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The United States and the Two Koreas, Part II, 1969-2010

The National Security Archive’s second collection on U.S.-Korean relations covers, as did Part One, the full range of diplomatic, security, and economic relations between the United States and its ally, South Korea; and the challenges to the U.S. posed by an adversarial North Korea. The documents – obtained and selected since the publication of Part One – add significant breadth and depth to the Archive’s coverage of events and issues from Nixon into the first Obama administration. The collection contains 1,634 records originating with the State Department, the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other agencies, including key documents from the WikiLeaks database. Among the notable new materials are selections from the Secretary of State’s Morning Intelligence Summary on developments in the two Koreas during the George H.W. Bush presidency. Nearly half of the new documents date from the Clinton presidency, which faced the dual challenges of working with its allies to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, as well dealing with the Asian economic crisis that struck South Korea and the region in the late 1990s. The WikiLeaks documents, carefully reviewed for sensitivity by the collection’s editor, are particularly useful for researchers because they shed significant light on the renewed tensions with North Korea in recent years.  During the George W. Bush presidency, the U.S. included Pyongyang as part of the “axis of evil,” and the 1994 Framework Agreement unraveled after North Korea admitted it had violated its pledge to halt work on nuclear weapons.  During the first year of the Obama presidency, North Korean provocations continued to hinder the ongoing six-party talks to resolve the nuclear issue. Each of these developments has helped to ensure that the Korean Peninsula will remain a top-priority concern for the United States for the foreseeable future.


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