January 16, 2003
DPRK NUCLEAR PROGRAM: U.S. WILLINGNESS TO TALK A
** Most praised the U.S.
decision to seek "direct bilateral negotiations" with the North
** Pyongyang's use of
"nuclear blackmail" could prompt global "nuclear
** Many term North
Korean threat "considerably more concrete and tangible" than Iraq's
** Leftist, Muslim
observers blast U.S.' "confusing signals" and "unilateral
Many praise U.S. shift towards 'diplomacy and mediation'-- Most papers termed the new U.S. willingness to
talk with Pyongyang a "favorable development." Seoul's Hankyoreh Shinmun called the
U.S. position "a turning point in resolving the current
confrontation." Japan's liberal Mainichi
opined that now the "DPRK must accept dialogue." Vietnam's official Ha Noi Moi agreed
that "efforts to isolate Pyongyang only make the situation more
tense." Others, however, lamented
Kim Jong-il's "small victory" in persuading the administration to
resume dialogue. Germany's center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine alleged that Washington is "rewarding Pyongyang's nuclear
blackmail" in a "grotesque manner."
North Korea's 'brinkmanship' deals 'the global disarmament regime
a blow'-- Many leftist outlets
stated, with pointed irony, that U.S. policy towards North Korea showed
"the best way to prevent a U.S. invasion is to pose a grave
danger." Singapore's pro-government
Straits Times concluded: the
"message to would-be tyrants and jihadists: Get nukes." Other dailies emphasized that if the UN
"does not succeed in uprooting" Pyongyang's nuclear program,
"atomic rearmament...will be a reality." Many said the DPRK's "real intention is
not to build nuclear weapons" but rather to gain the "maximum number
of concessions from the U.S." South
Korean dailies agreed the North is using "threats to force the U.S. to
U.S. 'imminent war against Iraq' contrasts with 'kid gloves'
treatment of DPRK-- Outlets such as
Amsterdam's liberal De Volkskrant bluntly accused President Bush of
"being hypocritical" for pursuing a "diplomatic approach in the
case of North Korea while openly threatening Iraq." Muslim writers blasted Washington's "double
standards," calling the U.S. a "rogue state." A Nigerian daily judged that Pyongyang can
"indulge in provocative sabre-rattling" as long as the U.S. remains
fixated on Iraq. Malaysia's
government-influenced New Straits Times more broadly criticized
"America's jolly little crusade against evil."
Washington's DPRK policy called 'confused and
unpredictable'-- Russian, Indian and
Pakistani papers all termed the U.S.' DPRK policy "far from
constructive." Moscow's army-run Krasnaya
Zvezda said Washington should "stop viewing any concession as a
diplomatic setback." The centrist Times
of India blamed Washington's "aggressive, unilateralist approach"
for further undermining "the already weakened architecture of
international arms control." The
rightist Pakistan Observer thundered against the "mishandling of
the crisis by the arrogant U.S."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 106 reports from 38 countries over 5-16 January 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
FRANCE: "A Korean
Nightmare And International Confusion"
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (1/13): “North Korea has increased world tension by
raising the specter of a third world war....
While Pyongyang’s objective may be to get a maximum number of
concessions from the U.S., the remarks on Friday by the White House spokesman
who spoke of ‘deception and deep concern’ indicate an attitude that appears
singularly different from Washington’s determination towards Iraq. Such a
stance gives the impression that the international community is hesitating in
what could become a nuclear nightmare....
The confusing signals coming from the international community are all
the more troublesome because, as the White House said, Pyongyang’s message is
often difficult to decipher. Still, these confusing signals appear paradoxical:
after all, the crisis with North Korea is nothing new.”
George W. Bush’s Korean Wager”
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (1/9): “Pyongyang is putting George W. Bush’s
geo-strategic doctrine of preventive war in a difficult spot. Although the American president had included
North Korea in the ‘Axis of Evil’ he chose Iraq as the target for implementing
this doctrine.... The result of this is
that Kim Jong Il has won a small victory since Washington has accepted to
resume the dialogue, which is a significant change in position.... But the White House appears to continue to
hesitate between firmness and openness....
In this context the French Foreign Minister Villepin, who is decidedly
present on all of the fronts, left yesterday for Beijing and Seoul in order to
gauge the level of danger.”
GERMANY: "North Korea
Breaking A Taboo"
Ewald Stein commented in business-oriented Handelsblatt of
Duesseldorf (1/14): “We have hardly
discussed the fact that North Korea, by re-activating its nuclear program has
dealt the global disarmament regime a blow.
The cancellation of the NPT is a clear cut: for the first time since 1970, when it entered
into force, one of the 187 signatures is now leaving. This means that a formerly promising
development...is getting less significant today. The list of nuclear states is threatening to
become bigger. But the real reason for
the nuclear dilemma is based in the NPT itself.... It is by no means a fair treaty, since it
divides the world into powerful and helpless nations.... And there is even more: the five ‘official’ nuclear powers are the
ones who permanently violate at least an important part of the Treaty, the
spirit of the NPT: to complete their
obligation for nuclear disarmament....
But their motto is to modernize their arsenals.... It is obvious that such hypocrisy will have
consequences. That is why India and
Pakistan have presented evidence of their military nuclear competence and it is
open whether North Korea will soon join them.”
"Play For Time"
Frank Herold wrote in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung
(1/13): “North Korea’s policy is confuse
and unpredictable, but the previous North Korea policy of the Bush
administration is not less confused and unpredictable.... President Bush is in a similarly helpless
situation than President Clinton was. He
is trying to avoid everything that could disrupt the deployment of forces
against Iraq. That is why not even the
toughest hawks in Washington are playing with the idea of a military strike
against the nuclear installations in North Korea.... Bush hopes that his threatening gestures and
the united mediation efforts of the IAEA Russia, and China will be
successful. He, too, is playing for
time, but the reason is not that he hopes for an early collapse of the
regime. His slogan is: Iraq first.
Former Clinton administration staff members are the ones who are warning
against this policy saying that this course will not result in a solution to
the problem. They think that Kim Jong-il
is really waiting for a serious offer to retreat afterwards, as he already did
in 1994. But this is not for sure.
However, thus far, Bush is not even willing to test this approach.”
Center-right General-Anzeiger of Bonn noted (1/13): “Washington is in a dilemma because of the
alarming reports from Pyongyang. North
Korea’s statement signals a danger for global peace, which we have not faced
for a long time. All agreements on the
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons are about to become not worth the paper
they are written on. And what is even
worse: These weapons of mass destruction
can become quickly usable for the kind of international terrorism, which the
international community of nations wants to exterminate. What sense does the military fixation on Iraq
have in such a situation? The threat to
global peace from North Korea is considerably more concrete and tangible. There is no doubt: Washington must rethink and set new
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine pointed out (1/9): "Day by day, the United States is
narrowing the gap with North Korea a bit more, rewarding Pyongyang’s nuclear
blackmail. Washington wants to talk with
North Korea...and the topic is interesting:
How to find ways that would allow Pyongyang to fulfill its international
obligations. Not a word anymore about
North Korea’s having to give up its nuclear program before talks with the
United States can happen. Washington has
made this concession mostly in reaction to South Korean pressure. Past experience teaches, however, that this
approach is no guarantee for getting North Korea to cooperate. After all, why shouldn’t Pyongyang tighten
the thumbscrews even more right now, getting a few more concessions out of
Washington? This conflict has inverted
the actual power hierarchy in a grotesque manner. A bankrupt North Korea is dictating U.S.
behavior, and Washington is playing along.”
“Following In Clinton’s Footsteps”
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich noted
(1/9): “Soon U.S. conservatives will
have to make another concession to North Korea and provide the country with
energy.... This amount of realpolitik is
a bitter pill for the moralists among Bush’s foreign policy advisors, but it is
also helpful medicine. After all, the
example of Pyongyang reminds the superpower that it, too, has limits.”
ITALY: “The United States:
Food And Oil For Pyongyang”
Leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore stated
(1/15): “Diplomatic contacts continue in
order to resolve the crisis between the United States and North Korea. After two days of talks in Seoul, U.S. envoy
James Kelly arrived yesterday in Beijing, and his agenda included negotiations
about food and energy supplies to Pyongyang.
Russian President Putin will send an envoy to the North Korean capital,
the United States and China to try to end the dangerous tug-of-war between the
American giant and the small country of North Korea.... James Kelly has already assured that, ‘once
the nuclear question has been resolved,’ the United States will be ready to
help North Korea overcome its chronic economic crisis. In addition, President Bush yesterday said
that he is in favor of a ‘courageous initiative’ to help North Korea with food
and energy supplies if Pyongyang dismantles its nuclear armaments.... The positions of the two countries remain
distant: Pyongyang, in order to give up its nuclear rearmament, wants a pact of
non-aggression, while Washington claims that ‘the problem does not exist for
the time being.’”
"The United States Opens To Pyongyang"
Pro-democratic left (DS) L’Unita stated (1/15): “There is room for dialogue. North Korea should not go too far on the
nuclear (issue). Washington softens its
tones, leaving room for a possibility of turning its oil taps on and sending
energy assistance to Pyongyang.... The
American envoy leaves wide room for a solution to the crisis.... Officially there are no signs...but beyond
the wall of official statements, something is beginning to move.... Today, an Australian mission will be in
Pyongyang, while the French President mentioned the possibility of setting up a
work group on the North Korean crisis at the UN.... South Korea said it is against possible
sanctions on North Korea.... In any
case, the U.S is not thinking of solutions different from the diplomatic
one. And once again, it is caught in the
unavoidable comparison between North Korea and Iraq.”
“The Revival Of The Dictators”
A lengthy analysis by Barbara Spinelli in centrist, influential La
Stampa stated (1/12): “Far from
being pacified, the world is heating up even more, beginning with Asia and its
weakest point: North Korea has just declared itself a nuclear power, exploiting
the fact that the minds of U.S. strategists are occupied with the Iraqi
problem. Far from being dissuaded, as
President Bush believed they would when he outlined his war doctrine, the
dictators who, for the time being, are not under America’s fire are raising
their heads.... Bush’s armed prevention
was meant to warn them and stop their rearmament plans. It has managed to obtain exactly the
opposite.... Bush has already deployed
several thousand troops in the Gulf, but the sense of his war against Iraq is
getting less clear since the Pyongyang tyrants have appeared on our TV screens:
no ally seems willing to unconditionally support the United States if it does not
come up with the evidence - still missing - of Saddam’s real dangerousness and
his links with al-Qaida. Even in America
there are people who say that North Korea is by far more dangerous than
Iraq.... But Bush wants to negotiate
with North Korea.... The impression is
that Pyongyang is more scaring than Baghdad, and that is why it gets immunity,
conciliatory statements, even favors.”
“Bush Changes Strategy, Will Negotiate With Korea”
Alberto Pasolini Zanelli wrote in pro-government, leading
center-right Il Giornale (1/9):
“They call it a change of course, but, de facto, it is the major
diplomatic retreat by the United States over the last several years, and
certainly since the Bush Administration inaugurated its ‘doctrine’ of ‘zero
tolerance’ and ‘preemptive war.’ On the
verge of a showdown with North Korea, Washington stepped back and accepted the
direct bilateral negotiations that it had firmly rejected until 48 hours
earlier. It is still prohibited from
calling them 'negotiations’: the official term used by the White House and the
State Department is ‘talks,’ but the fact is that the United States has
accepted to discuss with the Pyongyang regime how to find a way out of the
‘nuclear impasse’.... ‘Dialogue’ is the
new word. The request made to Pyongyang
to dismantle its nuclear weapon programs stands, but it is no longer ruled out
that Washington may be willing to take into consideration North Korea’s main
request, i.e., providing ‘guarantees’ and resuming supplying fuel.”
RUSSIA: "U.S. Is After
Reformist business-oriented Kommersant carried a piece by
Georgiy Bulychev and Aleksandr Vorontsov stating (1/16): "It has been suggested that what
Washington is really after is a regime change in North Korea, and indications
are that the Administration is determined to see it. As an excuse for the pressure it is putting
on the DPRK, the United States refers to international law and the duty of
every state to honor its commitments to the letter. But as it does so the United States does not
seem to consider itself bound by international law, with its preemptive strikes
and coercion based on the principle of might is right.... Had its concern been North Korea's nuclear
programs alone, Washington would have long noticed Pyongyang signaling its
readiness to reveal them and give up its nuclear ambitions in return for
security guarantees. The current
U.S.-PDRK contacts may serve merely as a diplomatic cover-up for the United
States' war preparations against Iraq.
As Washington deals with North Korea, a member of the 'axis of evil,' it
does not seem ready to sign a true accord providing for absolution and
non-aggression. So its propositions may
just be a way to procrastinate and show that it is impossible to reach
agreement with the 'axis of evil.'"
"Iron Curtain Has Its Advantages"
Maria Selezneva held in reformist Noviye Izvestiya
(1/14): "After all, an iron curtain
has its advantages, as the DPRK virtually has no commitments to the
international community. It may take its
words back at any moment and pull out of treaties at will. At least up to now North Korea has been
acting with impunity, as it pleases."
"U.S., N. Korea Use Violent Methods"
Centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda carried this column by
Vladimir Kuzar (1/14): "Clearly, both
Washington and Pyongyang use only violent methods as they attempt to influence
one another, viewing any concession as a diplomatic setback. Such a policy, far from being constructive,
is also dangerous since it presupposes brinkmanship."
Sergey Yuryev said in reformist youth-oriented Komsomolskaya
Pravda (1/14): "It is quite
simple. North Korea has ended up in an
economic deadlock as a result of the policies of its leadership in the past few
decades. Similarly, the United States
and partners, by consistently trying to drive the DPRK into a blind alley, have
found themselves there, too.... As shown
by experience, humanitarian assistance for totalitarian regimes is a sign of
imminent political changes."
"U.S. To Use Peaceful Means"
Robert Shemak contended in official government-published Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (1/14): "Obviously,
Washington will try to settle this matter by peaceful, diplomatic means. Despite the Pentagon's military doctrine
speaking of its ability to engage in two armed conflicts in different parts of
the world at once, Washington is not going to provoke an aggravation in the
Korean Peninsula pending a military operation in Iraq."
"U.S. Eases Off"
Natalia Babasian noted in reformist Izvestiya (1/14): "The way Kelly sounds the U.S. stand has
softened. But there is nothing to point
to serious changes in the United States' policy toward North Korea yet."
"N. Korea On Par With U.S."
Georgiy Bulychev contended in reformist Vremya Novostey
(1/13): "While we may not like the
way the North Koreans run their country we must admit that they have proved
brilliant diplomats, playing on a par with the world's strongest power.... No persuasion, less so pressure or sanctions,
will stop the North Koreans from doing what they have decided to do. They want guarantees of security and
non-interference, convinced that only the U.S. can give those.... Sooner or later the U.S. will have to accept
a 'package settlement,' offering security guarantees in return for an end to
North Korea's WMD programs."
"N. Korea May Become A Miniature Nuclear Superpower"
Andrey Vaganov declared in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(1/13): "It looks like the world
may soon have to change its condescending attitude towards North Korea's leader
Kim Jong-Il. North Korea has a good
chance to become a miniature nuclear superpower. The key question now is how long it will take
North Korea to get a Bomb of its own."
Gennadiy Sysoyev said in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(1/13): "While Pyongyang's decision
to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty may pose a threat to peace in the
future, its readiness to resume ballistic missile testing is a quite real
danger today.... North Korea's warlike
steps and statements have caused a worldwide reaction ranging from extreme
concern to outrage.... Compared to
Russia, the U.S. feels a lot more strongly about the DPRK's latest
moves.... This time Kim Jong-Il can
hardly count on the U.S. to make concessions, economic or political. At least not until he backs off the warlike
decisions he made over the weekend."
Yelena Shesternina commented in reformist Izvestia
(1/10): "Pyongyang has not
responded to the main questions--Washington's proposal to conduct direct
negotiations on the North Korean nuclear program and the IAEA's ultimatum to
let into North Korea the inspectors expelled from there last week. The nature of Pyongyang's potential response
to the US proposal is difficult to predict, the more so that the White House has
made it clear it is not going to agree to any concessions in exchange for the
DPRK's consent to freeze its nuclear program.... The bargaining will take place anyway. And it
may be on the plan under which Washington will resume its boiler oil shipments
to Pyongyang and give it written guarantees of security in exchange for
terminating the work on producing weapons-grade plutonium. It is such a plan
that is offered by South Korea, and it is quite likely that this plan will
become the topic of discussion at the upcoming talks between the two
"Bush In An Idiotic Position"
Konstantin Laskin observed in centrist regional Moskovskaya
Pravda (1/9): "The U.S. has
recently issued an ultimatum demanding that North Korea shut down its nuclear
power plant restarted shortly before that....
Washington threatened Pyongyang with all kinds of trouble; the main item
on the long list was an economic blockade....
In response to the White House verbiage, Pyongyang, which is well aware
of its strength, said, calmly but resolutely, that it will consider economic
sanctions as a declaration of war.
Washington chickened out: the Pentagon knows that no air defense, even
utopian missile defense, will be able to protect the western part of the U.S.
from North Korea's nuclear strike if it comes to that, and a quarrel with
Beijing is tantamount to death. In a
word, Bush has begun a titanic search for allies in order to get out of this
mess. People close to him have even
begun talking about the possibility of sending tactical nuclear weapons to
Japan and South Korea, but the leadership of these countries has tactfully
turned the offer down. As a result, the
U.S. has been put in an idiotic position: for the first time in years Washington
has been threatened with a war and had to retreat under the cover of thundering
"U.S. Agrees To Talks With Kim Jong-il"
Yevgeny Artyomov declared in reformist Izvestia (1/9): "Only several days ago President Bush
said categorically that the US would not conduct any negotiations with North
Korea. A sharp turn in his policy occurred after two-day diplomatic talks in
the American capital that involved high-ranking officials from South Korea and
Japan.... A sudden change in the White
House's tactic has given Democratic senators new reasons to accuse the Bush
administration of using double standards in its foreign policy. Ordinary US citizens
can hardly understand why their leaders are going to remove the Iraqi president
even though UN inspectors have not found any trace of weapons of mass
destruction in that country and why they have chosen the tactic of diplomatic
negotiations with North Korea that is threatening America and has openly spoken
of its nuclear ambitions."
Security affairs writer Burkhard Bischof
observed in centrist Die Presse (1/12):
"What this bizarre dictator Kim Jong II wants by taking up the
nuclear program is to blackmail the
international community into helping his starving country.... South Korea seems to be more concerned about
the 37,000 US soldiers who are stationed there to protect South Koreans against
an attack by the North. The new South
Korean President is already thinking of an independent defense strategy after
the US has left his country."
"An Acute Problem"
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn remarked in conservative
Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (1/8): "Before he decides to attack Iraq,
President Bush is confronted with an acute problem: Kim Jong Il and his gang
defy him much more that archenemy Saddam Hussein.... The danger of a conflict is real. And, how do you deal with a regime that is
totally paranoid and unpredictable--and that is capable of anyhting? It is up to Bush to find an answer.... Since 1945 nobody has ever understood Kim Il
Sung and his son Kim Jong Il. They
turned their nation into the most isolated country in the world. That is what makes Pyongyang follow other
motives than normal rational countries....
The world is looking at Bush and expects him to defuse the powder
keg. But, his policy does not reflect
consistency. He clearly applies double
standards in his actions against Kim and Saddam. He has never done much more than utter a few
personal sneers against Kim…. That lack
of consistency is not entirely his fault.
There are not many effective instruments to exert pressure on a regime
like the one in Pyongyang.... Bush is
still counting on direct talks. It is an
open question whether these will take place.
It is totally uncertain that they will yield results. But, one thing is certain: the suffering of
the North Korean people will not end soon."
CROATIA: “And Now-How To
Save Washington’s And Pyongyang’s Faces”
Zagreb-based Government-owned Vjesnik carried a piece by
Tomislav Butorac stating (1/10):
"Diplomacy will now be allowed to handle preparations for the
dialogue, so that neither side loses face.
That’s why the American turn is being proclaimed a nuance. What could the next move be? Ideas can already be heard that the Chinese
and the Russians could prepare an international conference, at which a package
acceptable to all would be adopted.
South Korea has played the main role in seeking the compromise.... Of course, polishing of ‘nuances’ will take
time, and in the meantime, accusations, threats, and reactions to them will be
Within the Axis [Of Evil]?"
Foreign affairs writer Ferenc Kepecs mused in pro-government
Hungarian-language left-wing Nepszava (1/13): "Pyongyang is doing horrific things
these days: it renews its nuclear weapons and missile program, withdraws from
the ABM Treaty and threatens the only superpower of the world with a war. Experts seem to be perplexed over North
Korea's irrational behavior. Whether or
not the behavior of North Korea is
irrational, one person enjoys its benefits for certain: Saddam Hussein. Pyongyang's provocations weaken Washington's
position against Iraq--not its military, but its moral and political position.
The U.S. has listed both Pyongyang and Baghdad among the ‘Axis-of-Evil’ states. The U.S. is their common enemy. Can it be assumed that Pyongyang and Baghdad
are cooperating in some way?.... If this
is Kim's intention, his chances are not too good, because on the North-Korean
question, the world is with the U.S.”
IRELAND: "Kim Jong-il Trounces The U.S. In Game Of
Marion McKeone wrote in the liberal Sunday Tribune
(1/12): "Bush has exacerbated the
difficulties his own policy has created.
He has ruled out war and he continues to rule out negotiations. With neither carrot nor stick dangling in
front of him and the world's superpower apparently at a loss as to how to
proceed, there is precious little incentive for the North Korean dictator to
back down.... Indeed the U.S.'
helplessness was highlighted in response to North Korea's announcement this week
that it had abandoned the treaty.... For
King Jong-il, the convergence of Bush's determination to go to war with Iraq, a
rising hostility towards the United States in North Korea and the Chinese
transition period represents a perfect storm of sorts which he is navigating
with no small amount of skill.... Senior
figures on both continents are agreed on one thing; that Kim Jong-il's primary
goal, despite his brinkmanship is not to build nuclear weapons. Rather, it is to force economic concessions
from the U.S. and a non-aggression pact that would rule out a future U.S.
Influential liberal De Volkskrant editorialized
(1/11): "Pyongyang's efforts to say
the crisis is caused by American aggression is not without success. Critics say President Bush is responsible for
the 'double crisis' and some Dutch politicians even accused Bush of being
hypocritical because he opted for a diplomatic approach in the case of North
Korea while openly threatening Iraq with war.
This concept does not acknowledge the differences between Iraq - which
has a long record of violating UN resolutions- and North Korea, of which it was
unclear until last October whether it violated international agreements. Besides, the issue of North Korea is not
exclusively an American problem but one that should concern all advocates of
nuclear non proliferation."
NORWAY: “The Role Of The
Independent Dagbladet editorialized (1/13): “The conflict between the U.S. and North
Korea focuses yet another time on the role of nuclear weapons in international
politics.... On the contrary [to the
intent of the Non-Proliferation Treaty] it seems like the danger of using them
[nuclear weapons] is increasing in a time of war against terrorism, preparation
for a war in Iraq and an unpredictable regime in North Korea threatens with war
against the rest of the world.”
“The New Korea Crisis”
Kjell Dragnes commented in newspaper of record Aftenposoten
(1/9): "What we know is that the
U.S. still does not have the same plans about and [hasn't reached] the same
state of readiness to bomb North Korea’s nuclear plants like President Bill
Clinton had during the crisis in 1994.
There is still time to avoid a Korea war number two.”
POLAND: "Who Is
Jerzy Marek Nowakowski observed in centrist weekly Wprost
(1/13): “Kim seems to make it clear that
he will cancel his decision [to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty] in return for concessions from the United States. If that's the case, then we are dealing with
a new political phenomenon: state nuclear terrorism. Giving in to the blackmail
can end up in another rogue regime buying anthrax, uranium, or poison gases to
blackmail the world.”
“Between Baghdad And Pyongyang”
Mateusz Flak wrote in mainstream Catholic weekly Tygodnik
Powszechny (1/9): “For the time
being, American experts prefer to talk about blackmail and ‘a cry of despair’
rather than nuclear ambitions.... Kim is
not Saddam, and the criteria used for Baghdad are no good when dealing with
Pyongyang. North Korea already has at
least one nuclear warhead, and a conflict could cause a regional war--which no
one wants to let happen. It appears that
the only solution are patient but tough negotiations with the Korean
regime. But a Washington-Pyongyang
dialog will not succeed without support from the other ‘players’ in Asia:
China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea.
The way world leaders deal with the Korean stalemate will determine
whether Kim will have imitators in the future.”
PORTUGAL: "Korea Is
Prof. Vasco Rato opined in center-right weekly O Independente
(1/10): "The new national security
doctrine presented by George Bush, which foresees recourse to preventive war,
has provoked great unease in European chancelleries. The criticisms got louder when Iraq, Iran and
North Korea were characterized as an 'axis of evil'.... In the middle of this cacophony, the crux of
Bush's message got lost. This message is
simple: these three tyrannical regimes, dominated by fanatical leaders
determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction, are dangerous because they
are unpredictable. That is why it is
necessary to take steps to halt the ambitions of these states. The American administration never said--nor
could anyone with good sense even think--that the approach to each of these
states would be the same.... It is too
late to resort to force in North Korea.
But, on the other hand, it is indispensable to resort to military action
to keep Iraq from acquiring these weapons, like North Korea.... Resolving the crisis provoked by North Korea
constitutes a global imperative. Just as
in Iraq, the weapons of mass destruction in the possession of Kim Jong-il will
have to be destroyed."
ROMANIA: "Crisis Still
In Full Swing"
Editor-in-chief Mihai Hareshan wrote in the English-language Nine
o’Clock (1/14): "What is
obvious so far is that the fresh crisis is in full swing. Implementing the confrontation strategy by
Pyongyang--is it seeking to acquire a nuclear arsenal or close a non-aggression
treaty with the U.S.? It is tightly
connected with the U.S. administration being deeply concerned with the Iraq
issue. The North Korean regime thus
counts on the U.S. being more inclined to a compromise now, rather than after a
settlement over the Iraqi crisis. The
stake of this strategy is the survival of the North Korean communist regime,
but even if the latter scores a temporary win, it will only deepen the
isolation in which it finds itself. The
international community has become increasingly sensitive lately to the kinds
of behavior displayed by the likes of the regimes in Baghdad or Pyongyang, and
it is quite likely that the nuclear blackmail being practiced by North Korea
will be matched by a fitting response.”
Carlos Mendo wrote in left-of-center El País (1/9): "The dangers are evident of allowing the
'Dear Leader' Kim Jong II to have the
world take the bait and believe that the crisis in the Korean Peninsula is a
confrontation with Washington due to the warmongering of the present American
administration against the members of the so-called 'Axis of Evil.' If the world, through the Security Council of
UN, does not succeed in uprooting Kim's nuclear ambitions, the atomic
rearmament of the whole Asian Northeast will be a reality in very few
years. All the security and stability in
the region are based, since the end of Second World War, on the protection
offered by U.S. military umbrella to the Far East countries. If, due to reasons of American political
convenience, those countries saw that that guarantee of defense starts to
totter, the race towards the nuclear rearmament of the region would be
assured.... That is why it is
surprising...the different treatment and attitude of George Bush to the real
danger of North Korea and the theoretical one represented by the Iraq of Saddam
SWEDEN: "Holding Our
Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet commented
(1/13): "The conflict in the Korean
peninsula is escalating after the rogue state North Korea has definitely
withdrawn from the NPT. Although the dictator Kim Jong Il has not previously
adhered to it, the official withdrawal means a sharpening of the
situation.... It is impossible to know
North Korea's intentions by its sabre-rattling. Possibly the crisis was created
only to force through economic and other favors. If so, one must, like during a
similar crisis in 1993-94 and 2000, find a formula that gives all concerned a
chance to back out. However, the problem is that as long as the North Korean
dictatorship remains, the international community might, whenever Kim Jong Il
decides to use his nuclear blackmailing policy, have to again hold its
"Time For a New Sunshine Policy"
Social Democratic Stockholm-based tabloid Aftenbladet
editorialized (1/9): "The North
Korean affair is gradually becoming an awkward matter both for the U.S. and the
UN. Everyone seems to be in agreement
that the Communist regime in the Korean peninsula is a greater threat to world
peace than Iraq.... But for once one
must say that the Bush administration has taken a wise position. North Korea is a closed country...and
sharpened economic sanctions would have little effect.... The present regime makes North Korea a dangerous
and brutal nation, and such must never be relieved of criticism. The international community has a common
responsibility in this regard. But at
present diplomacy is the only reasonable tool to solve the crisis."
ISRAEL: "Reasons To
Talk With North Korea"
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote
in independent Ha'aretz (1/15):
"If the current crisis over the North Korean missile program is not
settled, there is a danger that Pyongyang will sell not just missile technology
but nuclear technology to the Middle East.
It's a country that easily goes to the brink and is ready to take major
risks in seeking a new anti-American coalition with countries like Iran, Libya,
Syria and Yemen. This is a coalition
that by definition will be extremely anti-Israeli. Thus, North Korea's moves in the Middle East
pose dangers for Israel, which will only worsen if the crisis deepens. The coordination with Washington is therefore
of great importance, and one should not conclude that Israel will be a silent
player that waits for everything to be done for it by Washington. Israel has good reasons of its own for making
direct contact with North Korea, just as it did with China and Russia."
Between The Elephant And The Mouse"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram senior columnist Salama
Ahmed Salama opined (1/11): “The U.S.
has systematically withdrawn from confronting North Korea's nuclear
issue.... Washington saved face by
accepting South Korea and Japan's mediation....
In the background, the Iraqi crisis remains and the American military
mobilizes in preparation for a strike though the inspection team did not find
any weapons with Saddam.... The
situation shows U.S. double standards, whereby countries which possess the
power to resist aggression can uphold their interests.... However, more importantly are North Korea's
neighbors who rejected American sanctions against North Korea...and sought to
settle the crisis peacefully. Compare
this solidarity with the conduct of some Arab countries, which rushed to
support and facilitate the American and British mobilization to launch war
against Iraq. Even South Korea was a major American base, but democracy
liberated it from subordination to the U.S. When will this happen in the Arab
UAE: "Perceived Double
Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab editorialized
(1/9): "The supporters for war
still prefer a Bush-Sharon brinkmanship type policy with Iraq.... The question is why doesn't the Bush-Sharon
administration apply the same sort of hostile methods to North Korea, especially
after it expelled the nuclear inspectors?
The reason is clear; North Korea is strong and united, where as Iraq is
militarily weak and destroyed socially due to the sanctions. Iraq also suffers from the growing mistakes
of the Iraqi leadership. The most
important question is what will happen if the results of the American war on
Iraq are not what Bush-Sharon desire?"
CHINA: "Kelly’s Asian
Xu Baokang observed in the official Communist Party People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (1/14):
“According to popular opinion, [Assistant Secretary of State] Kelly’s
statement shows the newest attitude of the U.S. Government on the DPRK’s
nuclear issue. The U.S. government’s
stance on the nuclear issue is a bit changed now."
"DPRK’s Nuclear Crisis Tests The Security Setup In
Zhu Feng wrote in official Communist Youth League China Youth
Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (1/13):
“The DPRK’s security concern should be recognized and protected. However, if the DPRK’s concerns about security
are seen as a challenge to its international commitments and the authorization
by the international system, what the DPRK gets will be just the opposite of
what it desires.”
“President: Words, Not
Weapons, The Best Approach”
Hu Xiao noted in the official English-language China Daily
(1/10): “The nuclear issue in the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be best resolved through
direct dialogue between the United States and the DPRK, Chinese President Jiang
Zemin said yesterday in Beijing."
“Tang, Powell Talk About DPRK Issue”
Meng Yan declared in the official English-language China Daily
(1/10): “China appreciates the United
States’ willingness to open dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea (DPRK) on the nuclear issue, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told his U.S.
counterpart Colin Powell yesterday. Tang
said the reduction of the tension on the Korean Peninsula which has arisen from
the nuclear issue and the peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula will not only benefit Northeast Asian peace, stability and
development but suits the interests of all parties, including the United
States. This can only be realized
through dialogue, the spokeswoman quoted Tang as saying.”
“Why Does The U.S. Suddenly Change Its Policy Towards The DPRK?”
Yuan Tiecheng commented in official Communist Youth League China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (1/9): "The U.S. changing its stance towards
the DPRK is more like a ploy to gain time.
Although the U.S. makes a compromise, there are not any substantial
changes. The U.S. has shown willingness
for unconditional talks with the DPRK, but as soon as the talks start, both
sides will raise conditions. All kinds
of conditions may be raised. Moreover,
the new U.S. policy does not mention anything about signing a mutual
non-aggression treaty with the DPRK.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Is Kim Jong-il Clever Or Stupid?"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times
commented (1/14): "The crisis in
the Korean peninsula is advancing.
Following North Korea's announcement that it would withdraw from the
'Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,' the U.S. was forced to make a
concession. The U.S. claimed that if
North Korea gave up its nuclear weapons program, the U.S. would consider
providing fuel aid. North Korean leader
Kim Jong-il is wrestling with U.S. President Bush, and Kim Jong-il has won the
first round. The risk of war appears to
have decreased. The shadow of military
clashes in Northeast Asia, however, still looms, and Hong Kong may
suffer.... It is difficult to know
whether Kim Jong-il is clever or stupid.
If the latter, and if he really wants to develop nuclear weapons, the
situation may be beyond anyone's control.
Since the U.S. cannot accept a 'rogue state' becoming a nuclear power,
Bush may have no choice but to teach North Korea a lesson. Even if Kim Jong-il is merely playing a trick
by fishing in troubled water, he may lose everything in the end, with harsh U.S.
reprisals. North Korea's use of nuclear
weapons to push the U.S. into negotiation or dialogue clearly illustrates
Bush's double standard: Though the
international community still has no evidence showing Iraq possesses weapons of
mass destruction, Bush is using this pretext to use force. North Korea, meanwhile -- a member of Bush's
'axis of evil'--has admitted to developing nuclear weapons. The U.S. has nevertheless chosen to use
diplomatic means rather than force to resolve the crisis."
"North Korean Dispute Escalates"
Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South
China Morning Post (1/14):
"Although North Korea has continued to escalate its dispute with
the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency, leading to its withdrawal
on Friday from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a reading of its various
statements shows that Pyongyang has always been careful to leave itself the
possibility of a reconciliation with Washington and the international
community. On October 25, the week after
Washington accused Pyongyang of having a covert uranium-enrichment program,
North Korea issued a statement calling for a non-aggression treaty between
itself and the U.S. North Korea appeared
to deny the American charge.... The
statement ended on a conciliatory note, saying North Korea prefers negotiations
to the use of deterrent force as far as possible.... A statement by the North Korea Foreign
Ministry accused the U.S. of misleading public opinion by saying that Pyongyang
admitted (having a) nuclear development program. The statement held open the possibility that
Pyongyang was willing to reactivate its nuclear facilities. It said: Whether (North Korea) refreezes its
nuclear facilities or not entirely depends on the attitude of the U.S.... In this series of statements, Pyongyang has
continued to declare its desire for a peaceful resolution of the issues and, in
fact, promises to prove to the U.S. that it is not making any nuclear
weapons. Perhaps the U.S. should take
North Korea up on its offer."
"North Korea's Situation Is Getting Worse"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal
remarked (1/13): "In terms of the
degree of 'evil,' North Korea and Iraq are about the same.... The U.S. has given North Korea a way out
because Washington's Iraq policy is to topple the Saddam regime, rebuild the
country into a U.S. stronghold in the Middle East, and seize its oil
reserves. U.S. policy on North Korea is
merely to contain the Pyongyang government, preventing it from developing
nuclear weapons and forcing it to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. Washington has no intention of
toppling Kim Jong-il, nor is it looking to realign its regional order.... Iraq is in the Middle East. It is far away. If a war breaks out, the only impact on Hong
Kong will be its impact on oil prices and on the U.S. economy. If the situation on the Korean Peninsula gets
worse, however, its impact will be on China and the whole Asian region. The impact on Hong Kong is much more
direct. This is why we cannot overlook
the situation on the Korean Peninsula."
"International Community Concerned About The DPRK"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao commented (1/13): "Just as the DPRK seemed to be pushing
the situation to the breaking point, it suddenly used its UN deputy
representative Han Song Ryol on Sunday to tell former U.S. representative to
the UN--and current New Mexico governor--Bill Richardson that the DPRK did not
have plans to build nuclear weapons....
The DPRK's real intention is not to build nuclear weapons; it is to
force the U.S. into making concessions.
This is evidenced by persistent requests for dialogue since the dispute
broke out.... The DPRK already knows the
U.S. well from past experience and can lead the U.S. around by the nose. It understands that the U.S. will ultimately
make concessions, especially if Bush is busy with a war against Iraq. One of the DPRK's objectives is to force the
U.S. to sign a mutual non-intervention agreement and to guarantee that the DPRK
will not become another Iraq."
JAPAN: "South Korea
Holds The Key"
Conservative Sankei observed (1/15): "Japan needs to get well acquainted with
South Korean President-elect Roh before his Feb. 25 inauguration in order to
coordinate policies more closely than before on dealing with the North Korean
nuclear crisis, which has become an urgent issue for the international
community. Needless to say, South Korea holds the key to resolving this nuclear
crisis. If Seoul expresses opposition to sanctions, likely to be imposed on the
North, the UN would not be able to actually enforce them. Even if the sanctions are enforced, their
effects would be far from effective. Not much can be expected from a diplomatic
solution to the problem without policy coordination between the U.S., Japan and
South Korea. Mr. Roh, once considered to be nationalistic, has stressed through
talks with Assistant Secretary of State Kelly the importance of promoting close
and strong ties with the U.S. and other members of the international
"Japan Must Be Prepared To Deal With Iraq And DPRK
Conservative Sankei opined (1/14): "Since the start of the new year, the
world community has been facing two crises involving Iraq and the DPRK. Japan must deal with these crises in a manner
that prioritizes the protection of the interests of the nation and its
people..... The U.S. is preparing
steadily for action against Iraq.... The
U.S. use of force against the Iraqis appears inevitable. North Korea's nuclear development is of
greater concern to Japan. We need to
look into the possibility that the North will intensify its nuclear brinkmanship
in a manner far more threatening than in the past. Against such a backdrop, it is imperative
that Japan and the U.S. join hands to deal firmly with North's nuclear
brinkmanship, solely designed to drive a wedge into the U.S.-Japan-South Korean
alliance. This year, Japan also needs to
promote a missile defense program, pass emergency-related legislation and
strengthen intelligence-gathering capabilities."
"Japan, Russia Should Urge DPRK To Accept U.S. Offer To
Liberal Asahi editorialized (1/10): "During their meeting in Moscow today,
Prime Minister Koizumi and Russian President Putin should discuss not only
bilateral issues but also ways to defuse the DPRK nuclear crisis. The
Koizumi-Putin meeting is taking place shortly after the U.S. showed its
willingness to talk with North Korea about its nuclear program. The two
leaders, therefore, need to urge the North to abandon its nuclear programs and
accept the U.S. offer to talk. It is also significant that they discuss the
future of Asia and build up their working relationship."
"DPRK Should Accept U.S. Offer to Talk"
Liberal Asahi editorialized (1/9): "North Korea should accept a U.S. offer
to talk about its nuclear programs, as disclosed in the TCOG statement, to
defuse its nuclear crisis. The statement
said the U.S. does not pose a threat to North Korea and has no intention of
invading the North. But it is premature
to think that the U.S. is 'loosening its grip' on a nuke-defiant North Korea. The Bush administration is actually more
concerned about a possible campaign against Iraq. Unable to address the DPRK dispute head-on,
the U.S. 'shelved' the DPRK dispute temporarily."
"DPRK Must Accept Dialogue"
Liberal Mainichi observed (1/9): "In the TCOG statement, the U.S. offered
to talk to the DPRK about how it should meet its obligations to the
international community. It is the North
that continues to refuse dialogue with the outside world, intensifying its
nuclear crisis. If the North continues
to defy calls for abandoning its nuke programs, the UNSC will find fault with
the programs and impose economic sanctions on the impoverished Stalinist
state. Pyongyang needs to resume
dialogue in a cool-headed manner."
Leading independent Kompas commented (1/14): “Although Bush once said he would never let
‘the world’s worst dictator' get the world’s worst weapon,’ he has never
specifically warned North Korea about what he would be doing if Pyongyang eventually
really produces high-degree plutonium....
We notice some confusing signals in U.S. policy. Let’s say that North Korea does have a
nuclear program as it claims, just as the U.S. believes. In this much clearer issue, the U.S. does not
show any insistent stance as it shows to Iraq, which, according to a UN team
does not have any nuclear weapon. That’s
it. The U.S. would not be called a
superpower if it does not act as it ‘wishes.’”
Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times
ran the following editorial (1/10):
"The world too often has to suffer the consequences of politicians
speaking to one constituency while addressing another. That's the way it now seems with US Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's 'war on two fronts' bluster of just several weeks
ago. Notwithstanding the consequent
crescendo of hysterical dudgeon from North Korea, even at the time it was
obvious Rumsfeld was merely suffering an overspill of exuberance over America's
jolly little crusade against evil. It
was South Korea that pleaded for the invective to stop, with China, Russia,
Asean and anyone else who cared agreeing.
Surprise, surprise: the invective hasn't stopped. While Washington's cost-benefit analysis has
led it to turn down its own volume, Pyongyang, in its characteristically
off-kilter way sensing some uncharacteristic sympathy in the outside world, is
blustering on in its harangue of the US.
As Seoul would have it: let it be.
The signal issues here are North Korea's nuclear program, and whether it
is to be used for energy or weaponry. UN
monitors are there to guard against the latter, not the former. Letting North
Koreans suffer this particularly cold winter without energy could almost be
construed as an act of war itself.
Letting Seoul and Pyongyang work this out between them is, however, what
the entire Korean question is about."
From North Korea"
The independent Philippine Star declared (1/12): "Kim Jong-il knows how to grab the
world's attention--particularly the
United States'--and attempt to use it as leverage to get concessions for his
country...by pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.... So far Pyongyang has shown willingness to
talk in exchange for economic assistance and a reduction in what he considers
as aggressive rhetoric from Washington. This puts the Americans and their
allies in a bind: should North Korea be rewarded with economic assistance for
secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program, while U.S. troops pound Iraq with
missiles? Pyongyang has admitted its uranium
enrichment program; Saddam has denied developing weapons of mass
destruction. Which...poses a bigger
threat to the safety of nations? For now
the best option for the world is still negotiation.... Reaching out to Pyongyang at this time is
still the best way of averting the crisis that the world fears."
Count On The Other Fellow To Blink, Uncle Sam"
Senior Writer Janadas Devan wrote in the pro-government Straits
Times (1/10): "After insisting
for weeks that they will not give way to blackmail--and what is more, talking
recklessly of America's ability to fight and win two regional wars at
once--Bush administration officials now say they would be willing to 'talk' to
Pyongyang, though not 'negotiate' with it....
Mr. Bill Clinton barely showed the stick, but offered carrots, managing
to get Mr. Kim to nibble some. Mr. Bush withdrew the carrots, brandished the
stick, only to have Mr. Kim snatch it away....
But the Bush administration has bigger problems on its hands than
distinguishing itself from its predecessor. For one thing, it will find that
pursuing diplomacy as an instrument of policy after having made threats and
exposed their emptiness, is not going to be easy. War with North Korea was never a realistic
option. With or without nuclear weapons, North Korea could have flattened
Seoul. Washington should never have signaled Pyongyang that it was out to
topple it. But having made these noises, only to back down, it has lost
considerable leverage. It will now have to depend on others to exercise
whatever leverage they may have over Pyongyang.... Far more serious than Washington's loss of
leverage, however, is the signal the collapse of its North Korea policy will
send would-be adversaries. Signal No 1:
Possessing nuclear weapons brings respect. Iraq's Saddam Hussein does not have
them; Mr. Kim has. Mr. Saddam will probably be toppled; Mr. Kim will not.
Message to would-be tyrants and jihadists: Get nukes. That message will be
received, loud and clear, not only in unfriendly countries like Iran, but also
in currently friendly ones like Pakistan, which already has nukes. Signal No 2: America's massive conventional
strength, together with its nuclear deterrence and assured retaliation, can in
fact be trumped."
The pro-government Straits Times editorial read (1/9): "The U.S. made a notable concession on
Tuesday to defuse the nuclear confrontation with North Korea by offering to
hold direct talks.... The U.S. change of
position is a step forward, faithful to President Bush's repeated statements
that he seeks a peaceful resolution through diplomacy. But, perhaps mindful not to appear weak, the
U.S. attached disclaimers, which made the offer of talks sound conditional,
even if it was not.... It is problematic
whether North Korea would see the opening offered as sufficient incentive for
it to accept.... The U.S. and its allies
should be prepared for the likelihood Pyongyang would regard the riders attached
as being merely complementary to the International Atomic Energy Agency's
SOUTH KOREA: “North Korea
Should Accept Bush’s Conciliatory Overtures”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (1/16): “President Bush has said that the U.S. could
consider a ‘bold initiative’--including energy and food aid--if Pyongyang
dismantles its nuclear programs. The remarks can be viewed as an indication
that Washington has decided to pacify North Korea to resolve the current
crisis. The North must capitalize on
this softened U.S. stance and create an atmosphere for talks as soon as
possible.... With regard to Pyongyang’s
call for a non-aggression treaty, Secretary Powell also suggested that the U.S.
might offer a written security guarantee to the communist state. If the North demonstrates its seriousness by
scrapping its nuclear program, the door will be open to resolving a series of
pending issues between the two countries....
Furthermore, if relevant countries jointly seek to work on measures to
guarantee the North’s security and find a reasonable resolution of the North
Korean nuclear issues, Pyongyang has nothing to lose. North Korea should accept the move and enter
“Significant Shift In U.S. Attitude”
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun commented (1/16): “As recent remarks by President Bush and
Secretary Powell have indicated, the U.S. is making significant shifts in its
extremely hard-line stance toward North Korea.... We consider this U.S. change of heart a
positive development that will help resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, and
sincerely hope that the two countries will begin full-fledged talks as soon as
“North Korea Should Promptly Respond To Bush Overtures”
Conservative Segye Ilbo observed (1/16): “North Korea should not make the mistake of
considering Mr. Bush’s latest overtures a triumph of its brinkmanship diplomacy
and miss a rare opportunity to make honorable compromises.... Recent remarks by UN arms inspectors that the
North’s nuclear weapons pose more of a danger than Iraq suggest that North
Korea could become the primary target of a U.S. strike, depending on the
results of arms inspections under way in Iraq.... Pyongyang should immediately respond to Mr.
“Why Doesn’t The U.S. Dialogue?”
Kim Yeon-cheol, professor of the Center for Asian Affairs at Korea
University, wrote in pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun (1/15): “The current nuclear crisis was caused by
North Korea, but the responsibility for resolving it lies with the U.S. Even though the Bush Administration keeps
saying that it wants talks, it doesn’t enter into them.... President Bush’s ‘dialogue without
negotiations’ amounts to a unilateral demand, not genuine dialogue.... Washington has never bothered to understand
President Kim’s policy of engaging the North, and this is the seed of the
current misfortune.... The U.S. should
understand what the Korean people want: no war and no nukes. We don’t want to lose our economic
prosperity, earned by the sweat of our brows during the 50 years since the
Korean War, overnight. Likewise, a
nuclear-free Korean peninsula is a non-negotiable principle in implementing
North Korea policy. The North’s
possession of nuclear weapons will eventually lead to nuclear armament by
Japan, inviting tension and confrontation in Northeast Asia. In addition, considering our economy’s strong
dependence on overseas markets, another Cold War in the region would be
disastrous. If the U.S. really
understands the Korean situation, it will talk to the North.”
"President-elect Roh’s Positive View Of The U.S."
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (1/14): “Mr. Roh’s clear expression of his views on
the North Korean nuclear problem and the U.S. alliance came as an indication of
the continuing development of the U.S.-ROK relationship.... In this regard, we hope the U.S. forgets its
concerns about anti-U.S. sentiment here and concentrates on resolving the
nuclear crisis in close collaboration with the ROK. We focus on [Assistant Secretary of State]
Kelly’s remarks that if the North first gives up its nuclear program, the U.S.
will talk on many subjects. In
particular, his mention of the North’s energy crisis can be seen as indicating
the possibility of the U.S. providing quid pro quo.”
"It Is Fortunate That The U.S. And The ROK Coordinated
Moderate Hankook Ilbo declared (1/14): “Yesterday’s meeting between President-elect
Roh and U.S. envoy James Kelly is of great significance, in that it will become
the foundation for ROK-U.S. cooperation in resolving the North’s nuclear issue
after the new ROK government takes office on Feb. 25.... We do not know how far North Korea’s
rhetoric--such as its announcement that it will withdraw from the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and its threat to resume missile tests--will go, but
we believe that the surest way to resolve the current crisis is through solid
cooperation between the U.S. and the ROK.”
"Peaceful Settlement Of DPRK Nuclear Crisis"
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (1/14): “Mr. Roh’s meeting with Mr. Kelly is very
important in that it is tantamount to Roh’s engaging in indirect dialogue with
President Bush.... The DPRK’s increasingly
intense brinkmanship requires the ROK and the U.S. to come up with effective
countermeasures through closer consultation.
In particular, since the DPRK nuclear crisis is a matter of life and
death for the Korean people, the ROK’s opinion should be given top priority in
dealing with this matter. Mr. Kelly must
have a clear understanding of the grounds on which the President-elect bases
his call for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Recently, thanks to the hard-line U.S. stance
on jurisdiction over the Military Demarcation Line, inter-Korean projects,
including the reconnection of cross-border road and railways and the
construction of the Kaesong industrial complex, have run into
difficulties. This sort of deceleration
in inter-Korean exchange and cooperation can, regrettably, have a negative
impact on addressing the DPRK nuclear threat.... In addition, this situation runs counter to
the ROK-U.S.-Japan agreement that inter-Korean dialogue can be a useful channel
in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.
Mr. Kelly should understand the real reason Koreans have repeatedly
called for U.S.-DPRK dialogue.”
"North Korea, Stop Intimidating The International
Independent Dong-a Ilbo opined (1/13): “We wonder how far North Korea's dangerous
gamble of taking the world hostage will go....
The North's intention is said to be to use threats to force the U.S. to
resume talks. But the communist country
should realize that such a tactic will hardly be successful. Who in the world would cave in and accept
dialogue when they are threatened with a dagger?.... Talks to be held today between
President-elect Roh Moo-hyun and Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly are
very important when it comes to finding a solution to the North Korean nuclear
problem. This is because U.S.-ROK
cooperation is the most effective tool to deal with the ‘rogue state’ of North
Korea.... During talks, we hope that Mr.
Roh and the U.S. demonstrate their mutual trust and send a strong message to
the North, increasingly on the offensive, so as to ease the international
"Having A Lot Of Nerve Won't Do It For North Korea"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo observed (1/13): “It is obvious that as the level of nuclear
crisis rises, the lives of the North Korean people will become more
difficult.... The North Korean
leadership must acknowledge that the ‘nuclear crisis cards’ it is playing
against the U.S. and the international community are not exerting enough
pressure. The U.S. and the global
community have seen through the fact that the North is running out of time and
as such is making rash choices.... In
particular, Pyongyang should immediately realize that it is narrowing the
ground on which the ROK, taking the initiative in mediating a peaceful
resolution between the U.S. and the North, can stand.”
“North Korea’s Misjudgment”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (1/13): “North Korea’s contradictory moves, climaxed
by its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) while
expressing its intent not to build nuclear weapons, are largely based on the
communist country’s misjudgment of international affairs. The North should note
that Washington’s world view today is far different from what it was in the
1990s, when Pyongyang and Washington drew up the Geneva Accord, and that the
U.S. has prioritized the nonproliferation of terrorism and weapons of mass
destruction since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.... The North must obtain international help to
draw the U.S. to the negotiating table.
However, by continuing to play nuclear brinkmanship, it has made even
Chinese President Jiang Zemin turn his back, bringing complete isolation onto
itself.... We must not let the North
court disaster through misjudgment and arrogance.... It is the North’s first task to restore the
situation to the original condition so as to begin negotiations.”
“Faltering U.S.-ROK Relations”
Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (1/10): “Relations between the U.S. and the ROK are
headed for the worst crisis in their 50-year-long alliance.... What is most worrisome is the increasing
anti-Korean sentiment in the U.S. Almost
every day, the U.S. media report anti-American movements in the ROK.... The U.S.-ROK alliance symbolized by USFK is
the pillar of peace and security on the peninsula. Even though the move by some in the ROK to
reject USFK without any viable alternative is problematic, it is not desirable
for some American elements to give the impression that the U.S. is using the
issue to ‘tame the ROK'.... It is high
time for President-elect Roh to take action to address the situation.... One way to do so would be to immediately form
his foreign policy team and to start policy coordination with the U.S.
regarding U.S.-ROK relations and the North’s nuclear problem.”
“The Need To Cool Anti-American And Anti-Korean Sentiments”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo observed (1/10): “We do not see that recent U.S. moves, such
as calling the president of a friendly nation anti-American or of demanding the
pullout of U.S. troops from the ROK for fear of their being taken hostage by
the North’s nuclear threats, accurately reflect U.S. public opinion or the
government view. However, we should not
overlook the fact that such U.S. moves represent ‘early warning signs’ intended
to stop the further deterioration of the bilateral alliance. Looking back, the
Bush Administration’s skepticism about the Kim Dae-jung government’s North
Korea policy was behind the current, strained relations between the two
countries. In addition, the ROKG’s lackadaisical response to the possibility
that the candlelight vigils would evolve into anti-Americanism also contributed
to the situation.... Now, looking at
even international credit rating agencies asking about the potential economic
impacts of North Korea’s nuclear program and rising anti-U.S. sentiment, we
sincerely urge the ROK and U.S. leadership to immediately take action to
straighten out the misguided anti-American and anti-Korean trends.”
“Small But Significant ‘Breathing Room’ In Handling Of Nuclear
Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized
(1/9): “With the U.S. expressing its
willingness, though limited, for dialogue with North Korea at the recent TCOG
meeting with the ROK and Japan, it has created small but significant breathing
room for the resolution of the deadlocked North Korean nuclear crisis.... It is hard to see this as a major shift in
the U.S. stance, considering that Washington has made clear that it would not
provide ‘quid pro quos’ for Pyongyang’s dismantling of its nuclear
program.... However, even a small step
forward is helpful to solving a serious problem. Since the U.S. showed its willingness to
talk, now it is the North’s turn to make the situation a more positive one by
taking steps to restore surveillance seals and cameras at its nuclear
facilities. The North should realize
that its brand of adventurism--demanding rewards for ‘bad behavior’--does not
work any more.”
“Now It Is The North’s Turn To Respond”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized
(1/9): “The recent TCOG meeting on how
to handle North Korea’s nuclear program ended fruitfully with the U.S. saying
that it would talk to Pyongyang.... As
the North had stressed its willingness to resolve the current crisis through
dialogue, Washington and Pyongyang have finally found a point of
contact.... This TCOG result can be seen
as in line with President Bush’s recent and frequent remarks that the U.S. has
no intention of invading North Korea and his emphasis on a peaceful
resolution.... Pyongyang should utilize
this favorable development and immediately start talks with the U.S. without
attaching conditions. Doing so would
also satisfy the ROK and other neighbors who have worked for a diplomatic
resolution.... Now it is the North’s
turn to make a constructive move.”
“Shift In U.S. Attitude Toward North Korea
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun opined
(1/9): “The U.S.’ expression of willingness
at the latest TCOG meeting to talk to Pyongyang is quite noteworthy.... We hope that this shift in U.S. position
marks a turning point in resolving the current confrontation and easing
tensions surrounding the North’s nuclear program and that parties concerned
will capitalize on this opportunity....
It will not be easy for Washington and Pyongyang to strike an agreement
on pending issues, given that each side criticizes the other for violating the
Geneva Accord and given the difficulties in guaranteeing the security of the
North Korean regime and dismantling the country’s nuclear program in a
verifiable manner.... However, we
believe that if Pyongyang makes the most of President Bush’s remarks and resolves
its nuclear issue in a transparent fashion, the U.S. will take a ‘bold
approach’ and a significant political breakthrough will be made in the near
THAILAND: “The North Korean
Side Of The Story”
Khien Theeravit, emeritus professor of Political Science,
commented in the independent English-language Nation (1/16): “The North Korean crisis was surprisingly
ignited, not by Pyongyang, but by Washington, when James Kelly, Assistant
Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs, visited Pyongyang in October
2002. Outsiders will never know what
Kelly and his counterpart really talked about in Pyongyang, but he succeeded in
manufacturing an awful story, massively circulated around the world, saying
that his host confessed that North Korea had reactivated its nuclear
development program. This message
succeeded in shocking the world. People
have subsequently condemned North Korea, not the U.S., as the
crisis-maker! Why, then did Kelly choose
to manufacture this ‘North Korean crisis’?....
First, the Bush administration sought a way to disown the agreed
framework by shifting the blame to North Korea.
Secondly, the U.S. had to strategically deal with the upsurge in
anti-American sentiment in South Korea, following the deaths of two Korean
schoolgirls in an accident in June 2002 and the subsequent acquittal in
November by a U.S. court martial of two American servicemen.... Thirdly, Washington wanted to help its
pro-American candidate for the presidential elections scheduled to be held on
December 20, 2002. Fourthly, for a year
or so prior to Kelly’s visit to Pyongyang, Japan and South Korea had not been
obedient followers of the U.S. in their relations with North Korea.... North Korea is weak in diplomacy.... When it announced its withdrawal from the
nuclear non-proliferation treaty, it failed to reveal to the world the reasons
behind the decision.... North Korea may
have fought for a just cause, but it has been hurt because its enemy is the
superpower in the international mass-media arena.”
“Talks Take Priority With North Korea”
The lead editorial in top-circulation, moderately conservative,
English language Bangkok Post read (1/10): “It would be best for U.S. President George
W. Bush to continue to use the diplomatic services of South Korea and North
Korea’s other neighbors-such as Japan, China and Russia-to resolve this
crisis. None of these countries want war
on the Korean peninsula and neither do they want a nuclear North Korea. Importantly, they all have some leverage with
Pyongyang. Though it might invite
disparaging comparisons to his belligerent handling of Iraq, it is incumbent on
Mr. Bush that he be more circumspect in dealing with Mr. Kim’s nuclear blackmail. Sabre-rattling will not do when Pyongyang has
ballistic missiles, possibly tipped with biological or chemical-perhaps
nuclear-warheads, capable of hitting South Korea, where 37,000 U.S. troops are
based, and Japan. The North Korean
crisis has not reached the stage where war should be considered an
option.... If sanctions should be needed
down the track, they should not be applied unilaterally. Though it could fight two wars at one time-or
three if we include the ‘war on terror’, the U.S. is better advised to use the
resources of the UN to police Pyongyang’s rogue behavior.”
VIETNAM: "When Will
The Crisis In The Korean Peninsula Be Defused?"
Hong Ky wrote in Vietnam People's Army-run Quan Doi Nhan Dan
(1/13): "The U.S. has suddenly
announced that it is willing to negotiate with the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea, even before Pyongyang ends its nuclear program.... There are reasons to say that the U.S. is
under considerable pressure from South Korea and Japan, two of its allies,
regarding the DPRK's nuclear program.
Washington wants to be tough, putting comprehensive pressure on the DPRK
to force it abandon its nuclear program, while Seoul and Tokyo want to solve
the problem through peaceful negotiations.
South Korea and Japan want so because if a crisis breaks out in the
Korean peninsula, the ones that suffer the most will be just Seoul and Tokyo,
not Washington.... Pursuing a war
against Iraq already exposes the U.S. to all kinds of pressure and
difficulty. No one can imagine how
miserable the U.S. would be if it has to mobilize all of its resources for two
wars at the same time. Moreover, the
DPRK is not Iraq or Afghanistan."
"Why Does Washington De-escalate?"
In Ha Noi Moi, run by Hanoi authorities, Thu Hang wrote
(1/10): "There are signs that
tension in the Korean peninsula is beginning to ease after the U.S. announced
it would reassume negotiations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
despite the fact that the country still opens its nuclear reactors.... The reason for the US to have acted in that
way is that Washington does not want to impair its relations with Seoul and
other close allies in and around the Korean peninsula. Those countries so far have had a very
different approach with regard to the DPRK as in their view, efforts to isolate
Pyongyang only makes to situation more tense."
Stand By North Korea"
Left-of-center Malayalam-language Mathrubhumi opined
(1/14): "When many parts of the
world are waging a war for disarmament, North Korea's stand has upset all peace
lovers of this world. Recently, they
have denied permission for UN inspectors causing all the furor and fear for this
world. Disclosing their nuclear policies
has also sent threat perception across the world. North Korea has also made it crystal clear
that the usage of nuclear weapons by them would entirely depend on what stand
America would take. This is a very
dangerous decision on their part.
Whatever be the issues, it should be solved through the UN and the
international fraternity. North Korea's
decision has come during a time when even Iraq has permitted unconditional
weapons examination. At a time when the
international community is leaving no stone unturned to prevent an attack by
America on Iraq, instead of trying to find a solution to the existing problem
North Korea shouldn't open the Pandora's box."
"U.S. Attitude Resulting In Nuclear Problems"
Independent Telugu-language Andhra Prabha commented
(1/14): "North Korea, which was
encouraged to sign the NPT by the then Soviet Union in 1985, has now resorted
to withdraw from the treaty only because of the wrong attitude being adopted by
the Bush administration. The North
Korean government was forced to retaliate due to the unilateral decisions of
the U.S. that have affected the sovereignty of other countries."
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer opined (1/14): Rarely has the U.S.' strategic policy been
riddled with as much ineptitude and paradox as under President George W Bush.
While the US President and his advisors perceive serious threats from Baghdad to
global peace, they tend to become stone deaf and blind when North Korea
threatens to drag the US through a "sea of fire". No country has
dared challenge the US so openly in the recent past.... Remarkably...Bush and his team have limited
themselves to making placatory noises and activating mediators to resolve the
issue which may just blow up in Washington's face in the near future. The North
Korean crisis could not have come at a worse time for the Bush Administration.
Some would, of course, say it came at the right time. Such cynicism is natural.... The Bush Administration's hypocrisy is
becoming increasingly manifest. Baghdad has been more than willing to comply
with grossly unfair demands made by Washington shooting from behind the United
Nations. On the other hand, North Korea flouts every possible international
convention.... The message for the
global community is clear. The strategic policy of the world's only superpower
is being undermined by its own double standards."
"An Ominous Decision"
The centrist Hindu observed (1/14): "North Korea has ratcheted up its
confrontation with the global community, especially the U.S., to a dangerous
new level.... The semantics of the issue
might no longer be of great relevance since North Korea has already expelled
the technicians who were monitoring its nuclear facilities on behalf of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and disabled the equipment used for
this purpose.... In this situation, the
main burden of ensuring that North Korea does not become the next nuclear-armed
power falls on a U.S. administration which appears to be caught in two minds as
to how it should respond to Pyongyang's maneuvers.... Events have taken a very dangerous course and
Washington would ill-serve global interests if it did not accord sufficient
attention to these developments."
"North Korea Puts America Into Great Difficulty"
Pro-BJP Calcutta-based Bengali-language Bartaman
editorialized (1/14): "While the situation is increasingly boiling in the
Gulf, the pacific region at the same time tends to turn terribly volatile. In
both cases America happens to be the chief adversary.... Since neither South Korea, Japan, Philippines
or Australia possesses nuke weapons they would be devastated at the very outset
should DPRK choose to press the N-button....
Keeping an eye out on the ground reality North Korea conjures up the
satanic spirit to continually release nuclear threats. But its real motive is
to force America into the negotiation process. They want the US to keep the oil
supply flowing. Secondly, they want the US to sign a no-aggression pact with
DPRK. Thirdly, they want bountiful US financial aid.... However, America would not be able to go to
simultaneous wars against Iraq and DPRK. The US is set to begin its war against
Iraq, though there is no proof of the latter possessing WMD. Ironically, the US
is not considering to attack DPRK even though they posses nuke. Does it imply that America is whipping up
crisis in order to bungle reconciliatory talks between North and South
"North Korea's Threat"
Left-of-center influential Kannada-language Prajavani
editorialized (1/13): "North
Korea's announcement that it would come out of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
has jolted the world.... It has stated
that, though not interested in the production of nuclear weapons, it would use
the nuclear power for peace and developmental activities like power
production. But no one is ready to
accept this theory. Everyone knows that opening
up the doors for nuclear production would ultimately lead to the production of
nuclear weapons.... America is the main
cause for this development. By including
North Korea in the list of evil nations, President George Bush has been engaged
in spreading malicious rumors against that country.... North Korea's Communist regime has been
facing acute economic problems....
Perhaps North Korean leaders may change their mind if only America could
extend financial assistance."
"Challenge For America"
An editorial in Hindi-language Dainik Hindustan read
(1/13): "Whether it is North Korea
or Iraq, the US should proceed only taking world opinion along with it. After a war is started, it is always
difficult to pull back the reins or control it to conventional warfare. God forbid, if nuclear warfare is unleashed
in the process, it will wreak havoc on the whole world. The United Nations should be the sole arbiter
and a solution should be held through talks, and talks only. Being the sole superpower does not mean that
the US can ride roughshod over small nations and impinge upon any other
"New Trick Of Pyongyang"
Independent Calcutta-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar
Patrika opined (1/13): "In a
nutshell, Pyongyang has been blackmailing Washington by creating deep concern
for the entire world in a series of well-planned steps. Now, it remains to be
observed how the US President reacts while encountering increasingly heightened
pressure. It would also be interesting to watch how the UN can influence
President Bush and Department of State in this regard. The way even the DPRK's
so-called ally Russia has insisted on Pyongyang's holding restraint does not
seem so far that North Korea would get any sympathy in this diplomatic battle.
DPRK seems certainly to not be banking on China to intervene as its over-enthusiastic
friend though Pyongyang is yet to receive any specific advice from the oriental
superpower. In this circumstance it was quite natural for the UN to urge DPRK's
unilateral backtracking. But till now, the way Pyongyang is behaving deepens
the suspicion that things would not be settled so smoothly.... The world remains on tiptoe with baited
breath to witness Bush's next move at DPRK while the latter prepares for the
imminent war against Iraq."
An editorial in the centrist Times Of India read
(1/11): "North Korea's decision to
withdraw from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) by invoking its
supreme national interests under Article X of the treaty is a direct product of
the Bush administration's aggressive, unilateralist approach to international
security. In the past 12 months,
Pyongyang...has witnessed the manner in which the world has been powerless to
prevent Washington's military build-up against Baghdad.... It is clear that the US is as much to blame
as the North Koreans.... Whatever the
prehistory of the current dispute, it is essential that the US work peacefully
to resolve the stand-off. It is in
nobody's interest that North Korea quit the NPT. The 1994 Agreed Framework must be revived,
beginning with the supply of heavy oil, and the US must move rapidly towards
establishing normal relations with Pyongyang.
Above all, the US should realize that strident language and the threat
of force--whether against North Korea or Iraq--will only further undermine the
already weakened architecture of international arms control."
Irshad Ahmad Arif wrote a column in second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt
(1/14): "Well-known American
scholar William Blum created a commotion last year by writing a book, 'Rogue
State.' The book is a bestseller.... William Blum's rogue America now wants to
write a new chapter of state terrorism to end Iraq's 'rascality.' However, this rogue trembles following the
counter threat by North Korea."
"North Korea For Hell Of Fire"
The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
(1/14): "Tension is escalating on
the Korean peninsula because of mishandling of the crisis by the arrogant
United States. North Korea lived up to
its commitment to freeze its nuclear program as per a 1994 agreement with the
United States under which Washington undertook to ensure supply of fuel to the
Communist state to meet its energy requirements. However, Americans unilaterally suspended
fuel supplies, forcing Pyongyang to react to safeguard its national
interests.... Unlike former President
Bill Clinton's policy of 'carrot,' which paid dividends, incumbent President
Bush is following the policy of the 'stick.'
It is because of this policy that the United States is today perceived
to be the biggest instrument of instability in the world."
"Another Cul De Sac"
An editorial in the center-right national Nation read
(1/12): "When it is said, as
President Bush's reported telephonic conversation with Chinese President Jiang
Zemin maintains, that the path of mulilateralism needs to be pursued, it is
supposed to mean that negotiations would be preferred over rhetoric and
strong-arm tactics. North Korea can only be brought back by negotiations. The
importance of negotiations needs to be understood not only in the context of
the Korean peninsula but also in Iraq. And while North Korea is behaving with
reprehensible irresponsibility, its display of independence should serve as an
object lesson to many countries, including Pakistan."
SRI LANKA: "Dual Role
Government-owned Tamil-language Thinakaran Vaara Manjari
commented (1/12): "America, which
is prepared to solve its problems with North Korea through negotiation, is not
prepared to offer the similar opportunity to Iraq. Rather, it is making
arrangements for war."
Korea Is Not Iraq"
The Yaounde-based opposition, French-language bi-weekly Aurore
Plus (1/6) carried a commentary in which the editorialist Aissatou Yadouko
opined: "By expelling UN inspectors, Pyongyang has shown clearly its
commitment to resume its nuclear program despite the fact that North Korea
joined the international treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear
weapons.... Surprisingly the U.S. toned
down its declarations towards Pyongyang....
The communist regime is challenging the Bush administration without fear
or complex.... Pyongyang is not Baghdad
and (Washington) cannot simply 'cross
the river' to disarm North Korea. The
latter is a real threat to the United States and the world. America is well aware of it but does not dare
to proceed unless it is prepared to face unpleasant surprises."
"Confronting Nuclear Blackmail Nemesis"
The Yaounde-based bilingual government-owned Cameroon Tribune
observed (1/13): "The U.S. has very
few options in the face of North Korea's nuclear brinkmanship.... After announcing its withdrawal from the 1968
nuclear non-proliferation Treaty, North Korea has continued sending mixed
signals, vowing to smash US nuclear maniacs in a holy war while at the same
time claiming it has no intention of building nuclear bombs.... This presents a double embarrassment for
America, as it not only puts the credibility of U.S. foreign policy on line, it
makes the Bush administration weak and inconsistent. When the U.S. introduced
regime change into the lexicon of international diplomacy, it should have
realized that the countries targeted would do everything possible to defend
their sovereignty.... Pyongyang's
decision to withdraw from the NPT...is a direct product of the Bush
administration's unilateralist approach to international security."
NIGERIA: "Why Kid
Gloves For North Korea?"
Abuja-based independent Daily Trust asked (1/14): "Just why is North Korea being treated
with kid gloves for the same offence for which Iraq has paid with crushing
sanctions and the lives of over one million Iraqi children? The more one looks at it the more one sees
that there is more to the Iraqi-U.S. standoff than weapons of mass
destruction. A personal vendetta
ostensibly to remove Saddam Hussein for failing to die during Gulf War 1 so
that the U.S. could install a puppet regime that will guarantee easy access to
Iraqi oil is the most likely drive behind the weapons inspection excuse. This is why North Korea can get away with
reactivating its nuclear plant as well as indulge in provocative sabre-rattling
without igniting war."
BRAZIL: "China Seeks
Discretion In The North Korean Crisis"
International analyst Jaime Spitzcovsky wrote in liberal Folha
de S. Paulo (1/13): "A crisis
engineered by North Korea would bring as its logical consequence deep
involvement by its main economic and political partner, China. Beijing,
however, wants to maintain a secondary role in the current imbroglio.... The Chinese government believes that if it
joins the nations pressing for an end to North Korean nuclear ambitions,
Pyongyang might experience a sense of isolation and despair, resulting in a
worsening of the impasse.... China is
watching the crisis unfold with apprehension, but deems it more prudent to
maintain a discreet role.... The current
crisis coincides with a transition of power in China.... For Beijing's leaders, the domestic political
agenda and efforts to speed up economic growth are the priorities. China is
aware that although it is Pyongyang's major ally, its capacity to influence
dictator Kim Jong-il is limited."
CANADA: "Who Can Blame
Columnist Thomas Walkom pointed out in the liberal Toronto Star
(1/14): "First, Bush announced that
the U.S. reserved the right to start a war against any country that it thought
might be a threat at some time in the future. He also said that, in such a war,
the U.S. might use nuclear weapons first.
Second, Bush announced that the U.S. would not allow its military
monopoly to be challenged. In effect, he warned that any nation trying to
obtain nuclear weapons in order to forestall a future U.S. attack could be
subject to immediate attack. Third, Bush
set out a list of targets, his so-called axis of evil: Iraq, Iran and North
Korea. Then he announced Iraq would be the first. What was North Korea to
think? What was Iran to think? One may not like either of these regimes, but
their reaction should be perfectly predictable: Go all out to arm themselves
with nuclear weapons while Bush is busy with Iraq. Then and only then might
Washington be dissuaded from launching its next pre-emptive war. So that is
what Iran, quietly and with the help of the Russians, is doing. And that's what
North Korea, far more noisily, is also doing. It is arming itself to stave off
what Bush has all but promised. Any sensible country would do the same."
"Get Saddam Hussein Before He Turns Into Another Kim
Columnist George Jonas noted in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen
(1/13): "If in 1994 the right
strategy was to dispatch more U.S. forces to the Korean peninsula, today the
right strategy is to withdraw the forces already there.... North Korean missile technology can't yet
harm Americans unless the Pentagon places troops as targets next door. With the potential hostages removed, the U.S.
can get on with the business at hand, which is to make sure that Saddam Hussein
is rendered harmless before he, too, develops into a Kim Jong-il. If anyone ever wondered why Saddam needs to
be dealt with right now, before dealing with him exacts a much higher price,
the examples of the two Kims, Senior and Junior, illustrate it
perfectly.... None of this should mean
that the U.S. forgets about North Korea.
There are coalitions to be built in the region. There are nuclear submarines to be dispatched
to the far reaches of the Pacific. The
time may be here for Japan to assume a serious role in its own security. 'Dear Leader' Kim needs to be surrounded by a
ring of fire."
“Eye To Eye”
The conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun opined (1/13): “The one difficulty for Bush is that since
he has named North Korea as one-third of the ‘axis of evil’ in his war on
terror, the others being Iran and Iraq, it raises the issue of why the U.S.
seems bent on reaching diplomatic solutions with North Korea, while invading
Iraq. Actually, the two cases are quite different, but the ideal solution to
both would be the same. That is, that both Saddam and Kim Jong-il abandon their
mad pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (and Saddam quits Iraq) in the face
of serious and unrelenting multinational pressure, either through the UN, or
through broad coalitions of nations acting in concert. That's because war,
while it may at times be necessary, should only be used as a last resort.”
"Kim Vs. Saddam"
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press editorialized (1/9): "North Korea almost certainly has one or
two nuclear weapons now; in a year or two it will have more--and more
sophisticated ones. North Korea today is in a position to use nuclear blackmail
against its neighbors and even the U.S.
Another Korean war would almost certainly go nuclear and cost hundreds
of thousands of lives. That is why Washington must negotiate with Pyongyang. It
is also why the U.S. and its allies must force a regime change in Iraq before
Saddam can achieve the status of Mr. Kim, before Saddam can put together the
weapons of mass destruction that will leave him similarly immune to external
attack and his neighbors vulnerable to his megalomaniacal whims."
"North Korea Leader Crazy Like A Fox"
Columnist Richard Gwyn commented in the liberal Toronto Star
(1/8): "The U.S. won't talk to
North Korea until it stops its nuclear program.
North Korea won't stop its program until the U.S. starts to talk to
it. Enter South Korea.... South Korea is touting a compromise by which
Bush would write a letter to Kim promising no military action while at the same
time North Korea stops reactivating its plutonium supplies and allows
international inspectors to return to the country. Something like this is virtually certain to
happen, although, to save Washington's face, North Korea will first have to
stop its nuclear program and only then, but by pre-arrangement, will come the
reassuring letter.... There is one other
critical difference between Iraq and North Korea. Kim may well be crazy. But he's crazy like a fox. As cult leaders often are."
"Nuclear War Threat Returns"
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press editorialized (1/5): "Even as the U.S. and its allies prepare
for war with Iraq and watch events in Iran, it is the threat from North Korea
that most urgently demands attention.
What to do about it? Every
possible answer to that question poses risks that the world has not faced for
40 years, since the Cuban missile crisis.
This year, however, the question that faces the world is far bigger than
just North Korea. The hope of nuclear
non-proliferation now seems to be fading fast."
CHILE: "Iraq Or North
Top-circulation, popular Santiago-based La Tercera ran an
editorial that declared (1/13): "On
January 10, as the United States awaited Pyongyang's decision about initiating
a round of talks to peacefully resolve the issue of nuclear development, North
Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.... In spite of the Asian government's threats
and the imminent danger North Korea represents, Washington prefers...to direct
its missiles at Baghdad. This is hard to
understand: North Korea may already have nuclear weapons and the missiles to
launch them. Plus, it sells weapons to
Syria and Pakistan, has protected terrorists many times and no one denies the
possibility that it is supplying arms to extremist groups like Al Qaeda. Its leader, Kim Jong Il, has bankrupted the
country and most of his people live in fear and hunger.... But North Korea does not have oil. This, despite the fact that the White House
will not admit it, counts for a lot....
If Hussein is not stopped now, in the near future he could gain the
necessary time and experience to accumulate the weapons of mass destruction
that would enable him to...dominate his neighbors, who have the largest oil
reserves and--ultimately--the world's energy.
This transforms U.S. interests into global interests. If the U.S. stays in Iraq and provides the
material and human resources to rebuild that country and its democratic
process, using oil to help the Iraqi people rather than to build weapons, it
would legitimize war as a means to peace in the Middle East.... The North Korean matter is different. President Bush's government can envision
itself seriously hurt by Pyongyang's considerable destructive capacity, which
includes chemical and biological weapons.
To this, one must add the possibility of a bloody attack on South Korea,
a U.S. ally and one of the principal Asian economies. Much risk for little reward."
Warheads And The North Korean Case"
Professor in Government at the University of the West Indies and
former Cuban diplomat Dr. Ivan Martinez argued in the centrist,
business-oriented Jamaica Observer (1/13): "The recent announcement by the North
Korean government that they would restart the production of nuclear warheads
suddenly added a new dimension to an already complex and perilous international
relations climate.... If a poor country
full of famine and starvation is capable of dedicating large sums of money to
this military enterprise, instead of using it to develop its economic resources
for the well-being of its population, this must come to the attention of the
entire humanity, that we are living in an insane and absurd world.... It is important to underscore that most
countries of the world are very concerned with this situation. Countries like
Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Cuba, Kazakhstan, South Africa and
Ukraine, once regarded as nuclear aspirants have changed their position and
have joined the non-proliferation treaty....
The South Korean president is more inclined to continue talks with the
Communist North without much noise. The United States and the international
community is concerned with these nuclear developments. There are cynical
comments which indicate that maybe the North, impoverished and isolated, once
reunified in the near future with the powerful South--the only good thing that
could bring to the merger would be its nuclear arsenal, thereby making the
Korean peninsula a strong power in that area of the world where they have China
and Japan as their strongest neighbours."
"Tensions On The Korean peninsula"
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government
at the University of the West Indies Dr. John Rapley argued in the moderate,
influential Daily Gleaner (1/9):
"Having named North Korea in his landmark 'axis of evil' speech a
year ago--something he probably now regrets doing--Mr. Bush must now explain
why he is itching for a fight with Saddam Hussein but calling for talks with
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.... That
is because on the face of it, North Korea poses the greater danger. It has an
active nuclear programme and is believed to already possess nuc-lear bombs;
Iraq does not. North Korea has expelled
weapons inspectors; Iraq has invited them in.... Why is the U.S. administration playing down
the Korean threat while sticking to its guns on Iraq? The fact is, Kim Jong Il
has America where he wants it.... U.S.
policy in Korea is made even more difficult by the rising tide of
anti-Americanism in South Korea. Many South Koreans, who support newly-elected
president Roh Moo Hyun, are calling for American troops to leave South Korea.
Many Americans, tired of the Korean commitment, would like to concur. But the
administration fears this would send a bad signal to the region, and possibly
trigger an arms war.... Thus, it ends up
talking softly and accepting the South Korean line, which is to call for
diplomacy and mediation. Meanwhile, the irony of Mr. Bush's call for vigilance
against Iraq is not lost on U.S. allies. And the message--that the best way to
prevent a US invasion is to pose a grave danger--may encourage real or
potential members of the so-called axis of evil to speed up their own weapons
PERU: "The North
Straightforward, flagship El Comercio commented
(1/13): "The pro-war attitude of
North Korea has added a new worry to the international community that we hope
the diplomatic offensive can solve....
As analysts have noted, it creates serious problems in one of the most
complex regions.... This situation is
also interpreted as the result of the 'pull-and-release' (strategy) in the
U.S.-North Korean relationship with regard to nuclear programs. Some people think that Pyongyang might be
pressing the Bush Administration to negotiate the suspension of its nuclear
activities in exchange for U.S. aid....
The truth is that the world cannot step back from...its fight against
the arms race and eradication of conventional and unconventional weapons.
Therefore, it is the world's responsibility to gather around the UN to find a
solution that guarantees international security."