped the refugees or the Chinese police. The video appears to show the Japanese consular staff standing by as the Chinese officials take away the refugees .One of the staffers even stooped up to pick up and hand back the hats dropped by the three 23 From United Nations, http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/korean.pdf, accessed 30 September 2004, 8. 24 Testimony of Ji Hae-Nam to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on North Korean Human Rights Violation, June 5, 2003, available at http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2003/NamJiTestimony030605.pdf , accessed 30 July 2003. 25 Another detailed source is Kang Chol-Hwan. 26 “Video twist to Japan-China row,” BBC News, 10 May 2002. For video footage, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1978817.stm, accessed 30 May 2002.
  • 27. 11 police officers; perhaps he was uneasy and unsure of exactly how to handle this unusual situation. Eventually, the Japanese government pressured Chinese authorities to release the North Koreans to Japanese officials who then assisted the North Koreans with travel to the ROK.27 The Chinese government has since tightened security around embassy compounds, as well as along parts of the North Korea-China border. Since the incident at the Japanese consulate, attention to the North Korean refugee issue has increased. On October 18, 2003, then President George W. Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act (NKHRA), authorizing funding to assist the North Korean refugees.28 The NKHRA also makes provisions for North Koreans to immigrate to the United States, though to date, only about 43 refugees of 6,000 have been allowed to immigrate.29 The NKHRA has elicited negative response not only from North Korea, as expected, but also from the Republic of Korea, as this is an issue they prefer to handle internally.30 However, as evidenced by the reduction of government funds provided to the increasing number of refugees resettling in the ROK, this is fast becoming a problem the South Koreans cannot handle alone. A multinational, multidisciplinary organization to develop and implement policy might prevent the refugee issue from destabilizing the Northeast Asia region. Until such policy is created, there is the chance that a refugee crisis might occur. The next chapter discusses the military and governmental entities primarily responsible for dealing with the 27 According to follow-up news, it appears that the Japanese officials allowed the Chinese police to take away the refugees, and then changed their minds, most likely for political reasons. When North Korean defectors break into an embassy, it is common for the PRC to demand a price from the embassy's home nation. This price usually involves agreeing to install additional barriers to the embassy to make future attempts harder. 28 For an update on the NKHRA, see Steve Wiscombe, "North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2008 Passes in Congress,” available at http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00100&num=4104, accessed 30 October 2008. 29 “Ros-Lehtinen Introduces North Korea Human Rights Act Legislation co-authored with Chairman Berman may see vote in late April,” 17 April 2008, press release on House Foreign Affairs Committee website, available at http://foreignaffairs.republicans.house.gov/list/press/foreignaffairs_rep/041708NK.shtml, accessed 30 October 2008. 30 For interesting responses to criticisms of the NKHRA, see Balbina Hwang, “Spotlight on the North Korean Human Rights Act: Correcting Misperceptions,” Heritage Foundation, available at http://www.heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/bg1823.cfm., accessed 30 March 2008.
  • 28. 12 humanitarian crisis should a refugee scenario occur on the Korean peninsula. It presents recommendations to enhance capabilities to better deal with such a crisis.
  • 29. 13 II. SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE ISSUE Following the Communist regime’s collapse, the early stabilization of the North could fall unofficially to the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and U.S. Forces Korea (which is a semiautonomous subcommand of PACOM), also wearing blue UN helmets. But while the U.S. military would have operational responsibility, it would not have sole control. It would have to lead an unwieldy regional coalition that would need to deploy rapidly in order to stabilize the North and deliver humanitarian assistance. A successful relief operation in North Korea in the weeks following the regime’s collapse could mean the difference between anarchy and prosperity on the peninsula for years to come.31 This chapter addresses the security implications of the North Korean refugee issue for the Northeast Asian region. There is a large U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula and in Japan whose mission is to defend the Republic of Korea against North Korean aggression.32 In addition to the uncertainty of the Kim Jong Il regime and its nuclear threat, there is a high risk of regional instability arising from a sudden change scenario. This chapter explores the implications of a refugee-related crisis for the ROK and U.S. militaries in Northeast Asia and the coalition supporting the United Nations Command in Korea. It begins by describing how refugees might present a problem to the military on the Korean peninsula. The chapter then focuses on the military actors responsible for security on the Korean peninsula who conduct exercises and would be engaged in war fighting and humanitarian relief in the event of a sudden change scenario in North Korea. The chapter describes how command relationships affect the military's ability to respond to a refugee scenario and explores ways of improving exercises and planning. Two major challenges to successful operations are identified: constraints on information, and the effects of inadequate information and coordination on logistical 31 Kaplan, 2. 32 According to the United States Forces Japan Forces (USJF) website and United States Forces and Korea (USFK) Public Affairs Office (PAO), respectively, approximately 50,000 serve in Japan and approximately 28,500 in Korea. USJF website, http://www.usfj.mil/Welcome_to_USFJ/Welcome_to_USFJ.html, accessed January 2009. Interview between PAO officer and author, 8 March 2009.
  • 30. 14 planning. The chapter explores how focusing an annual exercise on a humanitarian relief scenario might help overcome these challenges and forge better cooperation and coordination among the parties involved while simultaneously helping prepare for the possibility of a sudden change scenario involving mass movement of refugees. A. REFUGEES AS A PROBLEM FOR THE MILITARY ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA For years, people have predicted the collapse of the North Korean regime accompanied by a mass exodus of refugees.33 Kim Jong Il’s regime managed to pull through the wide-scale famine of the mid-1990s that many anticipated might lead to his demise. Despite rumors of illness, he continues to maintain a semblance of control over the North Korean population, although there are signs that his power has weakened in the past decade. The numbers of North Korean refugees leaving through the Chinese border and arriving in South Korea sharply increased over the last 10 years. Estimates range from 20,000 to 200,000 refugees in a holding pattern in northeastern China.34 Non-conflict scenarios for North Korea focus on regime collapse and address mass refugee exodus as a collateral issue. However, mass movement of refugees can present serious security issues as well as humanitarian concerns. David Maxwell outlines two soft landing and two hard landing scenarios.35 He posits that the former, which both involve voluntary cooperation by the North Korean regime with South Korea, are less likely than the hard landing scenarios.36 In the first of the two hard landing scenarios, a “complete collapse and disintegration of the national government” is accompanied by a 33 Robert A. Wampler, editor, “North Korea’s Collapse? The End is Near–Maybe,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 205, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB205/index.htm, October 26, 2006, accessed 30 April 2008. See also Kaplan. 34 It is not uncommon for defectors to South Korea to start up their own NGO or help other NGOs by secretly injecting outside information to those North Koreans still sequestered from the global community. Jack Kim, “South Korea NGOs set anti-Kim leaflet drop in North,” October 22, 2008, http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-36092420081022, accessed 30 October 2008. 35 David S. Maxwell, “Catastrophic Collapse of North Korea: Implications for the United States Military” (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1996), 11. 36 In the first soft landing scenario, Kim Jong Il realizes he is no longer an effective leader and agrees to cooperate with the South in a phased unification; in the second, Kim Jong Il’s power is usurped in a coup and a more moderate regime takes his place and cooperates with the South. Maxell deems both these scenarios highly unlikely.
  • 31. 15 “breakdown of the internal security apparatus,” leading to a mass exodus of refugees looking for scarce resources. The catastrophic consequence would be that the countries they migrate to would be ill-prepared to support them, which could “cause extraordinary population control measures to be instituted.”37 In the second hard-landing scenario, a coup is staged and factions struggling for power cause a civil war, which would also lead to a mass migration of people seeking both resources and safety. In short, the most probable scenarios for regime collapse in North Korea are likely to involve massive movement of refugees. In a refugee scenario, tens of thousands of people would move en masse on the peninsula. This would complicate military operations enormously should it coincide with a conflict. Even in the absence of conflict, a refugee scenario, with a wide variety of logistical, security and humanitarian challenges, might well produce pandemonium. Such scenarios would constitute what former Agency for International Development analyst Andrew S. Natsios calls a complex humanitarian emergency requiring integrated responses from multiple actors, including the military.38 Experiences in Iraq and the relief efforts for the Asian tsunami, Pakistani earthquake and Hurricane Katrina reveal much to learn about planning and coordinating stabilization and reconstruction efforts and dealing with the humanitarian needs of large groups of displaced persons. Problems range from the immediate, such as preventing the spread of disease and providing adequate nutrition, shelter and security, to the long-term, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, separated families, and providing schooling for children and permanent homes for the displaced. This list is not exhaustive. Most of these problems require vast resources and extensive interagency coordination.39 37 Maxwell, 15. 38 Andrew S. Natsios, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex Emergencies (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1997), 1. 39 A North Korean refugee scenario presents the added security issue of North Korean agents imbedded among the displaced population.
  • 32. 16 North Korean refugees present a political and humanitarian issue with huge operational implications for military personnel on the Korean peninsula. As Kaplan observes, any refugee scenario would have to be dealt with by the United States Forces Korea (USFK) and ROK militaries.40 B. OWNERS OF THE PROBLEM: UN COMMAND, UN COMMAND REAR, COMBINED FORCES COMMAND AND U.S. FORCES KOREA The ROK–U.S. alliance is the core of military deterrent capabilities on the southern Korean peninsula. Forged during the Korean War, the alliance has been sustained since the signing of the armistice, surviving domestic turmoil spurred by ROK President Park Chung-hee’s assassination, the subsequent military coup and the Gwangju Democratization Movement. The relationship continues despite anti-American sentiments, which peaked in 2002.41 Efforts by the ROK and U.S. militaries to forge close working relationships through various outreach programs greatly contribute to the maintenance of the ROK–U.S. alliance.42 The Korean People’s Army (KPA) continuously attempts to drive a wedge into this tight relationship. Despite vast differences between the previous ROK administration’s policies toward North Korea and those of the U.S. administration, the alliance remains strong. The alliance's deterrent properties are further reinforced by support from the standing coalition of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Of the nations that supported the United Nations Command during the Korean War, these 14 coalition countries continue to augment the present-day alliance, pledging support in the event of another act of aggression against the Republic of Korea; along with the Republic of Korea and the United States, they are collectively known as the United Nations Command Korea. Although they did not sign the armistice, the 14 other 40 Kaplan. 41 Anti-American sentiments were at a high during 2002 when Roh Moo Hyun ran on an anti- American platform and won the presidential election. 42 Some examples are the CFC’s and USFK’s Good Neighbor Programs, which enhance community relations between U.S. personnel serving in the ROK and local Korean citizens and businesses. Also, the ROK Ministry of Defense hosts many U.S. service personnel and their families on cultural tours and exchanges.
  • 33. 17 coalition members pledge to “again be united and prompt to resist” should there be “a renewal of the armed attack, challenging again the principles of the UN.”43 Supporting a major crisis on the Korean Peninsula would be enormously more problematic without UN Command Rear (UNC Rear), a major theater logistic enabler. There are seven bases throughout Japan where accredited members of UNC Rear are allowed to sail or fly in under the UNC flag.44 Because the government of Japan is committed to providing support under a previous agreement, the UNC Rear commander, an Army colonel, does not need to secure concurrence from the government of Japan. Each time a UNC Rear-accredited Sending State sends a ship to port or an aircraft into a UNC Rear base, merely informing the government of Japan meets the terms outlined in the agreement. 1. Command Structures Unique to the Korean theater is the command relationship between the ROK and U.S. militaries, and how the UNC Sending States fit into this relationship.45 During the Korean War, President Syngman Rhee allowed General MacArthur to take operational command of Korean forces as the commander-in-chief of the United Nations Command, the lead command responsible for ROK defense.46 On November 7, 1978, the Combined Forces Command (CFC), including ROK officers, stood up for planning and defense of 43 The War History Compilation Committee, The Republic of Korea, History of U.N. Forces in Korean War, Volume V (Seoul: Ministry of the National Defense, 1976), 473. 44 Not all accredited members of UNC Korea are accredited members of UNC Rear. Accredited members of UNC Rear are Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, United States and United Kingdom. Italy and the Republic of South Africa are still listed as accredited members of UNC Rear, but are no longer accredited members of UNC Korea. According to the UNC Rear Commander, if an accredited member of UNC Korea is not an accredited member of UNC Rear, they can apply through the UNC Rear Commander for accreditation. The seven bases that support accredited members of UNC Rear are Camp Zama, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Sasebo Naval Base, White Beach, Kadena and Yokota Air Base, and Yokosuka Naval Base. 45 Although the United States is an accredited member of UNC, the bilateral nature of its relationship with the ROK distinguishes it from the other members. For an in-depth discussion of command and legal issues, see Donald A. Timm, “Visiting Forces in Korea,” in Dieter Fleck, editor, The Handbook of the Law of Visiting Forces (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 443-469. 46 Won-Il Jung, “The Future of the United Nations Command in Republic of Korea” (Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, May 3, 2004), 10.
  • 34. 18 South Korea.47 This command structure remained in place until 1994, when peacetime control of ROK forces was transferred back to the ROK military. In the event of war, operational control of ROK forces will fall under the UNC Commander, a U.S. army four-star general. After April 17, 2012, that wartime operational command will remain under ROK control. Many senior military personnel serving in the USFK also have authority in the CFC and the UNC. The USFK Commander, an Army four-star general, wears “three hats” as the UNC, CFC, and USFK commander, and carries the title of Senior U.S. Military Officer Assigned to Korea (SUSMOAK). With the transfer of wartime operational control of ROK forces back to ROK military leadership in the year 2012, the CFC will dissolve and be replaced by the ROK Joint Forces Command (JFC) and the U.S. Korea Command (KORCOM). The KORCOM Commander will be dual-hatted as the UNC Commander, and both KORCOM and UNC will serve as supporting commands to the ROK JFC. An augmenting force capability not yet fully realized by the ROK and U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula is that of the UNC Sending States.48 Although the national command authority of each UNC Sending State makes its own arrangements for controlling their forces in a crisis, any forces contributed on behalf of a UNC Sending State would likely fall under the UNC Commander's operational control (OPCON), similar to MacArthur's Korean War authority as UNC Commander.49 This will also be the case after the 2012 OPCON transfer. 47 Jung, 11. 48 For purposes of this thesis, the term “UNC Sending States” or “Sending States” refers to one or all of the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and United Kingdom. The United States is also Sending State. However, as the discussion in this thesis centers around how the other 14 Sending States augment ROK and U.S. forces, the term as used here excludes the United States. 49 Jung states, “Because the allied troops constituted only about 10 percent of UNC ground forces, the forces of other UN member states were integrated and attached into the U.S. units of appropriate size as they arrived.” Jung, 3.
  • 35. 19 2. Challenges to Military Support and Coordination: Information Sharing and Logistical Planning [T]he more sophisticated the country, the more technologically advanced its industries, and the more reliant is its policy on the use of defense as an overt implement of diplomacy, then the more likely it is that the rules governing military activity are nationally centered and exclude collaboration with all but the most trusted allies. Even with the ‘most trusted’ allies there will still be a tendency to release information and goods only with explicit consent of higher authority.50 Korean theater command relationships present two major challenges to coalition operations. The first challenge is information sharing. Even in command structures where one nation leads a coalition, information sharing is often a limiting factor in coalition operations. The ROK–US alliance is more complex; challenges to information sharing in the multinational coalition environment complicate exercise scenarios when UNC Sending States send representatives to participate alongside ROK and U.S. forces. Furthermore, the ever-changing global political climate affects relationships among the Sending States, the ROK and the U.S. These relationships have a profound impact on logistics planning, which feeds into the second major challenge: developing logistical plans with inadequate information and coordination with the coalition. 3. Constraints on Information: A Crucial Problem Under the auspices of UNC/CFC/USFK, the ROK and U.S. militaries conduct two major command post exercises each year, ULCHI FREEDOM GUARDIAN and KEY RESOLVE. Both are rehearsals for wartime defense of the ROK in the event of North Korean aggression; neither emphasizes military response in the event of a mass refugee scenario. Since 2002, the UNC/CFC/USFK has made UNC integration a priority for the two annual command post exercises. The ROK–US alliance requires concurrence between the ROK and U.S. military leadership before decisions can be implemented. The participation and integration of UNC Sending States is limited by the ROK's 50 Stuart Addy, “Logistic Support,” in Dieter Fleck, editor, The Handbook of the Law of Visiting Forces (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 212.
  • 36. 20 reluctance to disclose OPLAN information to other UNC participants. The ROK's hesitation is justifiable, as all UNC Sending States except France and the United States maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea. Nonetheless, the limits on information- sharing have far-reaching consequences, especially for logistical planning. Limited information-sharing affects the integration of the UNC Sending States into the two annual exercises on the Korean peninsula, which in turn affects planners' ability to anticipate and prepare for both war fighting and humanitarian relief contingencies. 4. Planning without Commitment: The Logistical Challenges of Inadequate Information and Coordination During the Korean War, the United Kingdom was the first UN participant to commit naval forces. They were integrated with the U.S. Navy just five days after the start of the war.51 British ground troops, committed a month later, arrived approximately 60 days after hostilities commenced.52 Today, many of the Sending States have force commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Should hostilities or crises develop on the Korean peninsula, it is unclear which and how many UNC Sending State forces would be sent, and how long it might take for them to arrive. Commitment priorities for each Sending State’s troops and equipment are also uncertain. The amount of resources the UNC Sending States can provide varies with their level of economic strength. Their political relations with regional players impact their willingness to offer support in a conflict or humanitarian crisis, and their political relations with the ROK and the United States may affect which phase of a conflict they choose to be involved in. If war were to break out on the Korean peninsula tonight, numerous U.S. forces would join the U.S. forces already stationed there. A plan lays out exactly which units would come from where, how many personnel would be sent, the amount and type of equipment they would need, and each unit’s mission. For example, a stateside unit with F-16s dedicated to defending the Korean peninsula regularly trains and practices 51 War History Compilation Committee, History of U.S. Forces in Korean War, Volume II (Seoul: Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea, 1973), 663. 52 War History Compilation Committee, 588.
  • 37. 21 scrambling the jets and gathering personnel to arrive in the Korean theater within a specified amount of time, while logisticians on the peninsula practice doing everything necessary to receive and support the unit upon its arrival. In contrast, because the 14 individual UNC Sending States do not have standing commitments specifying which forces and how many personnel they would send to defend the ROK or support a humanitarian crisis, logistical planning is problematic. The Sending States' decisions would be made when a crisis is brewing at the very earliest, or as late as months down the road after a conflict breaks out. Twice a year, the operational plan is exercised and U.S. forces' reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) are rehearsed. If the UNC Sending States’ assets are not spelled out in a plan, only limited RSOI processes can be exercised. These processes include procedures for requesting specific capabilities and forces from the UNC Sending States and accepting what the UNC Sending States offer of their own volition. Should a crisis break out, a Sending State’s offer would depend on its available resources and global commitments. Once an offer is made, ROK and U.S. senior officials would confer with the Sending State National Command Element to decide whether to accept it and how to employ the resources. On the other hand, ROK and U.S. militaries might request assistance from a Sending State to fill a specific need. The acceptance and offers procedure of UNC Sending State assets is very much a political and economic process that creates situations where logisticians and support functions have to react to the decisions made above them. In the twice-yearly exercises, lack of information on likely resources from UNC Sending States limits preplanning and makes it difficult to specify how units will progress through RSOI. Furthermore, a host of additional questions plague the planning process, including concerns about compatibility of equipment, supplies, communications, personnel and procedures. The more knowledge of the Sending State’s capabilities and support requirements, the easier it is to plan. The longer it takes for such questions to be answered, the more likely that challenges to logistical support will compromise the mission.
  • 38. 22 C. MEETING THE CHALLENGES: HUMANITARIAN EXERCISES AS A SOLUTION TO INFORMATION AND LOGISTICS PLANNING PROBLEMS General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “You will not find it difficult to prove that battles, campaigns, and even wars have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.”53 A sudden change scenario and the subsequent humanitarian crisis would present an unparalleled logistical challenge. As Robert Kaplan observes, in such a situation, the United States would “lead an unwieldy regional coalition that would need to deploy rapidly in order to stabilize the North and deliver humanitarian assistance.”54 The coalition's unwieldiness results from the challenge of coordinating ROK and U.S. forces, as well as the difficulty of integrating forces and support from the 14 UNC Sending States. Suggested elements of joint phasing presented in a model consists of six phases: Phase 0, Shaping; Phase 1, Deterrence; Phase 2, Seize the Initiative; Phase 3, Dominate, Phase 4, Stabilization and Reconstruction; and Phase 5, Enable Civil Authority.55 A refugee crisis would require responses focused at Phases 4 and 5, stabilization and reconstruction and support for civil authority. At the present time, the two annual exercises on the Korean peninsula focus almost exclusively on wartime defense of South Korea, with little effort expended on dealing with refugees. The closest scenario exercise is a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) that simulates evacuation of approximately 123,000 noncombatants from the Korean peninsula.56 However, after evacuation of noncombatants from the peninsula during a NEO, responsibility for their care no longer rests with the UNC/CFC/USFK. Potential refugee scenarios might involve similar numbers of people, but would be accompanied by many more complexities. As described above, the mass 53 Logistics Quotations website, http://www.logisticsworld.com/logistics/quotations.htm, accessed 4 February 2009. 54 Kaplan. 55 See Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Operation Planning (Washington, D.C.: Joint Staff, 26 December 2006), IV-35 through IV-37. 56 Author interview with USFK Current Operations section NEO Officer, Seoul, 13 November 2008.
  • 39. 23 migration of refugees on the peninsula would present tremendous short and long term challenges, especially if it occurs during war fighting. Although Maxwell notes that “planning for the defense of the ROK from attack by the North is the primary focus of UNC/CFC/ROK, and USFK military commands,” he also advises that it would be “prudent to examine other potential courses of action and at least prepare concept plans that can be finalized if and when indicators show that such other courses may come to fruition.”57 In order to develop such plans, it is crucial to know the UNC Sending State force capabilities likely be contributed in such scenarios, as well as the accompanying logistical details necessary for sustainment support. The challenge is to overcome the information access limitation and its impact on logistics planning in order to better integrate UNC Sending States into Korean peninsula exercises. The best solution is not to force integration into the war-fighting exercises, but rather to create a new annual exercise or replace one of the two war-fighting exercises with an exercise focused on Stabilization and Reconstruction (Phase 4) and related civil military operations. There are a number of advantages to pursuing such a shift in exercise scenarios. Exercising a humanitarian scenario relies less on sensitive information than exercising a war fighting scenario. As noted above, international relationships determine how much information is shared. Dealing with a sensitive operational war plan increases the restrictions. It does not make sense for UNC Sending States to spend time and resources participating in the UNC/CFC/USFK exercises if they are denied necessary information. The Sending States may agree to participate more fully in UNC/CFC/USFK humanitarian scenario exercises with fewer restrictions on information sharing. Furthermore, exercising a humanitarian scenario may more accurately mirror a real world situation, as it is likely that most UNC Sending State participation would occur during these later phases. In addition, operations in other theaters show that more countries choose to participate in Phase 4, Stabilization and Reconstruction, as such participation is politically less risky and more likely to gain domestic support. For all of these reasons, UNC integration efforts seems most likely to succeed if focused less on 57 Maxwell, 2.
  • 40. 24 integration of the war fight and more on integration of subsequent operations to achieve stabilization, reconstruction and enabling civil authority. Overcoming information sharing restrictions by shifting focus to a humanitarian- based exercise scenario offers an additional advantage, as it would allow the U.S. to take the logistics challenge head-on. For the logisticians to do their job properly, agreements should be reached first, as these establish the legal and regulatory foundation for the use of monies and other resources.58 Some of the 14 UNC Sending States have agreements with the ROK government, and some with the United States, to receive logistical support while performing operations on the Korean peninsula. These agreements cover support ranging from feeding and clothing military forces to servicing ground, air, and naval assets and equipment. Exercising these agreements to test their sufficiency and determine if updates or additions are required is critical to improving U.S. planning and assuring mission success. Towards this goal, UNC/CFC/USFK could enlist Pacific Command's (PACOM) Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) to create an exercise involving all UNC Sending States. The MPAT has conducted numerous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises, and has hosted participants from numerous Pacific Rim countries and island nations. Their mission statement describes MPAT as a “cooperative multinational effort to facilitate the rapid and effective establishment and/or augmentation of a multinational task force headquarters” that “provides responsive coalition/combined expertise in crisis action planning.”59 An operational concept with a general indication of estimated capabilities and timelines can be developed without precommitting forces. Sharing information on matters such as equipment interoperability, medical capabilities, force and equipment capabilities and best practices would help integrate the RSOI of UNC Sending State forces into the operations plan. As various factors would determine the type and amount 58 Examples are ACSAs (Acquisition Cross-Servicing Agreements) and MOAs (Memoranda of Agreement). 59 U.S. Pacific Command, Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) website, http://www1.apan-info.net/Default.aspx?alias=www1.apan-info.net/mpat, accessed 1 November 2008.
  • 41. 25 of assets committed, firm commitment of actual forces must wait until they are needed. However, an operational plan for integrating the processes of likely participants can be prepared and codified in advance. Humanitarian-based scenarios also offer an opportunity to engage and develop relationships with a variety of governmental and nongovernmental organizations whose participation in a crisis would be crucial for successful resolution. Exercising interagency relationships can maximize efficiencies in the event of crisis. For example, the U.S. Department of State, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and the ROK Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) and Unification (MOU) might all be involved and more easily integrated into a humanitarian refugee exercise scenario. There would be much value added if information gleaned from such exercises were integrated into logistics and command processes. The activities of NGOs may impact security in the region because these groups have the potential to affect the North Korean regime. In Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea, L. Gordon Flake and Scott Snyder examine interactions in North Korea between the North Korean government and NGOs from the United States, Europe, and South Korea.60 The NGO personnel have exposure to parts of North Korea kept inaccessible to the international media and the world community; their insight adds valuable perspective to the inner workings of the DPRK government. As Victor Cha notes, since North Korea is an opaque state, much U.S. policy is based on assumptions. Information from NGO experiences can help improve policy. Furthermore, interagency coordination with NGOs and IGOs can bridge the gap between policy- making and practical implementation, which would be useful for international community assistance in the reconstruction and stabilization of North Korea. Snyder and Scott found that the NGOs’ experiences in other countries did not prepare them for dealing with the DPRK regime in administering humanitarian aid.61 In a disaster response, NGO personnel generally encounter fragmented governmental structures. In the DPRK, the government is intact and highly controlling, posing a great 60 Flake and Snyder. 61 Flake and Snyder, 3.
  • 42. 26 impediment to NGO efforts at food distribution and other humanitarian aid.62 Likewise, the DPRK government was in a difficult position; they were heavily dependent on outside help for food assistance after the 1995 famine brought about by natural disasters, yet accepting help required opening up to outsiders and relinquishing a degree of control over their population.63 In an attempt to maintain control, the DPRK government imposed strict controls on personnel allowed into the country. For example, no Korean-speaking personnel were admitted, increasing the NGO’s reliance on government escorts. This presented additional constraints, since there were limited numbers of escorts available.64 Even with escorts, the NGOs were not allowed in certain parts of the country for military security reasons.65 As a result, it was difficult to monitor food distribution. (DPRK officials may have purposely impeded monitoring to facilitate hoarding by the elites). In addition to providing humanitarian aid, the intervention affected the perceptions of the DPRK technocrats entrusted to escort the NGO participants. Their time with NGO personnel revealed the nature and the seriousness of their country's situation. Flake and Snyder believe these technocrats can serve as catalysts for change. They might influence their government to move beyond food aid and tight control, accept developmental assistance and restructure the regime, eventually creating a more open society and contributing to the world community.66 D. COALITION DEVELOPMENT Revising the annual exercises on the Korean peninsula to integrate refugee scenarios would affect the U.S. military stationed on the Korean Peninsula, Japan and elsewhere in the Pacific.67 The government of Japan allows use of UNC Rear bases 62 Flake and Snyder, 2. 63 Ibid, 3. 64 Ibid, 6. 65 Ibid, 7. 66 Ibid, 117. 67 Approximately 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed on mainland Japan and Okinawa. USFJ homepage, http://www.usfj.mil/Welcome_to_USFJ/Welcome_to_USFJ.html, accessed 4 January 2009.
  • 43. 27 throughout Japan for logistical support of the Korean theater. A multinational coalition humanitarian scenario exercise might pave the way for Japan’s participation and contribute to a better working relationship between the ROK military and the Japan Self Defense Forces. The UNC coalition is sometimes identified as more valuable in presenting a unified international face to the North Koreans rather than as a force provider, but these functions are not mutually exclusive. Although UNC Sending States’ forces are small compared to U.S. forces, many have niche capabilities that could tip the balance in a crisis, especially if their capabilities are matched to gaps and shortfalls. Encouraging greater integration by the Sending States, even in a restricted information sharing environment, might provide answers to numerous logistical questions useful in planning to maximize the use of these forces. Maxwell advises developing a contingency plan (CONPLAN) for non-conflict scenarios. Altering a command post exercise to include a focus on Phase 4 operations would facilitate spelling out how UNC Sending State forces would be integrated. Integration of UNC resources in the last three exercises has posed tremendous challenges due to information disclosure issues. Based on other theater operations, if most UNC Sending State participation occurred in Phase 4 operations, there are ways to practice processes and develop relationships to maximize interoperability and efficiency among the ROK, the U.S., and the Sending State nations. With the current command structure, UNC forces would be led by the 4-star U.S. commander; this structure will remain after the OPCON transfer in 2012. After the OPCON transfer, the U.S. will take a “supporting to supported” role. The ROK will control their own forces even in wartime, and U.S. forces, together with UNC forces, will provide support as needed. The UNC integration emphasis began in 2004, and the ROK military, focused on the 2012 OPCON transfer, has not fully engaged with the integration concept. It would benefit the ROK to take more interest in UNC Sending State integration. The Civil Military Operations Division (CMOD) is a growing, ROK-led organization in charge of civil military operations on the Korean peninsula. As a developing organization, the
  • 44. 28 CMOD has the potential to coordinate UNC Sending State assets with its own organization and missions. Although the CMOD is the coordinating agency with IGOs and NGOs, there is little day-to-day interface among the groups during armistice. Given the reasonable assumption that UNC Sending States forces would be most heavily represented during Phase 4, and that IGOs and NGOs will also have a strong presence in this phase, it would behoove the ROK government to encourage their CMOD to interface with these agencies. Representatives of the Naval, Air, Ground, and Special Operations components and staff agencies such as the Surgeon’s office and subsections of the logistics community have inquired during exercise planning conferences about the capabilities that would be provided by UNC Sending States in a conflict. Because current conditions preclude Sending States from participating in exercise planning by restricting information dissemination, such questions remain unanswered. This leaves a planning gap at the operational level. Should conflict break out, UNC Sending States will still be integrated, but without prior planning. Integration and interoperability coordination would be awkward, and subsequent logistic support would be at best a reaction-based, muddle- through process, an afterthought rather than a well-planned out process. Kaplan’s depiction of the United States as leading an “unwieldy regional coalition” would likely seem a vast understatement. Since information disclosure is the main limiting factor, the CFC should take the lead in creating a forum where the relevant agencies of the ROK, the United States, UNC Sending States, and various IGOs and NGOs can share information and develop cooperative relationships. No OPLAN information would be required, and the results of this collaboration could be integrated into the OPLAN. As relationships grow and trust is fostered, full integration into the exercises may become more likely. MPAT was already mentioned as an avenue to this end. For the ROK-led CMOD, the recommendation would be to embed U.S. civil affairs and foreign area officers into its organization, and consult with professionals of various other disciplines. Nowadays, the NGOs and faith-based organizations that have banded together to help North Korean refugees are organized and knowledgeable through field experience with
  • 45. 29 the North Korean population. Specialists in health care, psychology, education and social work are studying the North Koreans and their ability to assimilate into South Korean and American society. Along with demographic analyses, their knowledge might be indispensible in planning responses to sudden change scenarios involving North Korean refugees. As an added benefit, research from such collaboration might contribute to development of alternative U.S. policy approaches towards the North Korean nuclear issue. This chapter addressed the responsibilities of the U.S., ROK, and coalition militaries should a refugee crisis emerge. This chapter also addressed the potential magnitude of the North Korean refugee issue should no proactive actions be taken. The following chapter switches focus from reactive to proactive. It discusses each of the regional players who have a stake in the refugee issue and outlines the bilateral issues each has with North Korea that may inhibit it from addressing the issue. That information is used to inform policy recommendations intended to preclude a refugee crisis from occurring.
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  • 47. 31 III. THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE ISSUE AND THE SIX PARTY MEMBERS The North Korean refugee issue may not be in the forefront of any of the Six Party nations’ agendas, but if left unchecked, it has the potential to become a destabilizing humanitarian disaster. Its impact in terms of human and economic costs might even surpass the 2004 Asian tsunami or 2005 Hurricane Katrina. North Korea’s neighbors should not wish the refugee problem away, but should be proactive and implement policy to mitigate its potential to become an unmanageable problem. To lay the groundwork for policy recommendations in Chapter IV, this chapter begins by reviewing each country’s historical relationship with North Korea. Because international relations influence the perceptions of each receiving population toward North Koreans who may want to immigrate, the historical background provides insight to factors that may hinder a country’s desire to address this issue, providing the perspective necessary for developing sound policy. The Korean diaspora constitutes an important subpopulation of each country. The United States, China, and Japan together represent 80 percent of the overseas Korean population.68 Details on the nature of the Korean populations in China, Japan, Russia, and the United States can suggest the type of policy each country might most profitably develop. These Korean diasporas are potential conduits between the receiving populations and new North Korean settlers, and their characteristics may hinder or assist refugee assimilation. The discussion of South Korea centers on North Koreans who have already immigrated and the problems associated with their integration into South Korean society. National policies will influence North Korean immigrants' ability to assimilate and succeed in their new environments. South Koreans living abroad had a significant 68 The next largest concentrations are in the Commonwealth of Independent States, in which Uzbekistan has the highest number, followed by Russia, and in Canada. Inbom Choi, “Korean Diaspora in the Making: Its Current Status and Impact on the Korean Economy” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 17–18.
  • 48. 32 impact on the economic development of their home country, and the success of North Koreans abroad could have a similar impact on North Korean development.69 If the Six Party nations work together to resolve the refugee issue, they can develop a solution that both eases the suffering of the refugees and has a positive effect on the rest of the North Korean people. A solution might encourage North Korea to become a more open society, and a more open society is more transparent. Greater transparency, in turn, might help resolve the bilateral issues between North Korea and each of the individual countries, including the nuclear issue. For example, if each country were to create a guest worker program that legalized North Korean immigration and employment, not only could North Koreans have a legal outlet to work and support their families, but countries like Japan and Russia could alleviate their worker shortage problems, and China's borders would become more secure. Indeed, such measures might lead to greater overall security in the Northeast Asian region. Awareness of potential short and long term problems likely to emerge from the refugee issue is critical for developing policies and programs to alleviate the situation. The challenge is to formulate policy acceptable to all of the Six Party nations. A. NATIONAL AGENDAS OF THE SIX PARTY MEMBERS Each Six Party nation has its own issues and concerns with North Korea that influence each country's incentives in dealing with the refugee issue. For China, the numbers of refugees flowing across their shared border is an unwanted distraction. Any event triggering a mass exodus threatens regional stability and would be a major detractor to China’s current focus on economic and military growth. North Korea has a large monetary debt to Russia, which it is paying off by sending labor forces to work in the timber industry in the Russian Far East (RFE) region, where Russians themselves are unwilling to work and live. South Korea is concerned with the economic and social ramifications of reunification, while Japan wants to resolve the abduction of its citizens 69 Choi describes how the Korean diasporas abroad affected the development of the Korean economy through trade and investment, funds transfers, and the labor market. Inbom Choi, “Korean Diaspora in the Making: Its Current Status and Impact on the Korean Economy” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 17–27.
  • 49. 33 before moving onto any other issues, including the nuclear issue. The United States’ main efforts on North Korean issues focus on the nuclear issue rather than the humanitarian needs of refugees. If the Six Party nations were to collaborate and develop policy to address the refugee issue, this policy might alleviate or resolve many such bilateral issues. B. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND CHINA Of all the Six Party nations, China holds the key to the fate of the North Korean refugees. The 868-mile shared border, and the large ethnic Korean population living across the Tumen River in the Yanbian Autonomous Region, facilitate North Koreans' escape and provide a place for them to hide.70 Chinese authorities are unwilling to sanction asylum, and despite condemnation from the international community for human rights violations, they frequently return captured refugees to face a dismal fate in North Korea. To China, international disapprobation is the lesser of the two evils, especially when the alternative is collapse of the North Korean regime followed by a mass exodus of refugees into their territory. 1. History of Relations between North Korea and China Historically, China has very strong cultural ties to the whole of the Korean peninsula. Ideologically and economically, China has been a staunch supporter of North Korea, especially when it came to North Korea’s aid during the Korean War. However, a relationship once described as “close as lips to teeth” has become distant and pragmatic. The year 1992, when China normalized relations with South Korea, marked the turning point in the relationship. The deteriorating relationship was further degraded with North 70 According to Si Joong Kim, approximately two million ethnic Koreans live in China, which is about 40 percent of all overseas Koreans. In China, the largest concentration of ethnic Koreans lives in Yanbian. Si Joong Kim, “The Economic Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in China” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy, (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 103–104.
  • 50. 34 Korea's nuclear test in 2006.71 The past and present value of North Korea for China has been to serve as a buffer zone between China and democratic South Korea with its large U.S. presence. As it stands now, China wants to focus on developing its economy. North Korean relations with China might improve if it were to follow suit under Chinese tutelage. China is interested in maintaining a stable North Korea and North Korean regime, as it wants to maintain its buffer zone and is not ready to absorb a mass exodus of refugees should the regime or state of North Korea fail. 2. The Korean Diaspora in China The second largest population of Koreans outside the peninsula is concentrated in China.72 Many ethnic Koreans migrated to China between 1850 and 1945, propelled by a variety of motives, including escape from the famine in Korea and the Japanese occupation.73 Within China, the majority of ethnic Koreans are concentrated in Yanbian, a section in Jilin province (also known as the Korean Autonomous Region) where PRC minority policy grants ethnic Koreans regional autonomy.74 This clustering of ethnic Koreans has allowed them to maintain much of their cultural heritage and language. Many signs throughout the city of Yangi are written in both Hangul and Chinese, and it is not uncommon to come across bilingual Hangul and Mandarin speakers. Because Yanbian is geographically contiguous with North Korea and because of the PRC’s isolation from South Korea prior to normalization of relations, the ethnic Koreans in this region are culturally closer to the North Koreans than the South Koreans. However, due to strengthened Chinese–South Korean relations, increasing numbers of 71 Peter Hayes, the executive director of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development, is quoted in a background paper as saying that China became a “bad patron” when it normalized relations with South Korea, and the DPRK lost its status as China’s “tributary state.” Jayshree Bajoria, “The China-North Korea Relationship,” Council on Foreign Relations. http://www.cfr.org/publication/11097/ , accessed 30 October 2008. 72 The largest concentration is in the United States. Choi, “Korean Diaspora in the Making: Its Current Status and Impact on the Korean Economy,” 17. 73 Si Joong Kim, “The Economic Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in China” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 102. 74 Si Joong Kim, 109.
  • 51. 35 South Koreans immigrate or travel to northeast China for business purposes. As the influx of South Korean businesses increases the need for Chinese networks and language, ethnic Korean–Chinese have been drawn to these locations.75 Because of geographic accessibility, North Korean refugees turn to the ethnic Koreans in China for help in defecting. Bribing the North Korean guards, they make their way across the Tumen River into China to find food or a way to make money to take back to their families. Korean–Chinese are willing to help the refugees for several reasons. Familial ties tend to make ethnic Koreans in China more sympathetic than their counterparts in other countries. Furthermore, during the famine in China in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many ethnic Koreans crossed from China into North Korea to find food.76 Now that the flow is reversed, this shared history, combined with their Korean identity, gives many Korean–Chinese a sense of kinship, allowing them to identify and sympathize with the North Koreans' plight. 3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for China Because it fears a flood of refugees, the Chinese government routinely repatriates North Koreans despite condemnation from the international community, justifying their return under an agreement between China and North Korea. China’s stance is that North Korean repatriation is a bilateral issue, and North Korea has sovereignty over its people. What China does not want is a unified Korea with strong ties to the United States on its border. If a unified Korea would maintain close ties to the United States, China has less incentive to address the refugee issue if doing so might contribute to Korean unification. However, if China believed that a unified Korea would be more influenced by and have closer diplomatic ties to China, it would more likely address the refugee issue. It is interesting to note that China forms relations through economic projects with numerous smaller powers in South America and Africa, yet neglects to form such relations with North Korea. Although North Korea may not be as rich in resources as the 75 Si Joong Kim, 114. 76 Ibid, 111.
  • 52. 36 other countries China seek ties with, its geographical location is advantageous. Should North Korea reform economically, open itself to the global community, and support a major economic project like the Iron Silk Road, China would be a major regional beneficiary.77 China has attempted to coax North Korea to reform economically, without success. Chinese influence might be strengthened if they addressed the refugee issue. Suzanne Scholte sums it up succinctly in an editorial in the Korea Times: The Chinese Government and even U.S. policy makers have an unfounded fear that if China showed compassion to the refugees, this could cause de- stabilization: they fear China would be flooded with refugees and this could lead to the collapse of the North Korean regime. This fear is not only unfounded, but is prolonging the suffering of the North Korean refugee. This refugee situation is unlike any in the world as the refugees have a place to go – South Korea and other countries! Furthermore, refugees are leaving North Korea mostly because of famine-like conditions and most want to go back – even those who have resettled in South Korea want to go back to North Korea once Kim Jong-il is gone or reforms are enacted. If fleeing refugees could lead to the collapse of the regime, it would have happened by now. After 500,000 crossed the border and 3 million people died, Kim Jong-il’s grip on power never faltered. By abiding instead by its international treaty obligations and allowing refugees safe passage to South Korea this would instead be a means to subtly pressure Kim Jong-il and his regime to reform, something that is also in China’s best interest. When reform comes to North Korea, conditions will improve and China will no longer have to deal with this refugee problem, because North Koreans will not need to flee – so China is prolonging this refugee problem by their policy.78 Should China change its stance on the North Korean refugee issue and help facilitate refugees’ gradual assimilation in its own country, as well as other countries, it could be the first step to prevent the scenario China fears the most—a sudden flow of refugees crossing its shared border with North Korea. Furthermore, once North Korea 77 Interview with David Kang, “Kang: North Korean Trade Potential,” Council on Foreign Relations website, http://www.cfr.org/publication/15056/kang.html, accessed 30 March 2009. Kang also talks about the potential economic benefits of connecting various railway systems in China, Russia and Korea, and how it can serve to bolster both trade and security within the region. Victor Cha and David Kang, Nuclear North Korea (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), 107. 78 Suzanne Scholte, “What President Obama Should Do About North Korea,” Korea Times, January 27, 2009.
  • 53. 37 sees that it cannot do anything about the international community’s gradual absorption of its citizens, it could eventually be coerced into becoming a more open society and more open to economic reforms. C. NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES AND JAPAN There is not much literature on the North Korean refugee issue and its implications for relations between Japan and the Korean peninsula. This may be because so few North Korean refugees have resettled in Japan in comparison with the number in South Korea. However, an uncontrolled sudden change scenario with a mass exodus might overwhelm Japan with boat refugees.79 This section fills the gap in the literature by examining the implications of the North Korean refugee situation in the context of historical relations between Japan and the two Koreas, illustrating how the refugee situation continues to influence the relationships between Japan and the two Koreas. Japan might work towards healing its damaged relationships with its neighbors by addressing the refugee issue. If Japan were to focus its resources and military capabilities on humanitarian-based missions, and the region were to become more secure and prosperous as a result, inter-regional relations would improve. Japanese government policy on this issue might help or hinder its relations with the two Koreas and with others in the region. 1. History of Relations between North Korea and Japan Of all the relationships between countries in Northeast Asia, none face so many obstacles as those involving Japan and the two Korean governments. After fighting the Chinese in 1894–95 and the Russians in 1904–5, the Japanese gained control of the Korean Peninsula. A Japanese protectorate from 1905, Korea endured many hardships, especially during the Japanese occupation (1910 to 1945). Relations between Japan and South Korea have improved immensely in the past half-century, while those between Japan and North Korea remain frustrating. The bitter history of the occupation created so 79 Tessa Morris-Suzuki, “Refugees, Abductees, ‘Returnees’: Human Rights in Japan-North Korea Relations,” Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 29 March 2009, available at http://www.japanfocus.org/- Tessa-Morris_Suzuki/3110, accessed 1 April 2009, 4.
  • 54. 38 much enmity that friendly relations between a unified Korea and Japan seem unattainable. Numerous disagreements stem from the governments’ inability to agree on what happened in their shared history and lead to disputes over school textbook contents. Despite these differences, Japan and South Korea have improved relations since the colonial period, with the greatest gain for South Korea occurring during Park Chung Hee’s presidency (1963–1979). Unlike his predecessors Rhee Syngman and Yun Bo- seon, Park Chung Hee embraced Japan as a nation to emulate in its infrastructure, government structure, bureaucracy, and economic and technical development. Although he is remembered most for his dictatorial leadership style, Park is also the president given the most credit for South Korea’s near-miraculous economic growth.80 Park's accomplishments required opening his mind to see Japan as a model, but Koreans in general are unwilling to acknowledge this, particularly when their attention is focused on Japanese atrocities during the occupation. Unresolved issues revolving around territorial disputes, "comfort women" (sexual slavery), and school textbooks fuel the continued bitter relationship between Japan and Korea. Interestingly, Korean and Japanese youth pop culture is a common interest connecting the two cultures, but much more is required to overcome the rancor of the past and establish a conciliatory relationship. 2. The Korean Diaspora in Japan Japanese–Korean relations are strongly shaped by the history of how the Korean diaspora came to Japan, the development of its “civil rights” in subsequent decades, and the impact of Japanese–Korean relations on Japanese policies toward domestic Koreans. A historical perspective explains why the Koreans living in Japan overwhelmingly support North Korea. During the Japanese occupation, Koreans were imported as forced labor in Japan. Later, while some remained in Japan, many were repatriated to North Korea. Ethnic Japanese wives accompanied their ethnic Korean husbands repatriated to North Korea 80 Richard Saccone, Koreans to Remember: 50 Famous People Who Helped Shape Korea, (Elizabeth: Hollym International, 1993), 24. See also General Lee Chi-Op, Call Me “Speedy Lee”: Memoirs of a Korean War Soldier (Seoul: Won Min Publishing House, 2001), 253.
  • 55. 39 and have since not been allowed to return to Japan. North Korea’s refusal to allow the Japanese women to return home is among the North Korean human rights violations identified in Japanese draft legislation. Collectively, Koreans in Japan constitute the largest ethnic minority. They run over half of the pachinko parlors, which make gambling a large source of revenue for remittances sent to relatives in North Korea.81 There are two groups within the Korean community in Japan: the “Mindan,” with close ties with the South Korean government, and the “Chongryun,” aligned with the North Korean government. The Chongryun run most of Japan's Korean schools, offering education ranging from elementary school to university level.82 Korean immigrants wanting a Korean education for their children ended up supporting this pro-North Korean group. Right after the Korean War, many Japanese–Koreans did not support the Mindan because South Korean military governments and their close relations with the United States were unpopular.83 Discrimination is yet another obstacle to Japanese–Korean relations.84 Koreans face discrimination in Japan when applying for jobs, in personal relationships and in many other social situations. On a social level, Koreans who live in Japan frequently adopt Japanese names and hide their Korean heritage in an attempt to assimilate. It is one thing to maintain one’s own identity and take on the qualities prescribed by another society in order to assimilate; it is another to have to completely deny one’s own heritage to be accepted. For example, in Japan, it is considered a test of true love for a Japanese person to stay in a romantic relationship after learning that his or her love interest is actually ethnically Korean.85 81 Saccone, 87 82 Mike Mervio, “The Korean Community in Japan and Shimane,” http://gsti.miis.edu/CEAS- PUB/200206Mervio.pdf, 5, accessed 31 October 2004. 83 Mervio, 217. 84 Toshiyuki Tamura discusses Japanese government policies of that institutionalized such discrimination. She states that ethnic Koreans’ “legal status is one of the crucial factors that have enabled the Japanese to segregate these people from daily opportunities.” See Toshiyuki Tamura, “The Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in the Japanese Economy” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 77-97. 85 Mervio, 223.
  • 56. 40 At an institutional level, Koreans living in Japan have been subject to a variety of foreigner registration systems. The original system required carrying fingerprint identification cards. With the evolution of Japanese immigration laws, requirements for some Koreans on special permanent resident status were loosened, while those in other categories continue to be required to carry special identity cards.86 Though it is illegal to ask whether someone is Korean or not, places like private clubs circumvent this rule by requiring new members to show their koseki, a family registration card.87 Thus, despite laws to eradicate discrimination, a more subtle form of discrimination towards non- Japanese has emerged. It is ironic that Japan’s discriminatory policies toward its Korean population seem to undermine its position at a time when Japan wants to forge stronger economic relations with South Korea. Because of the pressure to assimilate totally, “the loss of Korean language among Koreans in Japan alienates them from contemporary Korean society and deprives these individuals as well as Japanese society of a chance to bridge Japanese and Korean societies.”88 3. Obstacles to Addressing the Refugee Issue for Japan Memories of the Japanese occupation are not the only obstacle to better relations between Japan and North and South Korea. A major issue between Japan and North Korea is the August 1998 launching of the 1500 km range Taepodong 1 missile, which flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. In response, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force deployed E-2Cs early warning aircraft and other aircraft, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force dispatched P-3Cs maritime patrol aircraft and vessels to the Sea of Japan to gather information. The Defense Agency conducted a search for debris but none 86 Toshiyuki Tamura, “The Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in the Japanese Economy” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy, (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 86–87. 87 For more details on the koseki system, see Japan Children's Rights Network website, http://www.crnjapan.com/references/en/koseki.html, accessed 31 March 2009. 88 Toshiyuki Tamura, “The Status and Role of Ethnic Koreans in the Japanese Economy” in C. Bergsten and Inbom Choi, editors, The Korean Diaspora in the World Economy, (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 2003), 88.

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