February 28, 2003
DPRK NUCLEAR PROGRAM: CHINA IS NOW A
'SOUGHT-AFTER COALITION PARTNER'
** Chinese, others say
"Powell's visit shows the importance the U.S. attaches to China."
** Some concerned because
new President Roh is an "untested political maverick."
missile test is confirmation that "North Korea will remain as inscrutable
and uncooperative as in the past."
** Many criticize U.S.'
"double standard" in focusing on Iraq, not the DPRK.
Beijing's top priority is to avoid a 'collapsed regime and
chaos'-- Following Secretary
Powell's trip to Asia, most agreed "Washington would like Beijing to exert
more pressure on Pyongyang." The
moderately-conservative Bangkok Post backed China's position that
"gentle persuasion may prove more fruitful" in reducing tensions with
the North. Hong Kong papers concluded
Powell's mission "appears to have achieved little," with the pro-PRC Ta
Kung Pao stating China "did not make any promises." Several papers emphasized how Powell
"particularly wanted to secure China's support" because it is
"already a leading power in Asia."
Some term ROK President Roh an 'untested political
maverick'-- Conservative dailies in
Europe and Asia were disconcerted that Roh's "position is quite different
from President Bush's" regarding the DPRK, with Japan's Sankei
concerned about his "nationalistic inclination and sympathetic stance
towards the North." South Korean
outlets were divided: independent Joongang
Ilbo called for a "single unified strategy" with Washington, but
pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun supported Roh's effort to
"establish an equal and level relationship with the U.S." Some papers were pleasantly surprised when
Roh sent "his strongest message to the North to date" during his
'Provocative' missile test meant to 'send a message'-- Most observers saw Pyongyang's test-firing of a
short-range missile simultaneously with Roh's inauguration as proof it will
keep "trying blackmail to win concessions." Though not as "strategically
alarming" as the 1998 launch of a longer-range rocket, the event still
signaled the North's "aggressiveness and unpredictability." Leftist papers insisted "only dialogue
and reconciliation" can improve the situation and demanded Bush
"resume negotiations" with Pyongyang "before it is too
Don't 'push DPRK nuclear proliferation to one side' while focusing
on Iraq-- Many dailies cited
differing U.S. "behavior towards Baghdad and Pyongyang" to prove an
"American double standard."
India's centrist Hindu noted, "The one factor that starkly
stands out is that Iraq has oil while North Korea does not." Others, including Spain's centrist La
Vanguardia, contended "Pyongyang wants to get its cut" of U.S.
aid because it is "convinced that Washington does not want to open another
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis was based on 48 reports from 17 countries over 22-28 February
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
Charles Lambroschini judged in right-of-center Le Figaro
(2/26): “In spite of George Bush’s
declarations, morality is definitely foreign to Washington’s foreign
policy.... If the U.S. is showing so
much understanding towards one of the pillars of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ Kim
Jong-il, and so little towards the other, Saddam Hussein, it is because their
geo-strategic analysis is guided by healthy caution. First, they fear that North Korea might
possess the bomb...while Baghdad has been deprived of its nuclear
capabilities.… Second, the Americans are aware [that] behind Baghdad there is
nobody, while behind North Korea there is Beijing.... Nothing must upset the status quo of this
buffer zone.... The first reality is
that China does not want nuclear weapons on the peninsula. Hence, Kim Jong-il’s regular threats will
remain empty threats. Meanwhile China
has managed to help North Korea up the ante with Washington by supplying
‘Silkworm’ cruise missiles while simultaneously exercising enough influence to
keep Jong-il from going too far. The
second reality is that China, faithful to the old adage, ‘divide and conquer,’
does not want a unified peninsula....
The U.S. knows that China is the only nation that could, in 40 or 50
years, contest America’s superpower.
Standing on the steps of this future empire, Washington considers it is
wise to handle North Korea with patience.
But with Iraq, why bother?”
“America’s Korean Paradox”
Right-of-center Les Echos opined (2/25): “Washington’s policy towards Pyongyang has
caused some unpleasantness in South Korea. The inauguration of its new
President in the presence of Secretary Powell could well mark the beginning of
a new era between Washington and its longstanding ally.... Roh, in spite of being a staunch defender of
human rights, has asked Washington not to attack North Korea. For him it is a
question of life and death.... He
recently said that North Korea is slowly opening to the West and should not be
treated like a rogue state. His position is quite different from President
Bush’s towards a nation that has nuclear weapons and which could be tempted to
sell them to terrorist groups. A scenario of catastrophic proportions.”
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine observed (2/27): “There are no indications that the United
States is planning to attack North Korea anytime soon. That is why Pyongyang’s urgent message that
the population should prepare for war...is at least premature. It is also revealing about Kim Jong Il’s
character. No matter how much TV the
North Korean leader may watch, a government that does not regularly participate
in international exchange is bound to lose touch with reality.... Kim Jong Il is in the process of talking
himself into war, playing with fire next to the Middle Eastern powder keg.”
“Nothing To Lose”
Right-of-center Neue Ruhr/Rhein-Zeitung of Essen stated in
an editorial (2/27): “The United States
appears to believe that Kim Jong Il, unlike Saddam, is not really interested in
a military showdown…. Washington
believes that Kim is trying blackmail to win concessions for his famished
people. However, things are a bit more
complicated.... The United States will negotiate
with Kim because it knows about North Korea’s nuclear missiles and its
artillery capable of targeting Seoul. It
is a bitter truth that ownership of nuclear missiles brings advantages. The UN could impose sanctions on North Korea,
but they would only work if the economically devastated country had anything to
Stefan Kornelius noted in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (2/26): "On
the day of President Roh Moo Hyun’s inauguration, the dictator from the North
is sending greetings per missile, but it did not reach the provocative level of
the missile fired in 1998. That missile
test was considered a clear demonstration of the strategic significance of
North Korea’s missile technology.... But
once the relaxed attitude toward such tests is gone, the region will be faced
with an arms race that can result in a dangerous instability between the
regional powers and the Russian and Chinese giants. That is why a relaxed attitude is almost the
only strategy that can be applied. North
Korea provokes others, mixes up facts, and raises absurd accusations for one
goal only: to get attention. But it is now mainly up to Washington to show
this attention without creating the impression of being blackmailed. Because the North Korean dictator is
threatening with his nuclear weapons, the blackmail attempt will make an
impression among other harakiri nations--as relaxed one pretends to be.”
"North Korean Provocations"
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/26) had this to
say: “It was a small missile that North
Korea fired into the Japanese Sea but it had considerable consequences. The exchange rates and stock markets in Japan
and South Korea crashed and a shadow was cast on the inauguration of South Korea’s
new President Roh Moo Hyun.... Now
Secretary Powell announced that the United States will again ship food to North
Korea. This is a signal that the Bush
administration does not want to escalate the conflict. At the same time, the global U.S. role
requires the United States to remain tough.
A violent breach of a treaty like North Korea’s must have consequences,
since otherwise international agreements on the control of weapons of mass
destruction are not worth the paper they are written on.”
Sophie Muehlmann argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (2/26): “Again, the
North Korean regime gives a damn about diplomacy. Its most recent missile test only a few hours
before the inauguration of the new South Korean president, is a slap into the
face of the indulgent brother state in the South. Pyongyang again sent a signal of its
aggressiveness and unpredictability....
How long can the international community tolerate the madness of a
country that pushes aside friendly gestures in such a contemptuous way and
arbitrarily increase its demands like threats?... With its test, North Korea has offended the
nation that is the most interested in a rapprochement with the North. This is a threat that must be taken seriously. With this missile Pyongyang warns its
neighbors: Those who are not for us, are
“Mild Warning From The Far East”
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich noted
(2/25): “Beijing is coolly calculating
its options: Blocking U.S. plans is not worth the cost. China will not risk its partnership with the
United States for Iraq; no other country is as important for China’s economy as
the United States. Who knows--maybe the
United States will soon control Iraqi oil, which is one more reason to groom
the relationship.... It is not without
irony that China’s restraint with respect to Iraq is less welcome in another
area. While Secretary of State Powell
praised China’s helpful role in the North Korean nuclear crisis, it is no
secret that Washington would like Beijing to exert more pressure on
Pyongyang.... China will not fulfill
Washington’s wish. It is concerned about
North Korea’s missiles, but it also does not want a collapsed regime and chaos
along its borders.”
“Rival And Partner”
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (2/25): “China’s role
appears to have changed once again, from rival to sought-after coalition
partner.... Washington wants Beijing to
be a stabilizing influence on an unpredictable Pyongyang, whose nuclear
armament it cannot handle by itself. If
China acts accordingly and refrains from opposing U.S. Iraq policy, Beijing’s
credit in Washington will go up significantly.
The Chinese leaders are fully aware of their own value. They will not be ‘bought,’ but will make the
type and degree of their assistance largely dependent on their own interests.”
ITALY: "North Korea,
The False Patience Of The United States"
Gabriel Bertinetto maintained in pro-Democratic Left party (DS) L’Unita’
(2/26): “At a first glance, the way the
Americans are dealing with the Korean crisis is totally inconsistent. They move heaven and earth against Iraq.... But as far as North Korea is concerned, which
expels the inspectors, reactivates nuclear reactors, abandons the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty, and resumes missile tests, the United States declares
that it has no intention of resolving the matter by resorting to weapons.... But the American double standard does not
emerge only from the comparison between its behavior towards Baghdad and
Pyongyang. One can see it also within
Bush’s Korean policy, given that the United States is going as far as denying its
intention of resorting to weapons against Pyongyang only at the end of an
escalation of initiatives that have led relations with Pyongyang on the verge
of war. While Seoul for the last four
years has clearly aimed at playing the card of dialogue (and has achieved
important results that now risk being vanished), the White House, since Bush’s
arrival, has done nothing else but create problems for its South Korean
“For Powell A ‘Yes’ From Tokyo And A ‘No’ From Paris”
Washington correspondent Alberto Pasolini Zanelli wrote in leading
center-right Il Giornale (2/24):
“He is the youngest ‘hawk’ in Washington’s scaring flock, but has
already learned how to fly. In only a
few hours, Secretary Powell ‘presented’ the arguments in favor of the war to
three interlocutors that could not be more diverse among themselves: Japan,
China and Syria. The best results, of
course, were achieved with Tokyo.... The
music was different in Beijing...and the outcome with Syria was even less
successful.... In sum, the road is still
uphill for Washington, even though the U.N. chief inspector, Hans Blix,
intervened once again to give a little support to Washington. While saying that the process of inspections
will take months and that defining a short-term date would not be realistic,
Blix also used tough language against
HUNGARY: “China, The
Laszlo Szentesi Zoldi argued in conservative Hungarian-language Magyar
Nemzet (2/25): “It is probably not
an exaggeration to call Secretary Powell’s visit a crucial strategic visit in Beijing. The political analysts though don’t expect
any breakthrough from Secretary Powell’s visit.
It is already obvious that the Washington ‘hawks’ have not reached their
objective of squeezing out additional specifics from the new Chinese
leader. Beijing’s stance is firm: a
political solution has to be found to the Iraqi crisis. The bilateral American-Chinese talks about
the North-Korean issue have not been successful either. China is already a leading power in
Asia. One reason that China does not stand
out openly against the U.S.’s hegemonic ambitions is that China needs oil. But China will stick to its current stance in
the Iraq issue, even if a crusade is launched against Saddam Hussein for his
oil reserves or for any other reason.”
SPAIN: "North Korean
Centrist La Vanguardia observed (2/26): "The circumstances under which... Roh
Moo Hyun took office yesterday are considerably worse [than that of his
predecessor]...because of the increasingly belligerent attitude of its
uncomfortable, nuclearized and impoverished northern neighbor.... What does North Korea want? It is not a wild leap to suppose that in the
context of the Iraqi crisis, Pyongyang wants to get its cut, convinced that
Washington does not want to open another front at this time. It is North Korea's way of saying 'pay
AUSTRALIA: “More Than One Catch-22 For West When
It Comes To North Korea”
Hugh White, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute,
commented in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald (2/27): “The chances of a
conflict on the Korean Peninsula, though still serious, are not as high as they
seem. And the prospects for a settlement leading to a lasting reduction in
tension in the area may be quite good. But some of the longer-term strategic
implications of these developments could be very serious for Australia and the
region.... Washington must be anxious
about the implications of normalization for the future of the U.S. strategic
footprint in North-East Asia. If tensions with North Korea reduce, Seoul will
expect U.S. military deployments in their country to be cut substantially,
especially in light of growing anti-U.S. sentiment.... America's interests in the long-term strategic
future of the Korean Peninsula are different from those of all the other key
players. They all want normalization, while the US is deeply ambivalent...we
have a lot to loose from a weakened U.S. strategic posture in the Western
Pacific. So this is a real strategic and foreign policy challenge for us.”
"Pyongyang Puts Rocket Under
Foreign affairs writer Geoffrey Barker had this analysis in the
business-oriented Australian Financial Review (2/26): “Whether North Korea fired a short-range
Silkworm missile or a longer-range weapon is beside the point. What matters is that North Korea, at the
height of the Iraq crisis, fired a missile in violation of its self-imposed
moratorium as South Korea prepared to swear in its new President with leading global
figures in Seoul for the ceremony....
Pyongyang's bellicosity is a real and ongoing threat, and raises the
question of whether there is any point in maintaining diplomatic relations with
a country so contemptuous of world opinion and diplomatic norms.... Given the current mood of the U.S., and its
pre-occupation with the Iraq crisis, North Korea may well only entrench U.S.
resistance to bilateral talks, despite appeals from allies like Australia.”
"Korea: Talking with Mr Roh”
An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald stated
(2/25): “The inauguration today of South
Korea's new President, Roh Moo-hyun, brings an untested political maverick to
the tense nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula. Most nervous about Mr
Roh's new administration is the United States.... Mr Roh may have little experience in national
government--only seven months as a minister in the previous administration--and
has never visited the U.S. The label
'maverick,' derived from an American ranchers' term for an animal which has
escaped branding, may also aptly describe his attitude towards Washington. Mr
Roh also faces serious domestic challenges, including a sluggish economy and
official corruption. But, with North Korea's missiles trained on Seoul, Mr Roh,
with his policy of rapprochement, must have an important role to play.”
“Ball In U.S. Court Over DPRK Issue”
Hu Xuan commented in the official
English-language China Daily (2/27):
“Due to the huge gap in military strength between the United States and
the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the attitude of the stronger
side--namely, the United States - plays a decisive role in the current nuclear
issue on the Korean Peninsula. In this
sense, the United States could be regarded as the side that should ‘untie the
bell’ since Washington’s rigid policy towards Pyongyang has helped escalate the
"The DPRK’s Missile Fell Into Japan’s
Liu Jinhong reported in the official Communist Party international
news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (2/26): “Why did the U.S. announce resuming the aid
program immediately after the missile incident?
Some people think that in order to make all efforts to deal with Iraq,
the U.S. has started to adopt a policy of pacification towards the DPRK.”
“Why Does Powell Visit China?”
Yuan Tiecheng declared in official Communist Youth League China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (2/24): "Analysts think that Powell’s visit to
China this time symbolizes a new climax of the China visits by U.S. high level
officials during the recent period.”
CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SARS): "Roh Moo-hyun Has Little Room For
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(2/26): "Up until now, Washington
has not agreed to have a direct dialogue with Pyongyang. Instead, Secretary of State Powell has
suggested a '5 plus 5' (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus
Japan, the DPRK, South Korea, Australia and the European Union) discussion
mechanism to resolve the DPRK crisis after his meetings in Japan. Pyongyang will definitely be vexed and will
continue the nuclear brinkmanship policy.
The day before yesterday, the DPRK shot a missile toward the Sea of
Japan. This is obviously a
carefully-planned diplomatic move. By
choosing to launch a short-range anti-ship cruise missile, it will, on the one
hand, keep from irritating the international community. On the other hand, it can remind its rival
that the DPRK can resume launching missiles at any time, and the range can be
longer than that of the ballistic missile which was sent over Japan in
1998. In the future, if such moves
continue or even escalate, South Korea, stuck in the middle, may face the emergence
of a great power pressing for readjustment of the 'peace and prosperity' policy
toward the North. The authority of Roh
Moo-hyun will be challenged. In fact,
the party now in opposition attempted to do this during the election. The votes it got drew close to the ruling
party. Therefore, how could the new
administration lower its guard?.... The
U.S., Japan and South Korea all say they have to strengthen discussions and to
coordinate their stances on the DPRK crisis.
Everyone, nevertheless, has his own plan. The
U.S. and the DPRK have the initiative.
Roh Moo-hyun does not have much room for maneuver. His tightrope-walking diplomacy really
entails a strenuous effort."
"A Rude Welcome, And A Shaft Of Realism"
The independent English-language South China
Morning Post editorialized (2/26):
"Talk about a rude welcome.
Hours before South Korea's new president, Roh Moo-hyun, was to be sworn
in, North Korea test-fired a missile into the Sea of Japan. Although the weapon was a short-range conventional
missile which no one saw as strategically alarming, the incident was timed to
be as provocative as possible.... In his
presidential campaign, Mr. Roh played down the danger posed by North Korea's
nuclear brinkmanship. Instead, he and
his supporters seemed to blame their country's chief ally, the U.S., for the
crisis rather than the North's incendiary behavior, as most other nations
do. Fortunately, the weight of office
has already rendered Mr. Roh's views more realistic. Before an audience which included the prime
minister of Japan and diplomatic representatives from the U.S., China and
Russia, Mr. Roh delivered his strongest message to the North to date. He said North Korea's nuclear weapons program
poses a grave threat to world peace. And
while he called for a more reciprocal and equitable relationship with the U.S.,
Mr. Roh pledged to work with it to resolve the crisis through dialogue. These are overdue but encouraging statements
from the new president of South Korea.
Now the world will be watching to see how this untested, but bright and
self-assured, leader will tame the North Korean menace. As the latest missile episode demonstrates,
the more clear-eyed Mr. Roh can be about the suspect intentions of the North,
the better served he will be."
"Powell's Three-Country Visit Has Two Objectives"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked in
an editorial (2/25): "On his visits
to Japan, China and South Korea, Powell undertook a very difficult double
duty. On the one hand, he needed to
secure these countries' support for U.S. action against Iraq. On the other hand, he needed to coordinate
with the three countries to defuse the North Korea crisis. Powell particularly wanted to secure China's
support as a permanent member of the Security Council that has maintained
friendly relations with North Korea....
Both before and after the visit, Powell has avoided Pyongyang's request
for direct negotiations with the U.S. by insisting that 'the North Korea issue
should be resolved in cooperation among the U.S., Japan and South Korea,
following the UN and multilateral frameworks to include these countries.' North Korea has strongly objected to a
multilateral approach and, given its doubts about the U.S., will continue to use its policy of
"The New Dimension In Sino-U.S. Relations"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
said in an editorial (2/25): "On
the surface, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's mission to Beijing appears
to have achieved little, for all the usual diplomatic bluster.... However, those who, with jaded eyes, dismiss
the visit because of the lack of visible progress would be missing a valuable
point: China and the U.S. are
increasingly able to talk--regularly and deeply--about a range of issues
without the sticking points which inevitably arise, detracting from the wider
benefits of the enterprise. That can
only be positive and will undoubtedly help foster workable solutions. For whatever reason, we are finally seeing a
relationship which is not only broadening and deepening but possibly maturing
as well. The developing Sino-U.S. ties
may be driven by the changing imperatives of the war on terrorism. Nonetheless, they represent an opportunity
which should not be squandered. Mr. Powell
hinted at this when he said relations with China were moving into a new
dimension. That is not mere
rhetoric. Presidents Jiang and Bush have
been speaking more frequently by telephone, as have Mr. Tang and Mr.
Powell.... Likewise, U.S. Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick was able to make progress during his mission last week, despite
America's trade deficit with China reaching record proportions. Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao could have been
speaking for both capitals when he said:
Both China and the U.S. should treat and handle their relations from a
strategic viewpoint by proceeding from the fundamental interests of the two
countries and the overall interests of safeguarding world peace."
"China Makes Last-ditch Effort For Peace"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao commented (2/25): "As the situations in the two hottest
security issues--Iraq and North Korea--escalate, Secretary Powell made a
special trip to China. Powell's visit
shows the importance the U.S. attaches to China on these two issues, given
China's permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Amid the heated debate over Iraq and the
introduction of North Korea as a topic for discussion by the Security Council,
China--with veto power on the Security Council--plays an important role. Moreover, China's influence over developing
countries and the Non-Aligned Movement should not be underestimated. All of this has prompted the U.S. to pay
special attention to China when dealing with the crises over Iraq and North
Korea.... In Powell's meeting with Jiang
Zemin, Hu Jintao and Tang Jiaxuan, the Chinese side did not make any
promises. China does not approve of U.S.
plans for a new Security Council resolution.
Given the attitude of the Security Council on the present situation in
Iraq, however, China is not expected to wield its veto power as long as the
U.S. resolution does not include language specifically authorizing U.S.
military action. China has made a great
effort to resolve the Iraq crisis peacefully."
Frank Ching wrote in the independent English-language South
China Morning Post (2/25):
"While calling the North's attempt to develop nuclear weapons
intolerable, Mr. Roh insisted that a resolution should come from peaceful
measures such as dialogue and diplomacy, and added: We don't want war or a collapse of the
North. This, in effect, ties the hands
of the U.S. While it is, no doubt,
desirable for the nuclear issue to be resolved peacefully, it may not be wise
to eliminate all sticks from one's arsenal and replace them with carrots. Again, you would expect Mr. Roh to know that
North Korea had, for decades, attempted to weaken the U.S.-South Korea alliance
by driving a wedge between them. Now, it
looks like North Korea has largely succeeded.
And South Korea does not seem to be the least bit concerned. It would not be wise for South Korea to put
all its eggs in the North Korean basket before the North demonstrates that it
has fundamentally changed. And, judging
from its recent behavior, North Korea is still far from being a respectable and
responsible member of the international community.... It is understandable that Mr. Roh wants a
rebalancing of the bilateral relationship with America. So far, the U.S. has shown a willingness to
accommodate him. In the words of the
commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General Leon LaPorte, the U.S. is
willing to develop options for modernizing, strengthening and transforming the
alliance. Mr. Roh must get his
priorities right if he is to lead his country in the next five years."
"A Golden Opportunity Arises For Mr.
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
noted (2/22): "Try as it might, the
U.S. cannot push the issue of North Korean nuclear proliferation to one side so
energies can be devoted to waging war on Iraq.
Pyongyang has cleverly ensured Washington keeps one eye on Northeast
Asia and the other on the Persian Gulf....
Since the start of the crisis, Mr. Bush and his top officials have
stubbornly refused to talk to North Korea, saying that first it must scrap its
nuclear ambitions. The more obstinate
the U.S. has been, the more North Korea has pushed its advantage, expelling
international inspectors, withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
and threatening to restart a reactor....
For the countries on Mr. Powell's schedule, the answer has always been
simple--dialogue. Ignoring this, the
U.S. has spoken of United Nations sanctions and other isolationist moves that
are meaningless to a country that has survived embargoes for half a
century. Regional stability is at
stake. Mr. Powell and other members of
the U.S. government must heed the advice and end the standoff before it
escalates beyond their control."
TAIWAN: "Keeping An
Eye On Beijing"
Pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times
editorialized (2/25): "Beijing is
an important provider of weapons to North Korea and Iraq. It has maintained diplomatic and geopolitical
influence in those countries via arms sales and economic aid. In fact, as China's rise to the status of an
Asian regional power becomes more obvious, it will inevitably become a
strategic competitor of the U.S., both in the region and globally.... Powell should be very clear about the long
and short benefits of any offer from Beijing.
Others in the U.S. should also understand the contention between U.S.
short-term and long-term strategic interests.
The way the U.S. handles North Korea and Iraq issues will mold the
future international order. Even if the
U.S. attack on Iraq and its handling of the North Korea issue may not have a
direct impact on this country, an early response from the government is still
necessary to cope with the strategic changes in Northeast Asia."
"DPRK's Provocations Must Be Contained"
editorial in top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (2/28): "The DPRK has reactivated its
graphite-moderated nuclear reactor in blatant disregard of repeated warnings
from the international community. The threat posed by the North is growing even
greater. Japan cannot allow Pyongyang's
nuclear development that threatens the peace and security of this nation. The
world community must take concerted action to stop the North from developing
nuclear arms. If the North continues to
take provocative actions, sanctions against Pyongyang will become
inevitable. Japan, the U.S. and South
Korea as well as China, Russia and other neighboring nations need to discuss
what kind of coordinated policy to deal with the possible North Korean nuclear
crisis. The U.S. is determined to
consider all possible options, including sanctions. This would run counter to South Korea's
'sunshine' policy toward the North.
South Korean President Roh should take to heart the grave concern harbored
by the U.S. and Japan."
"Risk Of U.S. 'Indifference' To DPRK Brinkmanship"
Liberal Asahi declared (2/28): "Both the U.S. and Japan are trying to
react to North Korea's nuclear reactor reactivation calmly as a
'well-predicted' act of provocation to bring the U.S. to the negotiation table.
To be sure, the reactivation will not lead directly to the development of
nuclear weapons. But it should be taken as another risky attempt by the North
to intensify a reckless game of nuclear brinkmanship. The Bush administration is reluctant to
resume dialogue with the North because of its 'preoccupation' with Iraq. As things stand, the DPRK nuclear standoff is
becoming more critical. We should not
leave this crisis unresolved. Brinkmanship often results in a point of no
return. The U.S. should resume negotiations with the North Koreans before it is
too late. Prime Minister Koizumi should also work on the U.S. to resume
"Nuclear Standoff Becomes More Critical"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai opined (2/28): "The DPRK's resumption of its
experimental graphite-moderated nuclear reactor is extremely regrettable. It is
now time for members of the international community to join hands to suspend
the North's nuclear development. The UNSC needs to take up the issue at an
early date. Russia and China, both of
which have close ties with the North, should also apply pressure on it to
suspend its nuclear ambition. South
Korea's 'sunshine' policy is said to be 'accelerating' the North's nuclear
development. New South Korean President
Roh should take a more resolute stance toward the North."
"Sunshine Policy Will Not Work As Long As
Kim Jong Il Is In Power"
An editorial in the conservative Sankei
observed (2/26): "South Korean
President Roh formally assumed office and met with foreign leaders (including
Secretary of State Powell and Prime Minister Koizumi), as tension prevailed a
day after the DPRK's test-firing of a short-range 'Silkworm' missile into the
Sea of Japan. Roh and Koizumi agreed on
the need to coordinate polices (among the U.S., Japan and South Korea) to deal
with the North's nuclear brinkmanship.
Policy coordination should be strengthened further until the North gives
up on its nuclear programs. We do not
believe the 'sunshine' policy that Mr. Roh took over from former President Kim
Dae Jung will work wonders as long as Kim Jong Il is in power. If Japan tries to act as go-between for the
U.S. and South Korea, Tokyo should have Seoul fall into line with Washington
(along with Tokyo) to send an unwavering strong message to Pyongyang."
"Challenges For Mr. Roh Moo Hyun"
The leftist, English-language Japan Times
editorialized (2/26): "South Korea
continues its impressive transition to genuine democracy this week with the
inauguration of Mr. Roh Moo Hyun as the country's 16th president.... The new
president faces equally formidable international challenges, the first being
relations with North Korea. Mr. Roh has pledged to continue the "sunshine
policy," which endorses engagement with the North, under the new name
"peace and prosperity policy."
He has repeated his belief that only dialogue and reconciliation can
move Korean relations forward. Unfortunately, progress depends on cooperation
from the North and the news that Pyongyang greeted the new president's
inauguration with a missile test is confirmation that North Korea will remain
as inscrutable and uncooperative as in the past. The second key challenge, which is related to
the first, is relations with the United States. U.S-South Korea relations are
at a low point.... Roh wants a more
balanced relationship with Washington, and has pledged not to kowtow to the
U.S. conscience.... It will take
considerably more to calm fears of a widening U.S.-South Korea gap. North Korea
will do its best to exploit any differences in opinion and will certainly take
advantage of the new administration's inexperience. Mr. Roh and his team face a
steep learning curve with little allowance for error. Equally important for the new president will
be forging stronger relations with Korea's neighbors.... The new president will continue the "forward-looking"
relationship with Japan, sought by his predecessor. Similarly, Mr. Roh will
have to work closely with China to help stabilize the Korean Peninsula and try
to exert pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program."
"Powell's Visit Is Also Aimed At Checking
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai declared (2/25): "As the Iraq standoff is reaching an
even more critical stage, Secretary of State Powell is visiting Northeast Asia.
The Secretary's visit to Japan, China and South Korea is apparently aimed at
coordinating policies and getting support for dealing with the Iraq and DPRK
issues. Secretary Powell's attendance at the inauguration on Tuesday of South
Korean President-elect Roh, who was elected in part by anti-US feelings among
South Korea's younger generation, is designed to reaffirm the closeness of the
U.S.-South Korea alliance, while trying to restrain the DPRK from taking
advantage of the Iraq standoff to intensity its nuclear brinkmanship. The Bush administration appears to be
prioritizing the Iraq crisis, while trying to resolve the DPRK's nuclear
standoff peacefully. There is a strong likelihood that North Korea will take
advantage of the U.S.'s preoccupation with Iraq to create a new source of
tension on the Korean Peninsula. The Bush administration is employing a
stick-and-carrot policy to restrain the North's nuclear adventurism. In fact,
President Bush has referred to a military option against the North, if
necessary, while Secretary Powell has hinted at possible food supplies to the
North. Under these present circumstances, the reconfirmation of a close and
strong U.S.-South Korea alliance will be indispensable to making this U.S.
stick-and-carrot policy more effective in dealing with the North."
"Concern Over Roh's Policies Toward DPRK, U.S. And
An editorial in conservative Sankei observed (2/24): "The inauguration of South Korean
President Roh on Tuesday not only marks an end to South Korean gerontocracy but
also indicates a major change in the South's domestic and foreign policies.
Over the DPRK's nuclear brinkmanship, Seoul's foreign policy under the incoming
Roh government has become a matter of great interest and concern in the
international community. Of the South's
relations with other countries, Seoul's ties with Washington are extremely
important. President-elect Roh insists on an equal partnership by, if
necessary, saying 'no' to the U.S. His nationalistic inclination and
sympathetic stance toward the North may draw strong public support, but Mr. Roh
should be aware that the North would mostly likely take advantage of his
continuing "sunshine" policy. Anti-U.S. feelings and calls for the
withdrawal of U.S. troops are emerging in the South on an unprecedented scale.
It is apparent that the North is trying to drive a wedge between South Korea,
the U.S. and Japan. Mr. Roh should not send the wrong message to Kim Jong
INDONESIA: "Even New
South Korean President Differs With U.S"
Leading independent Kompas commented
(2/26): “Since Kim Dae-Jung, the
awareness of brotherhood ties between North and South have grown stronger. As Kim’s successor, Roh also has reiterated
his opposition to imposition of sanctions and definitely ruled out the use of force
against the North on the grounds that if war breaks out with the North, or
North Korea collapses, South Korea will be subject to the most serious
Publisher Max Soliven wrote in his column in the independent Philippine
Star (2/26): "The North Koreans
acted, on cue, to send a message to U. S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who
had arrived in Seoul, South Korea, last Monday to attend the inauguration
yesterday of Mr. Roh Moo Hyun as the new President of the Republic of Korea. Pyongyang fired a missile, which plopped into
the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan--which, of course, attracted
worldwide notice, and provoked the Japanese into a tizzy. Message delivered.... Powell, reports said, was dismayed (but
didn't say so publicly) at the new president's strong opposition to any U.S.
military action against North Korea for any reason. Powell...therefore confirmed that the U.S.
definitely contemplated no attack against the North, but added that the
Americans...would not take a 'military option' in the future off the
SINGAPORE: "Watch The
The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (2/27): "North Korea's test-firing of a
short-range missile on Monday into the Sea of Japan was deflected as
'innocuous' by the visiting United States Secretary of State, who said advance
warning had been given to maritime traffic. Mr. Colin Powell's calm reaction
was of a piece with the tenor of his fact-finding trip to North-east Asia....
In the circumstances, it would be presumptuous of Mr. Powell to so much as give
an impression of laying down the line on North Korea. Not only is the U.S.
still searching for the golden mean to resolve the dispute, but North Asia's
principals are also cautious not to add undue agitation to a fraught
situation.... Being rational is
commendable. But nations south of the Korea-Japan high-tension line are right
to be concerned about what impact persistent North Korean missile shots can
have on martial thinking among Japan's nationalist elite.... The cumulative
psychosis induced by missile shots and Pyongyang's zeal in pushing nuclear
brinkmanship is coming on top of Japan's rapid loss of economic pre-eminence
and a sense of drift among the people. The dangers of this feeding the rise of
a charismatic leadership should not be under-estimated.... In this darkening atmosphere, Japan's ongoing
normalization process with North Korea...is all but frozen again after a dozen
years of fitful attempts. Unless the slide is arrested, and quickly, the
deepening distrust between the two countries would be a nagging worry to most
other Asian nations."
"U.S.-North Korea Dialogue Cannot Be Put Off Any Longer"
Conservative Segye Ilbo opined (2/28): "Despite warnings from the international
community, North Korea has finally reactivated a five-megawatt reactor at its
Yongbyon nuclear complex. We worry about
the possible negative consequences, including sanctions by the UN Security
Council.... The U.S. is to blame for
North Korea's brinkmanship tactics, given its two-faced attitude thus far. The U.S. has shunned dialogue with the North
while vowing to not reward North Korean blackmail and has refused to rule out
military means despite its repeated assertions that it has no intention of
invading the North. Rather than wait for
Pyongyang to raise the ante in its nuclear gamble and then respond with strong
sanctions, the U.S. would do better to immediately engage the North in
"Roh's North Korea And U.S. Policies"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (2/26): "In his inaugural address, President Roh
Moo-hyun stressed transparency with regard to his 'Peace and Prosperity'
approach to North Korea and noted that the North's nuclear development was a
threat to world peace. In addition, he urged
the North to choose between nuclear development and peace, security, and
economic assistance. This is quite a
positive and remarkable development. It
is also appropriate that President Roh pledged development of the ROK-U.S.
alliance. What is important now is that
he put these policies into practice.
President Roh should know that if he deviates from these stated goals,
he will lose the confidence of international society."
"The Need To Achieve National Unity"
The independent Joong-Ang Ilbo argued (2/26): "Mr. Roh's position that North Korea
must not possess nuclear weapons and that the nuclear crisis should be resolved
peacefully might appear contradictory, but there is no other choice for us. In this regard, it is appropriate for Mr. Roh
to express his intent to enhance ROK cooperation with the U.S. and Japan. It is also appropriate for him to vow to
value the 50-year alliance between the U.S. and the ROK and to foster
reciprocity in the alliance. The
differences and discord that surfaced between the two countries after his
election should no longer be left unattended to. A firm U.S.-ROK alliance is the foundation
for the age of peace and prosperity Mr. Roh wants to open."
"Hopes For A Successful 'Peace-Prosperity Policy'"
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun commented (2/26): "The most attention-getting part of
President Roh's inaugural speech was his proclamation of a policy of 'peace and
prosperity' aimed at promoting peace and co-prosperity on the peninsula.... He stressed the need for a peaceful
resolution of the North's nuclear issue, saying that military tensions should
not be heightened in any way. As of now,
it is difficult to judge how effective Mr. Roh's North Korea policy will be in
addressing the nuclear crisis, an inter-Korean issue which has developed into a
global problem. In particular, how Mr.
Roh will coordinate his policy with President Bush's hard-line stance on the
North will be of great interest."
"Will Peace And Prosperity Be Possible Without Change In
The independent Dong-a Ilbo maintained (2/26): "If President Roh is to make his 'Peace
and Prosperity Policy' feasible and gain the support of the majority, he should
satisfy several preconditions. First, it
is urgent to assess and reflect on inter-Korean relations in a cool-headed
manner. Despite its vast achievements in
North Korea policy, including inter-Korean summit talks, the ROKG has been
criticized for being too generous or being dragged along [by the North]. It is important to analyze and correct the
problems in this process.... Most
important is that North Korea be the first to initiate change. The North's nuclear issue has become an
international issue involving the UN Security Council... No matter how remarkable a policy we devise,
we alone cannot bring peace and prosperity to the peninsula."
"U.S. Media's Dispute [Over President Roh]"
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (2/26): "Several U.S. media are expressing
concern over President Roh Moo-hyun on the occasion of his inauguration. They point out that as a relatively unknown
figure, there is much 'uncertainty' associated with him, and that he does not
agree with the Bush administration's hard-line policy on North Korea.... Such disputes and concerns, however, are
based on a U.S.-centric perception that no one should dare oppose Washington's
policy. As long as this kind of thinking
continues, U.S.-ROK relations can develop into a healthy relationship only if
they are based on equality and mutual trust.
The ROK and the U.S. have different national interests and thus cannot
have the same policy and strategy toward North Korea. If there is recognition of this fact, it is
rather natural for the two countries to have divergent views on extreme
measures, such as use of force."
"Roh Moo-hyun Government's Inauguration And Its Tasks"
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (2/25): "If the hard-line stance of President
Bush were to clash with the corresponding response of North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il, the ROK would bear the brunt of it.
This is why the North Korean nuclear standoff must be resolved
peacefully through dialogue. The
significance of President Roh carrying on and improving the 'Sunshine Policy'
of former President Kim Dae-jung and naming it the 'peace and prosperity
policy' can also be understood in this context.
With the U.S.-North feud reaching its climax, now is the most dangerous
moment and the opportune time to establish a firm and permanent peace regime,
if only a solution to the problem can be found. Reestablishment of relations with the
U.S.--in other words, how to wisely establish an equal and level relationship
with the U.S.--is also a task for President Roh. In order for peace to take root on the
peninsula, it is important for the ROK to take the initiative while closely
cooperating not only with the U.S. but also with other countries, including
China, Russia, Japan and the EU."
"How to Resolve North Korea's Nuclear Issue Peacefully"
Kim Kyung-won, professor at Korea University and chairman of the
Institute of Social Science, wrote in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo
(2/24): "Differences in position
between the U.S. and the ROK will make it more difficult to persuade North
Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions....
Accordingly, the ROK and the U.S. should work out a single unified
strategy and, more specifically, should accept each other's proposals, with the
former agreeing to U.S. pressure tactics and the latter embarking on direct
talks with the North.... In particular,
in order to exercise its leverage on Pyongyang, the ROK needs to make clear to
the communist regime that there will be positive and negative incentives
depending on its choices.... Otherwise,
the only way to resolve the nuclear issue is through military means."
THAILAND: “U.S. On Right
Path In Nuclear Standoff”
Top-circulation, moderately-conservative English-language Bangkok
Post editorialized (2/28): “In the
end, the U.S. will have to deal with North Korea. Both sides know this but are still
posturing. Pyongyang demands direct
negotiation and a non-aggression pact with Washington, but the U.S. insists the
North must give up its weapons program first. However, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
is right to involve America’s friends in Asia, and during his visit to Japan,
China and South Korea this week, suggested the formation of an ‘ad-hoc
multilateral’ forum to deal with the North.
Washington and Pyongyang could then talk directly to one another,
without anyone losing face. This is a
positive step from the U.S., and hopefully North Korea will bite. The U.S. should also continue to use North
Korea’s traditional allies-Russia and China-to get through to
Pyongyang.... During his visit to China,
Mr. Powell also discussed with his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, and
Communist party chief Hu Jintao some new ‘ideas’ on how to get the North to
drop its nuclear program.... Mr. Powell
is believed to have asked the Chinese to get North Korea to step away from the
nuclear program. Beijing, however, is
understandably reluctant to use any strong measures such as economic sanctions,
because gentle persuasion may prove more fruitful.”
In East Asia"
The centrist Hindu observed (2/25): "The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin
Powell, has the unenviable task of persuading East Asian allies to take a
coordinated approach towards the goal of ending North Korea's efforts to
acquire a nuclear weapons capability at a time when Washington itself has not
been able to evolve a firm plan for achieving this objective. The reluctance of
the East Asian Governments to commit themselves to a multilateral format is
understandable in a context in which the U.S. administration, a necessary participant
in such talks, is divided over the approach that should be taken. It is also
doubtful whether the U. S. administration has seriously and consistently
applied its mind to the North Korean issue given its preoccupation with the
preparations for a campaign against Iraq.
It is indeed ironic that Washington should be preparing to attack Iraq,
even though Baghdad's capabilities in the weapons of mass destruction field are
unproven, while doing so much less to deal with the nuclear weapon capability
that North Korea has itself declared it has. In comparing Washington's two
antagonists while the two situations are different in many ways, the one factor
that starkly stands out is that Iraq has oil while North Korea does not.... Mr. Powell's East Asian interlocutors must
insist that Washington explore all creative options to achieve the nuclear
non-proliferation goals that are pertinent to their region."
GHANA: “Stop The War”
The avowedly socialist biweekly Insight stated (2/27):
"President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said it all when the challenged the
United States of America to demonstrate its abhorrence of weapons of mass
destruction by first destroying its own chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons.... For us, it is strange that
the country with the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction is
threatening to bomb others whose capacity for war is insignificant. The irony
of the situation is that while the U.S. threatens mayhem on Iraq, Iran and the
Democratic People Republic of Korea, it is busily arming Israel and other rogue
states to do its bidding. Today, there can be no doubt that the United States
of America has become the world’s largest threat to peace and is openly
subverting the social and economic well being of the people of the Third
World.... We strongly object to war on
the Iraqi people because its main purpose is to facilitate U.S. control over
Middle East oil and the world dominationist agenda of the ruling class in North
America. We urge the government and people of Ghana to do whatever is possible
to stop the senseless war.”
BRAZIL: "Change Of
Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (2/27):
"The new South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, is known to be
anti-American, a reputation that, according to analysts, was responsible for
his victory over the conservative candidate [in recent elections]. Many South
Koreans have attributed the deterioration in relations between the two Koreas
to the U.S.... Despite the rising
anti-U.S. sentiment of its population, South Korea cannot afford to cool its
relations with Washington too much....
President Roh Moo-hyun will have to remodel his own image of
anti-American leader without becoming a U.S. vassal." ##