My Journey at the Nuclear Brink

The North Korean Policy Review: What Happened in 1999

The North Korean Policy Review: What Happened in 1999

In an excerpt from his memoir, William Perry reflects on his diplomatic mission to Pyongyang intended to prevent North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons and how the agreement eventually fell apart, creating the hostile negotiating atmosphere the U.S. faces today.

Bill Perry calls for opening dialogue with North Korea

Bill Perry and The Perry Project toured South Korea this past week to commemorate the release of the Korean translation of Perry's memoir, "My Journey at the Nuclear Brink".

His visit comes amidst international speculation as to what President-elect Trump's strategy will be for nuclear-armed North Korea - whether he will continue the US policy of sanctions in hopes that the economic pressure will lead North Korea to give up their nuclear arms or if he will seek to open dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The Korean translation of William Perry's memoir "My Journey at the Nuclear Brink"

The Korean translation of William Perry's memoir
"My Journey at the Nuclear Brink"

Dr. Perry spent time reassuring those who were fearful that current political discord in both the United States and Korea could mean the end of democracy, instead insisting that democracy is messy and that it is critical that we utilize the power of our democratic systems to fix our problems.

Perry recommended opening gradual negotiations with North Korea to deal with the nuclear threats, insisting the isolated country is "rational enough" not to launch a nuclear attack on South Korea, Japan or the United States.

He suggested talks with Pyongyang should be based on the assumption that it has already been armed with atomic bombs.

"I still believe the agreements we negotiated would give us a very different and certain stable world than we have today,"

North Korea is not suicidal but rational, he said, adding that the international community should clearly understand what Pyongyang wants to do.

"They are rational enough not to use them on South Korea or Japan, but they might sell them or accidental explosion is what we should be worried about."

A series of North Korean nuclear and missile tests this year triggered tough international sanctions. Pyongyang claimed in early September to have conducted a nuclear warhead explosion test aimed at acquiring technology for the production of diversified and miniaturized nuclear warheads to be carried by strategic missiles.

Watch his talk at Yonsei University in Seoul: