Catalytic Diplomacy

Note to Proposing Ideas

Could Collapse Mean War? Four Experts

With so many Bush administration experts waiting for the North to collapse, it seemed useful to explore what that might entail. Four experts on North Korea—two from Japan, one from South Korea, and one from China—had these thoughts:

An expert in South Korea said: “In the course of collapse, they might well attack South Korea.” This is why, he said, we say that “North Koreans are different.”

An expert in China said the North would “never surrender but would explode as the Japanese did or return to guerrilla warfare as had happened in Iraq.”

A senior Japanese official on Korean matters said: “On the ‘Pearl Harbor scenario,’ the DPRK generals have a psychology like that of Japanese generals and might go down fighting. They could explode. They had modeled themselves on Soviet Union first, later on China, and now were modeled on the Japanese military model.”

He also thought that, if cornered, Kim Jong-Il would order an attack and bring down the roof in the Samson’s-option sense. They will not accept defeat without a violent struggle. And there is a risk of civil war in North Korea if one tried to get a surrender.

However, an academic expert in Japan on North Korea said he thought the North would surrender rather than explode because “that was their historical tendency.”

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