Ambassador Gallucci was the architect of former US President Bill Clinton's administration's policy which persuaded Pyongyang to freeze its weapons programme in return for the provision of power generating reactors.
But this deal collapsed, in large part due to North Korea's actions.
But Ambassador Gallucci says that since then there has been no coherent strategy from the Bush administration in Washington.
Tensions between the State Department, on the one hand, and the Pentagon and the vice president's office, on the other, have hobbled US policy, leading to what he called the most distant of negotiations between the US and North Korea.
There are important omissions and misrepresentations in the BBC article:
1) the 1994 crisis is not mentioned, nor how close the US came to attacking North Korea. Straight into the memory hole.
2) the claim that the deal with North Korea collapsed "in large part due to North Korea's actions" ignores the fact, acknowledged by Gallucci elsewhere (see the end of this post), that the US didn't fully comply with the deal. Respectable academics specialising in the region think that the US administration decided not to keep their side of the bargain because they thought that the North Korean regime would fall before the US had to build the power plants that they had agreed to. Also into the memory hole.
3) the blatant one-sided editorialising: 'Dealing with North Korea is one of the most intractable problems facing any US administration.' Perhaps so, although they at least have the option of a strategic withdrawal - North Korea poses no threat to the US. On the other hand, it is unarguable that dealing with the US is one of the most intractable problems facing any North Korean administration, but the writer feels no need to say this. And there's no discussion of the problems faced by the general population of the Korean peninsula, who continue to live in highly militarised societies, with the real threat of nuclear war, and divided families and communities.
Extract from 2003 PBS interview with Gallucci, in which he admits that the North Korean government kept to the framework, and the US breached the agreement in ways he considers minor.
There are those now who have come forward from the Clinton administration, saying that the deal was basically abandoned by the United States. That's perhaps too strong, but that there was a lack of political will to enforce the Agreed Framework, that in fact, the complaints coming from North Korea that the United States dragged its feet and reneged have some validity.
My own view here is -- and there are disagreements about this -- that in the Clinton administration, there wasn't the enthusiasm for everything the North Koreans wanted, in terms of the political payoff from the deal. So the North Koreans were somewhat disappointed. But let's be clear about this. There are hard and soft portions to deal. A hard portion was they needed to have their program frozen, and under inspection, and they needed to re-can the spent fuel so it wasn't reprocessed. That was done.
Did they hold to their end of the agreement in that sense?
Absolutely. Absolutely. On our side, in terms of the hard part, so did we. We were obligated to create an entity called the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, an international entity -- which was really South Korea, Japan and the United States, and eventually, the European Union -- to build these 2,000-megawatt light-water reactors. That program didn't go as fast as the North Koreans might have liked. But it's a big deal doing that in North Korea. That was a hard point in terms of the deal, and we were doing that.
We also had to deliver a quantity every year of something called heavy fuel oil to provide energy replacement for what they were giving up with not having their own nuclear facilities. Did we meet every delivery schedule on the day? No. Did we generally meet the schedule, and were we generally providing what we said we'd provide? Yes. So in terms of the hard performance under the framework, both sides were doing it.
* These details are from a previous PBS interview, from 1996, as Galluci was preparing to retire.