Jeffrey LewisEx-Interpreter on Six Party Joint Statement

The Six Party Joint Statement calls on North Korea to “abandon”—not “dismantle”—it’s nuclear pograms.

A few days ago, I observed that Glenn Kessler and Edward Cody missed this distinction in an otherwise outstanding article.

Still, I felt like I was missing something.

Tong Kim—recently retired from State Department, where he was the senior Korean interpreter for high-level meetings involving U.S. officials—fills in that missing piece:

North Korea made a commitment to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs”—but its translation used the Korean verb pogi hada, which could be interpreted to mean leaving the weapons in place rather than dismantling them.

Kim’s article (which I noticed on WhirledView’s choice section) is one of the most interesting articles I’ve ever read in a major newspaper.

Also, Glenn Kessler’s elucidating line-by-line analysis of the text, entitled What The Accord Really Says, more than makes up for any distinctions that may have been blurred initially.

Really solid work by the Post on Sunday.


  1. Muskrat (History)

    (You don’t have to post this, but I just had to note that I was on top of this in 2003….)

    This is a recurring problem.

  2. Allen Thomson (History)

    Well, this has little to do with Korean, but when on a long-gone day I was reading literature on Soviet military doctrine, I found it made a lot more sense in the original Russian than in the available English translations of it.