Hillary Clinton Explains Our 'North Korea, South Korea, China' Policy

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Gaius Publius via Down With Tyranny blog,

"We don't want a unified Korean peninsula ... We [also] don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb."
—Hillary Clinton, 2013, speech to Goldman Sachs

Our policy toward North Korea is not what most people think it is. We don't want the North Koreans to go away. In fact, we like them doing what they're doing; we just want less of it than they've been doing lately. If this sounds confusing, it's because this policy is unlike what the public has been led to assume. Thanks to something uncovered by WikiLeaks, the American public has a chance to be unconfused about what's really going on with respect to our policies in Korea.

This piece isn't intended to criticize that policy; it may be an excellent one. I just want to help us understand it better.

Our source for the U.S. government's actual Korean policy — going back decades really — is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She resigned that position in February 2013, and on June 4, 2013 she gave a speech at Goldman Sachs with Lloyd Blankfein present (perhaps on stage with her) in which she discussed in what sounds like a very frank manner, among many other things, the U.S. policy toward the two Korea and the relationship of that policy to China.

That speech and two others were sent by Tony Carrk of the Clinton campaign to a number of others in the campaign, including John Podesta. WikiLeaks subsequently released that email as part of its release of other Podesta emails (source email with attachments here). In that speech, Clinton spoke confidentially and, I believe, honestly. What she said in that speech, I take her as meaning truthfully. There's certainly no reason for her to lie to her peers, and in some cases her betters, at Goldman Sachs. The entire speech reads like elites talking with elites in a space reserved just for them.

I'm not trying to impugn Clinton or WikiLeaks by writing this — that's not my intention at all. I just want to learn from what she has to say — from a position of knowledge — about the real U.S. policy toward North Korea. After all, if Goldman Sachs executives can be told this, it can't be that big a secret. We should be able to know it as well.

What Clinton's Speech Tells Us about U.S. Korea Policy

The WikiLeaks tweet is above. The entire speech, contained in the attachment to the email, is here. I've reprinted some of the relevant portions below, first quoting Ms. Clinton with some interspersed comments from me. Then, adding some thoughts about what this seems to imply about our approach to and relations with South Korea.

The Korea section of the Goldman Sachs speech starts with a discussion of China, and then Blankfein pivots to Korea. Blankfein's whole question that leads to the Clinton quote tweeted by WikiLeaks above (my emphasis throughout):

MR. BLANKFEIN: The Japanese -- I was more surprised that it wasn't like that when you think of -- all these different things. It's such a part of who they are, their response to Japan. If you bump into the Filipino fishing boats, then I think you really -- while we're in the neighborhood [i.e., discussing Asia], the Chinese is going to help us or help themselves -- what is helping themselves? North Korea? On the one hand they [the Chinese] wouldn't want -- they don't want to unify Korea, but they can't really like a nutty nuclear power on their border. What is their interests and what are they going to help us do?

Clinton's whole answer is reprinted in the WikiLeaks tweet attachment (click through to the tweet and expand the embedded image to read it all). The relevant portions, for my purposes, are printed below. From the rest of her remarks, the context of Blankfein's question and Clinton's answer is the threat posed by a North Korean ICBM, not unlike the situation our government faces today.

MS. CLINTON: Well, I think [Chinese] traditional policy has been close to what you've described. We don't want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons.


We [also] don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb. So we've got a pretty good thing going with the previous North Korean leaders [Kim Il-sung and Kim Jung-il]. And then along comes the new young leader [Kim Jung-un], and he proceeds to insult the Chinese. He refuses to accept delegations coming from them. He engages in all kinds of both public and private rhetoric, which seems to suggest that he is preparing himself to stand against not only the South Koreans and the Japanese and the Americans, but also the Chinese.

Translation — three points:

  • The U.S. prefers that Korea stay divided. If Korea were to unite, South Korea would be in charge, and we don't want South Korea to become any more powerful than it already is.
  • We also don't want the trouble North Korea causes South Korea to extend beyond the region. We want it to stay within previously defined bounds.
  • Our arrangement with the two previous North Korean leaders met both of those objectives. North Korea's new leader, Kim Jung-un, is threatening that arrangement.

It appears that China has the same interest in keeping this situation as-is that we do. That is, they want South Korea (and us) to have a Korean adversary, but they don't want the adversary acting out of acceptable bounds — coloring outside the lines laid down by the Chinese (and the U.S.), as it were. Clinton:

So the new [Chinese] leadership basically calls him [Kim Jung-un] on the carpet. And a high ranking North Korean military official has just finished a visit in Beijing and basically told [him, as a message from the Chinese]: Cut it out. Just stop it. Who do you think you are? And you are dependent on us [the Chinese], and you know it. And we expect you to demonstrate the respect that your father and your grandfather [Kim Jung-il, Kim Il-sung] showed toward us, and there will be a price to pay if you do not.


Now, that looks back to an important connection of what I said before. The biggest supporters of a provocative North Korea has been the PLA [the Chinese People's Liberation Army]. The deep connections between the military leadership in China and in North Korea has really been the mainstay of the relationship. So now all of a sudden new leadership with Xi and his team, and they're saying to the North Koreans -- and by extension to the PLA -- no. It is not acceptable. We don't need this [trouble] right now. We've got other things going on. So you're going to have to pull back from your provocative actions, start talking to South Koreans again about the free trade zones, the business zones on the border, and get back to regular order and do it quickly.


Now, we don't care if you occasionally shoot off a missile. That's good. That upsets the Americans and causes them heartburn, but you can't keep going down a path that is unpredictable. We don't like that. That is not acceptable to us.


So I think they're trying to reign Kim Jong in. I think they're trying to send a clear message to the North Korean military. They also have a very significant trade relationship with Seoul and they're trying to reassure Seoul that, you know, we're now on the case.

Clinton ends with a fourth point:

  • From the U.S. standpoint, the current problem is now on the Chinese to fix.


So they want to keep North Korea within their orbit. They want to keep it predictable in their view. They have made some rather significant statements recently that they would very much like to see the North Koreans pull back from their nuclear program. Because I and everybody else -- and I know you had Leon Panetta here this morning. You know, we all have told the Chinese if they continue to develop this missile program and they get an ICBM that has the capacity to carry a small nuclear weapon on it, which is what they're aiming to do, we cannot abide that. Because they could not only do damage to our treaty allies, namely Japan and South Korea, but they could actually reach Hawaii and the west coast theoretically, and we're going to ring China with missile defense. We're going to put more of our fleet in the area.


So China, come on. You either control them or we're going to have to defend against them.

The four bullets above (three, and then one) give a very clear definition of longstanding U.S. policy toward the two Koreas. I think the only surprise in this, for us civilians, is that the U.S. doesn't want the Korean peninsula unified. So two questions: Why not? And, do the South Koreans know this? I'll offer brief answers below.

The "Great Game" In East Asia — Keeping the Korean "Tiger" in Check

South Korea is one of the great emerging nations in East Asia, one of the "Asian tigers," a manufacturing and economic powerhouse that's lately been turning into a technological and innovative powerhouse as well.

For example, one of just many, from Forbes:

Why South Korea Will Be The Next Global Hub For Tech Startups


American business has long led the way in high tech density or the proportion of businesses that engage in activities such as Internet software and services, hardware and semiconductors. The US is fertile ground for tech start-ups with access to capital and a culture that celebrates risk taking. Other countries have made their mark on the world stage, competing to be prominent tech and innovation hubs. Israel has been lauded as a start-up nation with several hundred companies getting funded by venture capital each year. A number of these companies are now being acquired by the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google. Finland and Sweden have attracted notice by bringing us Angry Birds and Spotify among others. But a new start-up powerhouse is on the horizon – South Korea. [...]

In other words, South Korea has leaped beyond being a country that keeps U.S. tech CEOs wealthy — it's now taking steps that threaten that wealth itself. And not just in electronics; the biological research field — think cloning — is an area the South Koreans are trying to take a lead in as well.

It's easy to understand Ms. Clinton's — and the business-captured American government's — interest in making sure that the U.S. CEO class isn't further threatened by a potential doubling of the capacity of the South Korean government and economy. Let them (the Koreans) manufacture to their heart's content, our policy seems to say; but to threaten our lead in billionaire-producing entrepreneurship ... that's a bridge too far.

Again, this is Clinton speaking, I'm absolutely certain, on behalf of U.S. government policy makers and the elites they serve: We don't want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one, an already-strong South Korea would be dominant for obvious economic reasons.

As to whether the South Koreans know that this is our policy, I'd have to say, very likely yes. After all, if Clinton is saying this to meetings of Goldman Sachs executives, it can't be that big a secret. It's just that the South Korea leadership knows better than the North Korean leader how to handle it.

[Update: It's been suggested in comments (initially here) that Clinton's "we" in her answer to Blankfein's question was a reference to China's policy, not our own. I'm doubtful that's true, but it's an interpretation worth considering. Even so, the U.S. and Chinese policies toward the two Koreas are certainly aligned, and, as Clinton says, "for the obvious economic and political reasons." (That argument was also expressed in comments here.)  I therefore think the thrust of the piece below is valid under either interpretation of Clinton's use of "we." –GP]

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Anarchyteez's picture

I'm not even going to read this. Listening to anything that murdering cunt says will just piss me off.

But I did want to post FUCK YOU KILLERY!

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Does Chunky take fashion tips from the cunt, or is it the other way around? Either way, neocons fucked them both.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture


We [also] don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb.

...because that's America's job.

Ghost of Porky's picture

Hitlery is mad she won't get to kill Kim Jung.

Charles Wilson's picture

Huge Lesson: Rather have a population eat dirt and die miserable deaths than work for their Betterment.

"They died on dirt floors but they were SOCIALIST dirt floors".

Despicable. Predictable.

tchubby's picture

"Clinton is saying this to meetings of Goldman Sachs executives"

GS = Washington's jooish bosses.


stizazz's picture

They don't want a unified Korea because they couldn't unify (read: conquer) it. China stopped them in their track and caused the Koreas to be divided during the Korean war.

NidStyles's picture

So she's presenting herself as the opposition to Trump on this issue...


So they think we will simply support Trump destroying Korea because Hillary is against it?


What's the game here?

stizazz's picture

They're goading Trump to get him back on track to destroy the Middle East and remake it in Israel's image.

They know darn well Trump can't attack N Korea.

They just want their MidEast war for Israel. Then they'll hail him like they did last time when he launched a few dud missiles on Syria.

Troll Magnet's picture

Donald Trump, our first Jewish president!


Pinto Currency's picture

One more time by the Clintons.

That Time Bill Clinton Said North Korea Would Dismantle Its Nuclear Program

Déjà view's picture

Divide & Conquer...

Excuse to keep 'White Knight' on Korean/Japanese Chessboard...

B.S. that Cold War continues in Asia ...27 years after Euro P on division ended...

Short eyeballed Asian Untermenschen...have to wonder. Hope it is not to late for Asians when they finally wake up...as to how they have been PLAYED!


jcaz's picture

Yes,  good plan-  seek and absorb the wisdom of Hillary Clinton........

Manthong's picture


The house fell on her..

Just let her shrivel up and die.


Ding Dong……

Al Gophilia's picture

Their game, using Killery as their mouthpiece, is to usurp the will of The People. Trump has been proven to be no match (if he ever was an adversary) to the powers who control the Deep State and their handlers. Every President in his footsteps will prove to be the same. How many Trumps  (Presidents) does it take to change a light bulb? None; Trump can't change anything. (An oldie but increasingly observable as his short tenure unfolds). You're a cuck, Trump; a Deep State Cuck.

Switch on your own bulb, folks.

monkeyshine's picture

Why would we not want a unified Korea?  I understand we don't want the hard sacrifices to get one - we don't want to invade, or drop bombs, or provoke China etc.  But why would we want, in principle, the Korean people divided? 

I always wondered, why not just tear open some parts of the fence in the DMZ at the 38th parallel?  I gotta imagine thousands from NK would flow south every day. Would put NK into check he'd either become an overt aggressor against his own people to trap them or murder them, or eventually watch his country gutted from within. Or, he could agree to unification and get some face saving role in public life.

Why does this topic have to be one of escalation?  What about de-escalation, or deflation?  Just drop portions of the security fence and allow free movement of people (not commerce etc) south.

Gonzogal's picture

“After over 60 years of intransigence, the US still wishes to maintain the de facto division of Korea into North and South. There is only one reason for this and why every US administration seeks to quarantine the DPRK, it allows the US to maintain a military presence in East Asia with the stationing of troops and other assets in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan,” Professor Etler said.


general ambivalent's picture

Do capitalist mud pies taste better or something?

Anarchyteez's picture

That too. Plus she's just mad.

meditate_vigorously's picture

This is an admission that the Jew Bankers control the Republic of Korea.

Anarchyteez's picture

Underpost me with wit, not an unsensical riddle please.

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Your original post was about as insightful as the guy selling internet services for $7k a month.

Anarchyteez's picture

You're a common troll and we are very used to it here. Please put you tongue back in Hillary's ass and wait for your paycheck from the NSA.

MozartIII's picture

How does she do it, keep getting dug out of all her graves? How is the Bengazi killer for profit walking freely in the land of the free? (should be some sarcasim on free)


One of the most corupt evil people on the face of the earth still gets air time and Trump's actions mimic here statements and attitudes within days......  Any one else saying WTF?


Then we could go to George Pooros..... Never mind, no links there/

Anarchyteez's picture

With you all the way my friend.

Four chan's picture

she is cia since iran contra 

aurum4040's picture

So what do you armchair political geniuses think we should do? So we allow Kim Jung Un to be unpredictable, allow him to have nuke capability to Hawaii and Cali? Or do we push a unified Korea w out force? Or with force?

If you jackasses had any sense, you'd be pleased with the actual positioning because both the US and China will undoubtedly avoid N Korea war at all costs - they want things as is, not war and not a unified Korean. And for good reason. 

baghead's picture

The armchair president...

Anarchyteez's picture


Oh, 16 hrs between the two of you. Tyler's!

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Topic: Hillary Clinton Explains Our 'North Korea, South Korea, China' Policy

Clinton Comment: "We don't want a unified Korean peninsula... We [also] don't want the North Koreans to cause more trouble than the system can absorb. "THIS IS SATAN TALKING."

My response: This lady is so ignorant that it is beyond comprehension. When her lips move, we know she is lying.

No wonder the world is a mess. Why isn't she in JAIL?

Troll Magnet's picture

I think she was talking from the Chicom's POV when she used "We" here although I'm sure our policy is the same.

Lessons here folks: Hillary's a bitch and China is the USA of the Far East.

fattail's picture

When have the south koreans ever caused any problems.  They are the victims in nearly every damn war and yet they are an economic ass kicking machine.  This illustrates how much of the west's standard of living is a result of suppressing the rest of the globe for our corporate masters.

spag's picture

easily fixed, nuke south korea too.

Arrow4Truth's picture

I'm with you. Refuse to read anything about the cunt. Prefer not to even look at a pic of the cunt. Definition: Repulsive - the cunt.

Sabibaby's picture

People who are curious about how the elites view this situation and why they don't  want a unification of Korea .

yogibear's picture

Hillary dresses like kim jin un.

They must use the same designers.

Dormouse's picture

She has wanted to raid the Kim family walk-in closet of pantsuits for a few decades now.

Proctologist's picture

Going to Clinton for Foreign policy advice is like going to Nero for advice on firefighting.

Internet-is-Beast's picture

Funny, I thought it would be GS explaining to Hillary. Her speech should just be "Yes, Massuh," for which a large contribution would be made to the charitable organization of her choice.

Dormouse's picture

The charitable organization of her choice has always been herself.

nachochan's picture

LOL!  Cant tell you how many down votes I've got on ZH for saying that we dont actually want to end the most reculsive totalitarian society on the planet that threatens to hurt everyone around them.  The globalists want N Korea to remain folks that is what Ive been trying to say hell they probably want us all to live like N Koreas do where we have to clap for our saviour puppet figures or die.  N Korea needs to go and we dont need to wait until we get nuked to do it.  

Anarchyteez's picture

I agreed completely with your cynicism...wait, that's pragmatism.

PS, you couldn't have gotten many down votes in only 25 days here at ZH yo.

SgtShaftoe's picture

I was with you until "N Korea needs to go".

Are you volunteering?

techpriest's picture

Maybe a Kickstarter page for those who want to donate?

Nick Jihad's picture

Of course we would all like a world where the Korean peninsula is unified, and NK is no more. The trick is how to bring that about, without costing millons of lives.