Friday, June 22, 2007

Lessons Learned- KEDO

Last night I attended a Dinner/ discussion about "What did we learn from KEDO." It was a really interesting talk given by three men who had been instrumental in carrying out KEDO's objectives. One had even been in North Korea.

The one man who had been in the Light water Reactor building site told a story of the sheer desertion on the site. He said there was basically maybe 12 trains per day going in and out of the area and they were always packed with people. And as the trains pulled in, people would simply be gawking at the train stop because it would be completely lit up by the flood lights at the construction site. Not only was there a display of a fair amount of electricity and technology being used, but there were also South Korean labels on everything...

Also a speaker was talking about his own (and referring to America's) incorrect assumptions that whenever something went wrong, the North Koreans were doing it intentionally. In one story he said that when he couldn't reach DC by phone or get inernet access as was agreed in their contracts, he assumed it was the North Koreans cutting their phone line access. In reality, 12 people were sharing the same line and he just couldn't get through. And then, one time he couldn't get through by phone because he had had the wrong number... I think this is a telling story because there is an obvious lack of trust between the DPRK and the US. If officials tried harder to find the real reasons behind setbacks in the future instead of jumping to accusations, I think that would help relations.

In fact, the discussion later in the night somehow got diverted to the cause of KEDO's failure. This ended up with the speaker and a attendee getting into a heated debate of who cheated first... This only solidifies the lesson that, the positive momentum of DPRK/ US relations can easily be cut off by back and forth blame.

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