June 29, 2004
DPRK NUCLEAR PROGRAM: U.S. PROPOSAL IS A 'POLICY TURNAROUND'
** The "significant,
detailed overture" to the DPRK is a "U-turn" in American policy.
** Both Pyongyang and
Washington must make "necessary concessions."
** Chinese dailies maintain
"few expectations for sensational results."
** North Korea is
"gambling" that a new U.S. administration will be less
The U.S. 'subtly changed its hard-line policy'-- Euro and Asian observers praised the
"reasonable" proposal advanced by the U.S. as its "first serious
concession" since President Bush took office. The "concrete roadmap toward defusing
the nuclear tension" is a "step backward" from the U.S.'
"previously hard-line stance"; Seoul's independent Joong-Ang Ilbo
held it heightens "expectations for a breakthrough." Singapore's pro-government Straits Times
added that the U.S. "appears more prepared to deal than ever." Chinese papers concluded that its
"suddenly softer attitude" proves that the U.S. is "eager to
make a breakthrough."
The U.S. and the North must show 'sincerity and
flexibility'-- Some Japanese and ROK
dailies blamed Pyongyang and Washington equally for the deadlock, urging the
U.S. to end its "high-handed manner" and castigating the North for
its "nuclear ambitions."
Liberal papers such as Tokyo's Asahi said the "U.S. holds
the key to defusing nuclear tension"; China Daily added it is
"unfair for the U.S. to unilaterally blame the DPRK." Rightist papers blasted the DPRK's
"straight-out nuclear blackmail."
Seoul's Dong-A Ilbo judged the "key lies in North Korea's
hands" and Japan's Sankei sought "concerted pressure" on
'Prospects are not bright'--
and leftist outlets warned against "high expectations" for a quick
solution, instead forecasting a "long and difficult process." Macau Daily News judged it
"unrealistic" that the issue "can be settled within a short
period"; South Korea's Hankyoreh Shinmun agreed that the talks'
outcome was "very disappointing."
But official Chinese papers were careful to stress China's roles as
"host country and major mediator" and its "active
contributions" to the negotiations.
China Youth Daily noted that "promoting the Six-Party
Talks" was an "important and meaningful achievement for China."
'A Democratic President may be more
conciliatory'-- Global editorialists
opined that the North is "hoping that the Democrats take power and change
Bush's tough policy"; Seoul's conservative Chosun Ilbo agreed that
Pyongyang is "waiting for a change of government in the U.S." Other papers instead saw "electoral
cynicism" in Washington. The U.S.
demands are "directed more to the...election campaign than to a
breakthrough at the negotiating table" according to Germany's center-right
Theuringer Allgemeine. These
writers concluded the U.S. hopes the talks with the North "will have
positive impacts" on the election.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
46 reports from 10 countries over 17 - 29 June 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
CHINA: "Three Rounds
Of Six-Party Talks Have Concluded; Way Forward Found On DPRK Nuclear
Zhou Ning commented in official Communist
Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(6/28): "The way the Six-Party
Talks developed is itself one of the reasons that the talks could reach a
certain fruition. The first round was
direct confrontation; the second round started to touch on substantial
issues. During the third round, the two
sides were clear about the opposite’s cards and it became necessary to offer
specific plans and compromises.... Some
people pointed out that the more frequent diplomatic contacts made the DPRK and
the U.S. aware of the fierce desires of the international community. This helped them to make more objective
judgments and decisions.... The plans
that the U.S. and DPRK delivered separately contain a lot of complicated
information, and both require the opposite side’s serious
contemplation.... During the talks, the
Chinese delegation played the roles of host country and major mediator. On the one hand, it ‘reconciled’ the
conflict, sticking to the general direction of peaceful resolution and pushing
different parties to seek common points while reserving differences; on the
other hand, it ‘promoted’ further talks."
"Next Talks Likely To Be Held In
Hu Xiao stated in the official English-language China
Daily (6/28): "It will be a
busy rather than a long summer vacation for the delegates of the six parties
participating in the talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. That's because they have decided to hold
their next round of negotiations by the end of September.... Since the talks first began last year, it is
the first time that the U.S. and DPRK put forth specific plans for solutions to
the issue and clearly expressed their willingness to further study one
another's proposals.... The DPRK
expressed willingness to give up all nuclear weapon-related programmes in a
'transparent' way, and offered specific plans on freezing its programme for the
first time.... Negotiations are a
complicated and difficult process, which requires wisdom, patience and
give-and-take determination.... It is
unfair for the U.S. to unilaterally blame the DPRK.... Despite the differences, an irreversible
process was in motion."
"Third Round Of Six-Party Talks Enters A Deeper Stage,
Conditions Ripe For An Agreement"
Shi Hongtao commented in official Communist Youth League-run China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (6/25): “The U.S.’ hardline stance...caused many
observers to believe that the talks would not be able reach any
achievement.... However, since the U.S.
put forth this new plan, they have changed their views, thinking that the
suddenly softer attitude of the U.S. proves that its previous toughness was
just a U.S. tactic. It also proves that
the Bush Administration is eager to make a breakthrough on the nuclear
issue. Analysts think that the DPRK may
not respond to the new plan quickly.
Then need to report it to a higher level and to study it. However, ultimately the U.S.’ latest position
has broken the standoff and promoted progress at the talks. Different from the previous two rounds of
talks, neither the U.S. nor the DPRK issued stern and tough comments during the
talks and expressed more willingness to listen.
This shows that the two sides prepared well for the talks and that their
positions are growing closer. Some
experts even predicted with optimism that the fog of war above the Korean
Peninsula might start to fall away.”
"New U.S. Plan Can’t Bridge U.S.-DPRK Divide"
Shi Hongtao observed in official Communist Youth
League-run China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (6/24): “If the new U.S. plan really shows that the
U.S. wants to change its tough stance and make efforts to promote the course of
the dialogue, then this would be good news for the talks. However, analysts do not hold high
expectations about the U.S. new plan. The U.S. request that the DPRK first scrap its
nuclear plans hasn’t changed, yet the DPRK has asked for a simultaneous and
equitable agreement with the U.S.... The
U.S. offer of increased compensation is not high enough to make the DPRK
discard its nukes first. What the DPRK
needs most is a U.S. security guarantee....
American scholars are dissatisfied with Bush’s DPRK policy.... Although China has been actively intervening
into the U.S.-DPRK nuclear standoff, it already is gradually losing patience because
of the U.S. attitude of not giving any leeway at all.”
"Concessions Necessary For Progress In
Wu Yixue held in the official English-language China
Daily (6/23): “The third round of
six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear impasse opened in Beijing
yesterday. What--if any--progress will
be made during this session remains a big question. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK) and the U.S. are divided on key issues, such as the DPRK security
concerns, whether its nuclear programs should be dismantled or frozen, and the
question of compensation.... Still, the
fact the negotiations have reached a third round signals the willingness and
sincerity of the countries concerned to solve the problem through peaceful
talks rather than resorting to force.
Given the deep-rooted mistrust between DPRK and the U.S., agreeing to
sit for face-to-face talks is undoubtedly encouraging because it indicates they
rule out the use of force to settle their dispute. China has made and will continue to make
active contributions to help solve the issue.... China will participate in the talks with the
aim of establishing steadfast goals, consolidating achievements, actively mediating
and steadily advancing. That means China
will continue to adhere to its consistent position that the Korean Peninsula
should be nuclear-free and the path to this end should be peaceful.... Pyongyang insists on a non-aggression pact
with Washington before announcing its abandonment of the program. Washington
insists the DPRK should first promise to give up its nuclear program before it
can get a kind of security guarantee.
Without concessions from the two sides there will be no progress. Attaining a positive resolution relies on
wisdom and necessary concessions. Hopefully, the negotiators will not let this
opportunity slip away.”
“Why Is China Spending So Much Effort To Promote
The Six-Party Talks”
Xin Benjian contended in official Communist Youth
League-run China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (6/23): “First, promoting the Six-Party Talks will
help to maintain Northeast Asia’s regional security.... The DPRK nuclear crisis presents three
threats: first, escalating a regional arms race; second, causing a ‘nuclear
domino effect’; third, increasing the possibility that the DPRK fires an
accidental shot. Second, promoting the
Six-Party Talks will help China to improve its general border security.... Third, promoting the Six-Party Talks helps
China create the image of a responsible big country.... The smooth commencement of the third round of
Talks is itself an important and meaningful achievement for China. That the talks are continuing proves that the
‘peaceful train’ of the DPRK nuclear issue is plowing ahead.... China’s travails and achievements will be
recorded in history.”
"Progress Expected From Nuclear Talks"
Meng Yan maintained in the official
English-language China Daily (6/23):
“China will stick to its position and try to promote dialogue. China expects all parties, especially the
major parties, to show their sincerity and flexibility and find a reasonable
solution acceptable to all as soon as possible.... The six parties have taken three major steps
so far.... The goal of building a
nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula has been established. The DPRK has explicitly expressed its
willingness to abandon its nuclear programs and proposed freezing nuclear
facilities as the first step.... All
other parties have been committed to solving the reasonable security concerns
of the DPRK.... On the basis of the
first working group meeting last month, the parties have continued exchanging
in-depth views on building a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula and freezing
nuclear facilities, as well as corresponding measures.... The Chinese delegation will participate in
the third round of talks with the unwavering goals of building a
nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula, peacefully solving the issue through
dialogue and firm determination to safeguard the peace and stability of the
peninsula.... China will consolidate the
hard-won consensus among the parties in previous talks, conduct active
mediation and promote progress in a stable way.... The talks have started focusing on
substantial issues and have entered the most difficult stage.”
"The Six-Party Talks Are Getting Deeper And More
Shi Hongtao commented in official Communist
Youth League-run China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao)
(6/22): “Experts think, at the moment,
the three core issues of the DPRK nuclear issue are the principle of DPRK
scrapping nuclear plan, exchanging assistance with freezing its nuclear
development and whether or not DPRK has possessed enriched uranium. People commonly think that, the crux of the
DPRK nuclear issue is, the U.S. insists that it will not discuss issues of
economic assistance unless DPRK complies with CVID principle. However, DPRK intends to ‘partially freeze
its nuclear development,’ it wants to gradually give up nuclear plan till it
totally give it up after it has gained the economic assistance of the U.S. and
its allies. On the divergence of the
U.S. and DPRK, China has called for the mutual compromises with creative
posture from both sides for many times.
The third round of Six-Party Talks will test the attitude and
determination of the U.S. and DPRK.”
"The Third Round Of The Six-Party Talks"
Zhang Xinghui concluded in official Communist Youth League-run China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (6/20): “The U.S. government has worked out three
principles for the third round of the Six-Party Talks: first, the U.S. doesn’t oppose bilateral
talks between the Japan and ROK with the DPRK but it also refused to make any
commitment. Second, it intends to urge
the DPRK to publicize its enriched uranium plans and urge that all of the
DPRK’s nuclear plans should be under IAEA supervision. Third, it won’t change its CVID policy.... It is obvious that it will be difficult to
make any breakthrough at the third round of the Six-Party Talks. The Bush Administration is busy with the
Iraqi power transfer on June 30 and the presidential elections in October. It has no spare time to treat the DPRK
nuclear issue with caution. Meanwhile on
the DPRK side, it is watching the U.S. presidential elections, hoping that the
Democrats take power and change Bush’s tough policy.”
"Six-Party Talks Enter Period Of Mounting Difficulties"
Wen Xian noted in official People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao)
(6/20): “If the previous two rounds of
the Six-Party Talks aimed at building a platform and establishing rules, then
the third round of talks should surely enter the phase of discussing core
issues.... After two rounds of talks,
the two sides’ [the U.S. and DPRK] agreement to take the DPRK’s freezing the
development of its nuclear plans as the first step to finally scrapping its
nuclear plans was actually a key point to solving the nuclear issue. The next issue following the DPRK’s nuclear
freeze is in the specific measures. What
are the measures in political, economic and security terms? All of these practical issues requiring high
operational abilities demand an answer in the third round of talks. Thus the talks have aroused people’s great
interest. But people should not hold
high expectations. Historical rancor,
practical conflict, different security strategies and plus the influence of the
U.S. presidential election all determine that the DPRK nuclear issues is a long
and difficult process with the possibility of several ups and downs. Thus people will have few expectations for
‘sensational results’ but rather more sobriety about the third round of talks.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Six-party Talks Are Making
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(6/25): "With the objective of
removing nuclear weapons in the Korean peninsula, the third round of the
six-party talks has entered the third day.
It seems that this round of talks are progressing smoothly. The atmosphere in the first two days is good,
which is much better than expected....
Due to the low popularity of the Bush administration, one of Bush's
considerations is to gain some marks in the six-party talks. The U.S. may show more flexibility in the
talks to obtain achievements. The U.S.
hopes that the DPRK can give a reply within three to five months. We can see that Bush hopes the talks will
have positive impacts on the November presidential election. However, the Bush administration is busy with
the transfer of the sovereignty in Iraq, and it is unlikely that they will
concentrate on dealing with the DPRK nuclear issue. From this angle, it is unrealistic to expect
that the DPRK nuclear issue can be settled within a short period of time."
"Step Up The Momentum On North Korea
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
asserted (6/22): "If negotiators
feel some pressure going into this week's six-way talks on North Korea's
nuclear weapons program, there is good reason.
The talks are likely to be the last chance to conclude a deal between
now and early next year, while the price of failure is higher than it has been
for the past two rounds of talks. As the
U.S. moves into the last months of campaigning before the presidential poll,
there will soon be little appetite for serious negotiations until a president
is sworn in at the end of January. North
Korea and Kim Jong-il are just as likely to stall, in the hope they will be
face to face with challenger John Kerry when talks resume, rather than hard-nosed
incumbent George W. Bush, who up to now has conceded little and refused to take
part in two-way talks.... But an
agreement that brings inspectors to Yongbyon and other facilities, leaves North
Korea with no nuclear fuel programs, provides economic aid and energy
supplies--and gives Mr. Kim a security guarantee from Russia, Japan, South
Korea, China and the U.S.--would certainly meet the requirements. Such a deal has been suggested by South Korea
and received a nod from the U.S., while the North has issued a proposal of its
own just days before the talks are to start.
There are still significant differences to be bridged-including lack of
agreement on the existence of a uranium program--but there are small signs of
momentum not found in the last two talks.
Failure to take advantage and strike a deal now would mean that
negotiations will go into hiatus until early next year."
Nations Need To Work On Details of North Korean Nuclear Freeze"
Liberal Asahi editorialized (6/27): "We welcome efforts by the six nations
in the deadlocked multilateral talks on North Korea's nuclear standoff. Specific proposals by the U.S. on Pyongyang's
future dismantlement of its nuclear development programs helped produce progress
during the talks. However, serious
challenges lie ahead for the six nations.
They need to work closely and vigorously on details of future procedures
for a North Korean nuclear freeze in order to create a nuclear-free Korean
"Nuclear Development By North Korea Should Not Be
Top-circulation moderate Yomiuri noted (6/27): "The six nations failed to produce
substantial results during their talks in Beijing last week. It is very difficult for members of the
six-party talks to make real progress unless North Korea accepts a complete
dismantlement of its nuclear development programs. The threat to world peace is likely to
increase if the international community overlooks Pyongyang's nuclear and
missile development. The nuclear crisis
on the Korean Peninsula needs to be discussed at the UNSC and the global
community might need to impose economic sanctions on the North if Pyongyang
fails to completely abolish its nuclear ambitions."
"New U.S. Proposal--Is It Really New?"
Liberal Asahi observed (6/25): "A U.S. proposal, made unexpectedly in
the first day's session of six-party talks, might suggest that the Bush
administration has subtly changed its hard-line policy to become more flexible
toward North Korea's nuclear development--to an extent that it would support
energy aid to Pyongyang. A closer look
at the proposal, however, shows that North Korea might consider it a 'tricky'
one because under the proposal, the U.S. itself would not bear financial costs
for the suggested energy assistance and because the proposal does not specify
how the U.S. would end what Pyongyang calls Washington's 'hostile' approach
"U.S. Policy Turnabout Comes Amidst Pressure"
Liberal Asahi observed (6/24): "In the first day of six-party talks on
North Korea's nuclear development, the U.S. proposed a concrete roadmap toward
defusing the nuclear tension on the Korean Peninsula, the first U.S. offer
since the nuclear crisis was rekindled about 20 months ago. The proposal contained the offering of a
'reward' to North Korea, something the U.S. had long refused to extend.... Behind this policy turnaround lie growing
calls by China and South Korea for the U.S. to take a softer approach toward
Pyongyang. President Bush has also faced
criticism at home by Democratic presidential candidate Kerry, who has accused
the administration of ignoring North Korea's push for nuclear development. It is possible that the president decided on
the policy change after judging that without a new proposal, the North Korean
issue might drag on and cast a dark shadow over his reelection bid."
"Details Needed On Nuclear Freeze And Verification"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun editorialized (6/23): "North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has
reportedly told Japanese and Chinese leaders that the denuclearization of the
Korean Peninsula is his ultimate goal and that verification would naturally
occur if his nuclear program is frozen.
If his reported words are genuine, North Korea must make a proposal to
the latest round of six-party talks that specifies a process toward
denuclearization, including the return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty regime,
the timing and scope of a nuclear freeze and how to verify such a
freeze.... North Korea should realize
that it would have much to gain if it takes a concrete step toward nuclear
"It's Time For U.S. To Move"
Liberal Asahi editorialized (6/22): "The U.S. holds the key to defusing
nuclear tension on the Korean peninsula.
President Bush reportedly rejected outright North Korean leader Kim Jong
Il's overtures, relayed by Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi.... We urge the U.S. to offer a roadmap
describing how Washington would respond to Pyongyang's demand for security
assurances and economic aid in return for North Korea's possible conciliatory
steps. The Bush administration's very
failure to do so has caused a stalemate in six-party talks. We wonder if the U.S. feels complacent about
the multinational forum. We must not
forget that such U.S. complacency would give North Korea more time to continue
its nuclear development and further postpone settlement of the nuclear
"Japan Must Achieve Breakthrough"
Conservative Sankei opined (6/22): "The only way to stop North Korea's
nuclear diplomatic maneuvering is to apply concerted pressure on it. If China
and Russia are not enthusiastic about imposing pressure, the U.S. and Japan
must join hands with South Korea to seek concessions from North Korea.... Japan must uphold its policy not to offer any
economic assistance to Pyongyang without a complete dismantling of the North's
"Japan Must Keep Pressure On North
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai declared
(6/17): "The Diet has enacted
another law to empower the government to impose economic sanctions on North
Korea, but Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has markedly eased diplomatic
pressure on the country in a misguided change in stance.... While powerful diplomatic weapons to use
against Pyongyang have been deployed, Koizumi has clearly softened his stance
toward the Kim regime since their summit last month, promising not to resort to
the sanctions provided by the laws as long as the country complies with the
Pyongyang Declaration the two leaders issued at their first meeting in
2002. North Korea's record in the past
two years concerning the commitments made in the bilateral declaration,
however, don't warrant any such reward from Tokyo. It has made no serious efforts toward real
solutions to the issues of its nuclear arms program and past abductions of
Japanese citizens, casting serious doubt on Pyongyang's compliance with the
pledges made in the statement. Koizumi's
softened stance toward Kim's unpredictable regime doesn't make good strategic
sense because the threat of Japan's economic sanctions prodded North Korea into
action in recent months.... The threat
of sanctions worked. Use of pressure is
the sine qua non for negotiations with North Korea, which has a reputation for
diplomatic gamesmanship and breaking promises.
Koizumi made a badly rash move when he told Kim that Japan will not
punish his government as long as he honors their declaration. The document commits Pyongyang to comply with
'all the related international agreements for a comprehensive solution to the
nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula.'
But North Korea's withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
and resumption of its nuclear weapons development clearly constitute violations
of the vow.... When the six-nation talks
concerning North Korea's nuclear ambitions reopen in Beijing later this month,
Tokyo should make it very clear that it is willing to use the sanctions if
"The Door's Not Closed"
The pro-government Straits Times observed
(6/29): "A reliable test of whether
the third round of North Korea talks in Beijing last week made progress or
threw up a mirage is to study Pyongyang's pronouncements after the event, not
what its chief delegate, Mr. Kim Kye Gwan, said.... The U.S. had offered inducements...if the
Koreans would dismantle their nuclear arms program within a period of three
months. It was not an ultimatum, as no mention was made of when the clock would
start running.... The offer was itself a
turnaround in the U.S. position....
Yesterday's response from the North Korean foreign ministry was a
rejection of the three-month timeframe as being 'unscientific and
unrealistic'.... But--a big but--the
rejection had a pro-forma feel to it, and this could be encouraging. The statement made two positive references
which, taken in conjunction with the peremptory rejection, seemed to say the
North had not foreclosed on this option....
On balance this would not qualify as substantive progress, but more of a
truce to fight another day around the table. It is not to be sniffed at as the
stakes involved are so high. It should be noted the North Koreans had in
Beijing countered the U.S. proposal with an offer.... The catch was that the lolly had to come
before the freeze. Would the Americans bite, knowing the high level of
distrust? The two sides are back to the critical issue of sequencing. This is
fundamental to the exercise. The reward formula had been gaining credence in
Washington for some time, although it was only at this third Beijing session
that incentives were placed on the table. Pyongyang should think long and hard
over the offer, as the U.S. appears more prepared to deal than ever. But an
imponderable intrudes if the leadership is gambling on a change of president in
the U.S. Kerry...is on record as saying
the U.S. should have direct talks with the North Koreans besides using the
Beijing forum. Nothing is sweeter to Korean ears, but there are risks working
to this assumption. If Mr. Bush is safely re-elected and his even-handed
Secretary of State Colin Powell asks to go...it is conceivable the U.S. would
revert to a hard line."
SOUTH KOREA: "First
Step Has Been Taken Toward Resolving The North Korean Nuclear Problem"
Independent Dong-a Ilbo declared (6/28): “For now, the most important thing regarding
the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue is the determination and will
of the leaders of U.S. and North Korean to do so. In particular, the key lies in North Korea’s
hands. Now that the North made clear its
intent to continue to negotiate during this latest round of the Six-Party
Talks, it must show a forward-looking attitude in future talks. Only then can a solution to the complicated
nuclear problem be found.... Still we
have a long and tedious way to go before resolving the nuclear problem. However, if the U.S. and North Korea remain
serious about the problem, with the ROK and China serving as active mediators,
the nuclear problem, no matter how complicated it is, will be resolved. This Six-Party meeting showed such a hope,
modest though it was.”
"Negotiations On North Korea’s Nuclear Program Have Finally
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun maintained
(6/28): “Even though this Six-Party
meeting failed to live up to our expectations, it can be generally viewed as
having made progress, especially given the tug-of-war and the wrangling thus
far between the concerned parties. This
favorable development was made possible only with the U.S. dropping its high-handed
stance of demanding unilateral concessions from the North and providing a
detailed proposal to resolve the current nuclear standoff.... Once the concerned parties enter into
substantial negotiations, the issue of North Korea’s HEU nuclear program will
clearly emerge as the biggest problem, with the North denying the existence of
such a program and the U.S. insisting on including the nuclear program in North
Korea’s nuclear programs to be dismantled.
Accordingly, unless the U.S. produces decisive evidence of the North
having such a program, it would be hard to prevent exhaustive disputes during
future talks. It is high time for the
leaders of the U.S. and North Korea to make a political decision on the issue.”
"North Korea Must Disclose the Truth of Its Nuclear
Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (6/28): “Despite the
U.S.’ easing of its hard-line stance toward North Korea during the recent
Six-Party Talks, there was little change in the North’s attitude. More than anything else, the North continued
to deny the existence of its highly enriched uranium (HEU)-based nuclear
program, preventing substantial progress from being made during the talks. …
Accordingly, the most important thing for now is for the North to win international
confidence regarding its nuclear programs by disclosing the actual state of its
nuclear programs--including the HEU program--as it is. If it continues to give the impression of
hiding something, negotiations themselves cannot proceed.... The North must note that removing the
opaqueness of its nuclear programs is the first step toward the resolution of
"Expectations For Landmark Progress in Resolving the North
Korean Nuclear Problem”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (6/28): “Above
all, it is a significant achievement that the concerned parties in the
just-ended third round of the Six-Party Talks agreed on initial measures to
freeze North Korea’s nuclear programs and to compensate the North for such
action. … Of course, the U.S. and North
Korea failed to narrow their differences on the details of the ‘freeze and
compensate’ solution, the verification process and the existence of the North’s
HEU program. However, the fact that both
sides presented their proposals and expressed their willingness to reach a
solution in itself is a big achievement.
In this regard, it is especially noteworthy that the fourth round of the
Six-Party talks has been scheduled for September and that the working group
will convene very soon, because this means that the momentum of the talks will
continue. … We strongly urge the North
to recognize that giving up its nuclear ambitions and joining the international
community is the most effective way to secure its regime; and we urge the U.S.
to show more flexibility during the fourth round of the talks to achieve
epoch-making progress in resolving the North Korean nuclear problem.”
"Hoping For Productive Outcomes During North Korea Nuclear
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (6/25): “It is a positive development that the U.S.,
the party that holds the key to resolving the current nuclear standoff,
presented a substantial proposal on the North Korean nuclear problem after
several months of a tedious tug-of-war....
However, it is too early to predict that the ongoing talks will produce
good results, considering that the North continues to deny the existence of a
highly enriched uranium-based nuclear program, one of the major contentious
issues. It seems difficult for the
concerned parties to find common ground on the issue unless the U.S. presents
decisive evidence of the North having such a nuclear program. Nevertheless, once the U.S. and North Korea
have presented concrete proposals to resolve the current standoff, we truly hope
that the participating countries lead profound and productive discussions on
the problem. We once again stress that
whether or not we find a solution to the current crisis depends solely on the
wills of the U.S. and the North.”
"It Is Kim Jong-il’s Turn To Answer"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo stressed (6/25): “During the ongoing Six-Party Talks in
Beijing, the U.S., backing down from its previous position, expressed its
willingness to aid the North if the communist country promises to dismantle its
nuclear programs. Furthermore, the U.S.
accepted the ROK’s proposal to save North Korea’s face by using the term
‘comprehensive’--instead of the ‘complete, verifiable and irreversible (CVID),’
a term which the North calls inflammatory--in demanding the dismantlement of
the North’s nuclear programs.... Though
it is too early to be optimistic, this development raises our hopes for a
breakthrough in resolving the deadlocked nuclear standoff, depending on the
North’s response.... If North Korea, by
any chance, tries to play for time, waiting for a change of government in the
U.S., it would be of no help to reviving its shattered economy but also further
isolate itself from the international community. We strongly urge North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il to make a swift and clear decision.
Should he miss this opportunity and repeat his brinkmanship diplomacy,
no one could guarantee the consequences of his action.”
"U.S.’s New Proposal On North Korea’s Nuclear Program
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo declared (6/25): “The U.S. has put forth a new proposal that
takes a step backward from its previously hard-line stance, heightening our
expectations for a breakthrough. We
truly hope that this encouraging news precedes a new opportunity to resolve the
North Korean nuclear crisis....
Nevertheless, the question would be whether any real solutions could be
reached, given that there are more than a few issues on which both sides have
found it hard to compromise. The biggest
problem is the deep-rooted mutual distrust between the U.S. and North
Korea. Accordingly, all countries
participating in the Six-Party Talks must pool their wisdom to remove such
mutual distrust.... More than anything
else, the North must not miss this opportunity.
If it chooses to refuse the U.S. overture, the U.S. might become much
more hard-line, a development of which the North is most afraid.”
"A Promising Signal:
Six-Nation Talks Should Produce Concrete Results"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo declared
(6/24): "The third round of
six-nation talks...are proceeding much more smoothly than expected. It is quite
a welcome development, as the previous two rounds ended with little substantive
results with the U.S. and North Korea showing little intentions of compromise.
This time, however, both Pyongyang and Washington have reportedly come up with
considerably concrete proposals concerning nuclear freeze and corresponding
steps. It is especially reassuring that
the U.S. delegation has finally offered the North new incentives to give up its
nuclear weapons, including a provisional guarantee not to invade.... The incentives...would be the first
significant, detailed overture to North Korea since he took office more than
three years ago. Bush made the right move to solve the 20-month nuclear standoff
over Pyongyang's nuclear program.
Equally resilient is North Korea's attitude. The North's envoy said his
country is willing to give up nuclear weapons 'in a transparent way,' if the
U.S. ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang. Earlier this week, the North
agreed to discuss a 'verifiable freeze' of its nuclear program as a step toward
dismantling it. Diplomats said the North would likely reveal the details
concerning the four elements of nuclear freeze--scope, timing, duration and the
method of verification. All these
represent a considerable progress from the previous rounds of the six-party
talks--involving South and North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and
Russia--in which Washington stuck to its CVID formula of complete, verifiable
and irreversible dismantling of North Korean atomic weapons, while Pyongyang
demanded rewards first. At the end of abortive talks, the two sides blamed each
other, rendering the other four parties utterly helpless in mediating them.... This is no time for delaying tactics.
President Bush is obliged to show substantive progress in bringing about peace
on the Korean Peninsula, which has all but been frozen, or deteriorated, since
his inauguration. North Korea also ought to realize if the ongoing talks fail
to attain visible results, the six-nation format itself would be in danger,
driving Washington back to other options, including a military one."
"It is Time For Six-Party Talks To Achieve
Substantial Progress In Resolving The North Korean Nuclear Issue"
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun concluded
(6/23): “Prospects are not bright for
the third round of the Six-Party Talks, given that there are no changes in
sight in the positions of the U.S. and North Korea.... It is very disappointing, and we wonder how
long this kind of tug-of-war between both countries will continue.... We even suspect that they might have no
desire to see progress and be simply pretending to talk in order to pass the
buck. In particular, there is suspicion
that the Bush Administration, bogged down in Iraq, might be playing for time in
the run-up to the presidential election.
If Washington truly wants to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, it
must abandon its high-handed attitude and engage in dialogue in a more
reasonable manner. If it has evidence of the North having a highly enriched
uranium-based nuclear program, it should present the evidence and press the
North to explain the matter.... Now that
all countries participating in the talks know what the others’ position is, it
is high time to achieve substantial progress through concrete negotiations
during the multilateral meeting.”
"Hoping For A Breakthrough During This Six-Party Meeting On
North Korea’s Nuclear Program"
Conservative Segye Ilbo stated (6/23): “Considering the upcoming U.S. presidential
election scheduled for November, there is a high possibility that this round of
the Six-Party Talks might become the last meeting held this year. In this regard, if this meeting fails to
produce any results, it might give further ammunition to those who assert the
uselessness of the Six-Party Talks and deepen global tensions on the nuclear
issue.... North Korea must accurately
read the international community’s firm resolve to not allow a nuclear-armed
North Korea and present plans to dismantle its nuclear programs in a detailed
and clear manner.... The U.S., for its
part, should note that, if it continues to demand unilateral concessions from
the North while insisting on its principle of the complete, verifiable and
irreversible dismantlement of the North’s nuclear programs, no progress will be
made during the talks. Only if the U.S. shows flexibility toward providing the
North with security assurances and economic aid--matters of North Korea’s
primary concern--in return for abandoning its nuclear programs would a solution
to the nuclear problem be found.”
"Hopes For Six-way Talks"
The independent English-language Korea Herald
editorialized (6/23): "The six-way
talks, the third round since they began 10 months ago, allow little
expectations for a breakthrough. Some
try to find hopeful signs of North Korean moderation from the recent
inter-Korean agreements on steps to ease tension on the sensitive West Sea, and
to discontinue psychological warfare activities on either side of the border.
But others warn the soft stance Pyongyang showed in the military officers'
talks earlier this month was aimed at keeping Seoul on its side in its standoff
with Washington on the nuclear issue.
While the U.S. gave no hint about making a concession from its hard line
position of CVID on the North's nuclear program, official North Korean
mouthpieces have blared out their own version of CVID, demanding 'a complete,
verifiable and irrevocable dismantlement' of U.S. hostility toward it. Our estimate is that the North might have
added several more kilograms of plutonium to its nuclear arsenal during the
stalemate that began in October 2002 when the North announced the scrapping of
the 1994 Agreed Framework signed with the U.S.... Some speculate that Pyongyang will propose
signing a peace treaty between South and North Korea and the U.S. Washington's
reaction will certainly be negative if there is no advance, or at least a
simultaneous act of nonproliferation.
North Koreans must believe time is on their side and may try to drag
things a little further until they can declare themselves a nuclear power. But
do they realize that a new nuclear power may collapse under economic
destitution? Knowing things better, is the U.S. simply waiting for the
"implosion" of this rogue state? We hope to receive some answers to
these questions during the Beijing talks."
"The Need To Overcome Talk About Uselessness Of Six-Party
Pro-government Seoul Shinmun contended (6/21): “We pay special attention to the upcoming
Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs because, should the talks
again fail to yield tangible results this time, those asserting the uselessness
of the multilateral talks would gain more influence. Thus, we sincerely urge all participating
countries in the talks to do their best to produce a breakthrough in order to
dispel such worries.... In particular,
the ROKG, capitalizing on the current conciliatory mood with the North and
China’s active mediating efforts, should play an active role in getting
Washington and Pyongyang to be more flexible during the talks.”
"No More Quiet Diplomacy"
The independent English-language Korea Times
declared (6/18): "The government
has once again revealed its inability and insincerity in dealing with the North
Korean defector issue. China has
recently sent seven North Koreans back home, saying...North Korea would not
punish the deportees as they are not political dissidents. Nothing could be further from the
truth.... Frankly speaking, Beijing
deliberately pushed them back to the land of death. More regrettably, China denied a report on
the deportation as recently as early this month, telling South Korea it was not
true. It is hard to know whether Beijing
deceived Seoul on purpose or there was some policy confusion within the Chinese
government. In any case, China's
behavior is undiplomatic and ungentlemanly.
The sudden and unilateral notification of repatriation after persistent
denial indicates Beijing hardly considered Seoul from the standpoint of a
diplomatic partner.... Both governments
should hurry to minimize the impact of the undesirable move. Beijing, which has violated humanitarian
principles, ought to see the repatriates are not persecuted on their return to
North Korea. Seoul for its part needs to
make a strong appeal to the Chinese government and win Beijing's assurance not
to repeat forced repatriation.... The
time has long past for Seoul to come up with a comprehensive approach to North
Korean defectors. It is necessary in
this regard to take the issue to the UNHCR and seek a solution jointly with
related governments, NGOs and international organizations."
"Kim Jong-il's Return Visit"
The independent English-language Korea Herald
editorialized (6/18): "There is no
knowing if a dialogue is under way, whether formally or informally, between
Seoul and Pyongyang to discuss North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's trip to the
South. But there is speculation that the
second round of inter-Korean summit talks may not be a dead promise, nor a
matter of sheer wishful thinking by naive nationalists.... Whether it was due to the chilly mood which
set in with the advent of the Bush administration in Washington, or because the
hermit leader was worried about his safety here, Kim Jong-il kept turning a
deaf ear to repeated invitations from DJ in the Blue House.... The reclusive leader in the North would do
well to...consider seriously making a trip here at an early date. In case he needs counsel from anyone
concerning his hard-fought battle to get out of his dilemma and avoid a tragic
fate for his impoverished state, the answer is none other than Kim Dae-jung: he played a pivotal role in breaking the ice
dividing the two Koreas, providing economic assistance to the North's nearly
bankrupt regime and, more significantly, securing a slot for the South in the
international geopolitical matriculation in the region.... Few would deny that relations between the two
Koreas have made a phenomenal transition since the summit four years ago. The current leader, President Roh Moo-hyun,
won the election on his 'pro-sunshine' platform, though he has yet to prove his
conviction and mettle for furthering cross-border harmony and cooperation. Kim Jong-il may be buoyed by the political
ambiance surrounding the peninsula, most notably the rancorous ties between
Seoul and Washington and the softening attitudes of other participants in the
six-nation dialogue over the North's nuclear disarmament.... The hermit leader in Pyongyang needs to
realize that his path should pass through Seoul--that he will certainly benefit
from first building up confidence with his compatriots in the South. With his reportedly shrewd tactical mind, he
must now take into account the thawing mood in the traditionally hostile
segment of South Korean society, that is, the diehard anti-communists in the
political opposition. With signs from
Washington that it may accept the South Korean proposal for a phased solution
to the nuclear dispute, and the U.S. move to cut back troops here, Kim Jong-il
should find that this is an opportune moment for him to prove in person that he
is no longer a menacing security threat to South Koreans, but a brother in need
of urgent help."
"China Makes Korea The Fool"
Conservative Chosun Ilbo maintained
(6/17): "China sent seven North
Korean defectors back home. China’s
excuse is that the defectors willingly went back to North Korea to see their
families again and that unless the defectors are anti-government, they will not
be severely punished. These North Korean
defectors are the same group of people who came to China seeking for freedom
and to find refuge in Korea. While
making an attempt to cross the Vietnam border in February, they were arrested
by the Chinese police and were sent to the asylum camp. Soon afterwards, those defectors went on a
hunger-strike demanding that they would be release to Korea. If the suffering and the long dangerous road
to freedom they took suddenly changed to going back to North Korea, no doubt
that their stay at the asylum camp was unbearable and merciless. Obviously, the Chinese government is well
aware that the North Korean government would regard the defectors as anti-government
and inflict punishment just for trying to flee to South Korea. Long story short, China has forced those
defectors into the land of death once again.
By this incident, China has torn down the last remaining trust with
Korea in dealing with issues of North Korean defectors. Without a word of notice to Korea, China not
only sent back those defectors but when the news got out, they bailed out of
the situation by lying. The only action
our government took for the past four months was to believe the lies of the
Chinese government and criticize the press.
The Korean government would have nothing to say to the fact that they
have been totally fooled by the Chinese government. This case has clearly proven China could send
the North Korean defectors back to their country whenever China wants to,
giving warning to the Korean government and humanitarian organizations
supporting North Korean defectors. It is
not hard to predict how the Chinese government would handle the rest of the
numerous unknown North Korean defectors if it sent the seven defectors to North
Korea without any hesitation. No longer
can the Korean government leave the fate of the North Korean defectors to the
will of the Chinese government. Starting
right from this moment on, the Korean government must take steps with the
Chinese government, humanitarian organizations, and related international
institutions to organize a policy that would protect the safety and freedom of
North Korean defectors in China."
FRANCE: "North Korea
Sticks To Its Guns"
Jean-Jacques Mevel wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(6/21): “It is quite obvious that both
President Bush and Kim Jong-il have everything to gain in letting their
negotiations drag. The American
president, who is completely taken with how to get out of Iraq and with his
election campaign, seems to have relegated the North Korean issues to a back
burner. As for the North Korean leader,
he is convinced that time is on his side, and that a Democratic president may
be more conciliatory.... But the problem
for the U.S. is that the other four powers are getting edgy: China, Russia, South Korea and Japan are very
close to denouncing President Bush’s electoral cynicism.... More worrisome for Washington, is the fact
that South Korea appears more eager to pacify North Korea than to please its
Peter Sturm held in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(6/26): "Speaking of nuclear tests
means that the North Korean leadership does not believe it is necessary to find
an agreement before the presidential elections in the U.S. That is risky. Do North Koreans believe that they can
negotiate better terms for the renunciation of the nuclear program? There is no guarantee that a Democrat will be
softer on Pyongyang. Why should he? And Bush has not yet lost the election, but
Kim Yong Il believes this. He knows that
Bush cannot turn away from a peaceful solution in the Korean peninsula; there
is no military danger for North Korea.
But it is unclear why North Koreans believe that they will economically
survive till next year."
Center-right Thueringer Allgemeine of Erfurt asserted
(6/25): "It is true that the U.S.
was the one who was the loudest in raising the alarm over North Korea's nuclear
programs. But it was even necessary to
exert pressure on the U.S. to sit at the same table at which Japan, South
Korea, Russia, and China are pressing for a solution. These are primarily the countries that launch
initiatives to stop Pyongyang from escalating the situation by offering shipments
of crude oil and economic assistance. It
is domestically important for the regime to keep the conflict boiling. How else should the North Korean leadership
with its infallibility claim explain the shortage of supplies if not by an
external threat. But food aid or the
promised nine million euros for North Korean hospitals are in the end
indispensable in view of the malnutrition in the country. The U.S. demand to seal the nuclear plant
within three months and even bring it out of the country is directed more to
the U.S. president's election campaign than to a breakthrough at the
Peter Sturm commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(6/24): "North Korea seems to be
willing to give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security
guarantees. That looks like progress,
given Pyongyang's stereotypical statements in past, saying it has the right to
obtain nuclear weapons, but the next talks about mutual concessions will
certainly be difficult. Our experience with
North Korea forbid partial agreements:
The Pyongyang regime would no longer hurry to agree on more concessions
if it only freezes its program in exchange for oil. The gamble with nuclear fire has already paid
off for Pyongyang. We can regret this,
but there was no other exit. We must not
allow repetitions. It is not too late in
"Oil In Exchange For Peace"
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich opined
(6/24): "Washington's first serious
concession in the nuclear crisis since President Bush came into office three
and half years ago is a U-turn in America's North Korea policy. The U.S. government often repeated its
disdain of Clinton's attempts to buy North Korea's nuclear plants with oil
supplies and light-water reactors. From
a moral point of view it sounded convincing that blackmailing must no longer
pay off, but this argument had flaws: It
offered no leeway for progress in the world's largest military crisis.... The policy change is reasonable. It does not make sense just to threaten North
Korea. If the dictator in Pyongyang is
for sale then it is in the world's interest to buy him for the sake of
peace.... For the first time a
foundation was established for a diplomatic solution."
Georg Blume noted in leftist die tageszeitung of Berlin
(6/24): "George Bush has finally
acknowledged what every government in East Asia tried to explain to him for
years: Time is playing for the nuclear
plans of North Korea's dictator Kim Yong Il.
Only active U.S. diplomacy can stop North Korea on its way to become a
nuclear power. To achieve this U.S. President
Bush had to make a U-turn.... All the
best to the American initiative, but we aren't able to help thinking that Kim
is neither a Brezhnev nor Gorbachev, but rather a Stalin. Someone who cleverly negotiates with the
outside world, but mercilessly oppresses his own people. However, the U.S. allowed him the alleged
real possession of nuclear bombs, while it used the assumption that Iraq
possesses bombs as a reason to go to war.
This could soon turn out to be the cardinal mistake in recent world
RUSSIA: "Dead-End For
Coalition Of Willing"
Aleksandr Zhebin wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(6/23): "The 6-way talks on the
North Korean nuclear program have stalled, all through the fault of the chief
antagonists, the United States and the DPRK.
Washington demanding the shutdown of North Korea's nuclear power
industry does not tally with urging the DPRK to get back to the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty.... The U.S.
does not seem to be looking for a compromise.
Vice-President Dick Cheney's words that America, rather than talking to
evil, seeks to defeat, it reflect the neo-conservatives' true attitude toward
the negotiations.... Evidently, the U.S.
is using the talks as a screen behind which to knock together a new coalition
of the willing so that it could change the regime in another country.... Moscow, its initial euphoria over being part
of the process gone, believes that having the current format of the
negotiations institutionalized is the most important, as it opens real
prospects for an agreement. Though Moscow's
position, basically, remains unchanged, the North Koreans, Chinese and even
South Koreans are worried that it might drift toward Washington's. So it would be good for Russia, now that is
working hard for a compromise, to cut down on its incantations on its position
being close with those who is not even planning on compromising."
"Dictators Understand Only Power"
Former Czech President Vaclav Havel stated in mainstream MF
Dnes (6/24): "The leader of
North Korea, Kim Chong-il, keeps blackmailing the world at a time when many
innocent North Koreans are dying of hunger and others are sent to concentration
camps. It is high time that the
democratic world unites in its approach to the North Korean regime. They should make it clear that totalitarian
dictatorships are no party to negotiate with.... Determination, persistence and negotiation
from a position of power are the only things Kim Chong-il and his kind
understand. Let’s hope we don’t need any
horrific evidence to persuade us of this any more."
Social-democratic Dagsavisen commented (6/27): "North Korea attempts straight-out
nuclear blackmail.... But help and
relief should come as a result of demonstrated will to cooperate and respect
for international agreements, not as a result of threats."
CAMEROON: "Caution By
Ibrahim Karche opined in the Yaounde-based government-owned
bilingual Cameroon Tribune (6/24):
"The U.S. is doing its utmost best to put an end to North Korea's
nuclear program. It would be recalled that two previous negotiations, last
August and last February, organized in Beijing did not succeed in calming down
tension between the two countries. The
U.S. hopes that this time will be different.
The U.S. affirms that North Korea is harboring a secret Uranium program,
and requests that they dismantle their whole nuclear arsenal. It is in this
perspective that six countries...are presently negotiating in the Chinese
capital. Since the cold war ended, North
Korea has remained one of the rare countries in Asia that harbors hostilities
towards the U.S.... The U.S. government,
since September 11, has engaged in a world wide fight against terrorism, and is
determined to wipe out all potential threats to world peace. The US government
is afraid that countries like North Korea that withdrew from the 2003
'Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty', could supply 'rascal states'
with the 'fatal weapon'. The international
community is looking forward to a fruitful negotiation when the meeting ends
tomorrow in the Chinese capital."