anathema device (a_device) wrote in tyranny_r_us,
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nuclear weapons in north korea

N. Korea Speaks of Nuclear Testing, Denuclearization



Thu August 28, 2003 04:22 PM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea, sending mixed messages, spoke of testing nuclear weapons and pursuing an end to their nuclear weapons program during six-party talks in Beijing, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

But the White House shrugged off Pyongyang's comments as typical inflammatory rhetoric and instead played up the North's growing isolation by lauding cooperation with China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

U.S. officials said the Beijing meetings -- hosted by China, Pyongyang's closest ally -- were having the desired effect by underscoring how out of step the North is with other regional powers.

"The assessment from our team that's on the ground in Beijing is that this is a positive session," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan told reporters.

"We believe there's been excellent cooperation in the talks among the five partners of the United States, including China, Japan, South Korea and Russia," she said.

Asked about reports that the North indicated a determination to test nuclear weapons, she added: "North Korea has a long history of making inflammatory comments that serve to isolate it from the rest of the world."

After four hours of talks on Thursday, the United States and the five other parties expect to meet again on Friday, Deputy State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker said.

He told a news briefing there were no decisions about future meetings.

After months of frantic diplomacy and accelerating North Korean nuclear activity, China arranged the six-party talks this week to defuse a crisis over the isolated communist regime's nuclear program.

The United States says Pyongyang has one or two nuclear weapons and is nearing the capability to produce more.

North Korea, which President Bush has named part of an "axis of evil" with Iraq and Iran, maintains it has a right to a nuclear deterrent to fend off what it regards as American hostility.

U.S. officials told Reuters the North Koreans talked about their willingness to demonstrate their nuclear capability on the margins of the Beijing meeting during an informal conversation with the head of the American delegation, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.

"They certainly are talking about it ... but it was not part of their formal presentation," one official said.

But officials said that during the first two days of meetings, the North also "used words like dismantlement."

"Some of this is really nuanced stuff. We heard both things. This is characteristic of the North Koreans. They are all over the place. Either they do have or don't have nuclear weapons, depending whom you talk to. It's a calculated game of confusing the adversary and giving them mixed messages," one official said.

With the other five parties in agreement on the need for a non-nuclear Korean peninsula, he speculated that Pyongyang was attempting to exert some control and leverage by keeping the five off balance and trying to manipulate the anxiety level.

Another official said the North Koreans "were under pretty rigid instructions and they adopted apriori a certain demeanor that didn't prove to be congruent with the tone of the meeting."

"That kind of firebreathing rhetoric makes them their own worst enemies ... The tone was not encouraging," he added.

In contrast, while Kelly restated Washington's tough position on the need for the North to completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs, officials said he presented the U.S. views in a "reasoned tone" that seemed to go over well with other delegations.

Despite the North Korean behavior, some U.S. officials still thought it might be possible that a statement could emerge on Friday from the meeting, especially if the North Koreans go back to Pyongyang overnight for further instructions.

The good news is that "the talks did not blow up. We came in a businesslike, serious way to try to pursue this issue and that seemed to be recognized by most in the region," one official said.

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I think you should join my community...If you like polls, that is. daily_polls
Agh - Too long so i have to break it up - see below.
I gather LJ aint quite the best medium for a lengthy essay however unresearched and off-the-cuff it is:

Whether North Korea has nukes or not is questionable...
There has never been a nuclear test conducted by them, if they had them then why havent they conducted testing?
However both the North Koreans and the USA stand to benefit from perpetuation the (possible) "myth" that North Korea has nukes.

On the part of the North Koreans it is mostly a dangerous ploy, a high stakes game of political brinksmanship to try and bring the USA to the negotiating table.
Why?
1. Because they (NK) feel threatened by the USA and want to 'compel' the USA to finally sign a non-agression treaty towards them.
2. Because the threat of US aggression towards NK benefits the NK regime in it's own internal power position. "You are hungry fellow citizens? Well that is because we must spend money on weapons to ddefend ourselves from the aggressive evil foreign invader, the USA." Works the same in Cuba, Iran etc etc (mind you cuba is a hell of a lot "better" than NK)
3. Because NK wants to come out from the cold. They see the changes in China and how rich the chinese rulers (& new 'middle class/bourgeoisie') are getting by abandoning what pathetic shreds of socialism are left and selling out to the capitalist west, IMF, Multinational Corps etc etc They want a part of it, and need the US to back off to do so.


On the part of the USA it is mostly a dangerous ploy, a high stakes game of political brinksmanship to try and keep North Korea isolated and under pressure and ensure there is no normalisation of relations with any nation & the international community.
Why?
1. a threatening and dangerous North Korea results in reasons for the USA to maintain a military presence in Souuth Korea and Japan, especially moreso in light of recent rise in opposition within those nations to the ongoing US presence (consider cases of rape & hit+runs & what not by US troops in Japan etc) If N Korea is a threat then the USA has a better excuse to maintain those basis, especially since China is no longer a suitable threat nation.
2. With Russia and China off the enemy list and everyone else with Nukes an ally the USA needs (at least the illusion of) a threatening nuclear armed enemy to justify theirs and the rest of the worlds nuclear arsenal and weapon development. North Korea fits this role nicely so even if NK is lying about having the nukes the USA is happy to perpetuate the lie so as to perpetuate this feeling of threat.
3. a scared constituency is a compliant constituency. Like al qaeda, terrorism, iraq, the reds under the beds of the macarthyist 50's, the "Evil Empire", Martians and what not North Korea is a suitable bogeyman for the USA to keep it's own citizenry happy to hand over inordinate amounts of its economic surpluses and wealth into the pig trough that is the military industrial complex as well as a happy excuse to keep the contry on the post ww2 'war-footing' that it never really came off of. North Korea is a handy ally of the Al Qaeda "Goldstein".
4. The USA assumes that North Korea (as it does with Cuba) that the North Korean regime will collapse under its own corruption and innefficiency. The soviet style centralised economy is fairly untenable and the USA hopes that the same case as what happened to the USSR will happen to NK. It does not want NK to follow the chinese example and normalise/reform/sellout itself because a. it would require 'backdowns' and concessions on behalf of the USA, b. it will leave much the same reqime in power and with many negotiations hence being more even - ie it will be deals rather than outright rape c. it will leave the Korean peninsula divided into two states rather than being able to claim eventual 50 year victory and "unification" & all the symbolism that would go with it etc etc as well as just being able to slot the current South Korean models into it...
4.1 - Why different to China...? China is simply to big a nation and market to sit idly by applying pressure for an internal collapse. - they HAVE nukes and real power, China is a real threat so cant be so effectively bullied. Also large multinational companies want in NOW, not to wait for a few more years for the regime to collapse... otherwise some other company who i willing to negotiate will beat them to the market. A billion+ people... It's too big to chance missing out. China is a behemoth and could well become the most powerful nation on earth one day... (which is partly why the USA will wanna keep it's bases in the region and possibly why it's making a play now for other areas like the mid east, to secure it's resource supplies so that china or someone else doesnt get em) NK is a minnow by comparison, it can be bullied and the US can get away with it, and no companies are so desperate to get a foothold in it. Unlike Iraq it has no oil orr such important reserves...

I have left a lot out and have much more to say but i gotta go....

All in all they are both just jockeying for position.

The North Koreans wanna be part of the world again and are willing to sell out their principles for it, they however need the USA to back down and stop sabre rattling in their direction for it to happen. Once that happens they can then look at reforming their own nation and becoming more like china. ie become a part of the global economy again. There is however Real and Genuine fear that the US will want to not let this happen and will be willing to trigger Korean war Pt II to ensure it doesnt... So they are happy to bluff to prevent it, and try to get the US to back down from its agressive stance and sign a non-agression agrreement. With a non-agression agreement the NK's can then worry less about arms and more about feeding their people (cos a fear of invasion wont keep the populace in line forever)

The USA however wants all or nothing, they dont want to negotiate with the NK's and thus are aiming to confuse the issue and obfuscate for so long that the NK's will run out of time domestically and the society & state will collapse from within. A part of this process is to pretend that this is somehow an international/global issue as opposed to one that really should be a US/NK only issue. The talks involving china, japan and what not is mostly a crock that they even exist simply because the USA just flatly refuses to talk to North Korea in any serious way.
The tricky part is that even tho i think Korea nukes are largley mythical they Do have nuclear technology, the worry is that they WILL develop the nukes in which case things get interesting. We will see a few possible scenarios.

1. the USA will go.. hmm okay and back down and sign a nonaggression treaty because North Korea will be a nuclear power. That'd be nice... especially for the North Korean citizens however it will be insanely bad overall for nuclear proliferation cos we will see every tinpot dictator or third world nation scrabbling like insane chipmunks to develop and hoard as many nukes as possible cos it will be percieved as the only way to prevent US domination -- scenario not too likely but all too possible.

2. the US will consider a rapid strike to take out the threat. ie North Korea will test a nuke (or the US administration will decides it's getting to close to being able to) or something so the US will conduct a series of strikes on Korean Nuclear facilities etc ... Hello Korean war Pt II. Either North Korea will turn with it's tail between its legs and capitulate without doing much in which case this aint the worst scenario despite what could be a bit of a local chernobyl effect from bombing nuclear facilities.... OR, North Korea will sends its not inconsiderable military forces into South Korea, or at very least demolish the South Korean capital of Seoul in retaliation since Seoul happens to be in the Northern part of South Korea... ie within Artillery range of North Korean military units across the border... This could escalate into an all out war or could be constrained to a number of 'short' actions which irraddiates a heaps of North Koreans and kills heaps of city dwelling south koreans...
A key brake on this could be the South Korean govt which may attempt to restrain the US's initial plans for a strike cos they wont take too kindly to the almost certain erasure of their capital city should the North Koreans decide to retaliate to an attack on their nation.
-- Scenario with a number of varing outcomes is all too likely
3. the whole thing peters out into very little and eventually the issue drops off the radar... either as a result of the US deciding to a deal in the hope of stretching things out til an eventual collapse of the NK regime... if collapse doesnt occure the issue might pop up again in 5-10 years time when the USA hasnt fulfilled their half of the bargain just like in the deal that was ararnged a few years ago which expired the same way that brought this whole issue up again now... i mean why fulfil a deal which is really only a delaying tactic in the hope the regime will collapse before you have to cough up the goods. That's what happened last time which is probably why NK is upping the ante a bit this time, they know they got stiffed last time. -- scenario is likely, but far from assured considering the relative recklessness of the Bush regime of now compared to the Clinton regime of teh last deal along with the Koreans desire for more concrete deals due to being stiffed last time.

4. The NK regime collapses into internal turmoil and possible civil war like the USSR did and the threat will be largley averted and we'll get something like in Russia. All in all this could be one of the best case scenario we can expect from the situation... problems with it however are: a. matter of principle... it will mean the US won and that the reckless brinkmanship of the past decades along with deal breaking obstinance will be rewarded thus the scumbags in the state department & pentagon who come up with this silly way of doing things will be ever more brazen and feeling self righteous & justified. b. many North Koreans will probbaly die in the process c. it may never settle down fully and we could see ongoing conflict and terrorism in a worst case scenario, d. the North Koreans really wont be too much better off anyway in the long terms because even though the initial stages could well be awesome and democratic etc the more likely situation is we'll just end up with a repressive dictatorship only it will be one that plays by US rules and the people will just becomme more cheap labour working to the whims of multinational corporations and the IMF... at least they wont be starving or vapourised in a mushroom cloud... but it wont be all that crash hot ... -- scenario likely

5. as above except the US plays a 'hands-off' role and a true independent democratic reforms are allowed to develop in NK and the people are allowed to persue a society of their own making with a certain level of demilitarisation coupled with a large scale US withdrawl from the immediate vicinity so as to appear less threatening to the fledgling democracy .... and everyone lives happily every after... -- scenario, HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA
Anyway - ive ranted too long on this matter even tho there are many more issues, takes, viewpoints, scenarios, things that i wanna say, outcomes, motivations etc etc...
but for the most part that is the general gist of how i see it...
No goodies or baddies, the North Korean regime is as near to evil as you can get, but then so is the Bush administration... The whole issue is more akin to two criminal gangs duking it out in a turf war.... especially when you factor in the threat of NK exporting military goods to other nations... that's the US domain. Cos that's a whole other factor i didnt touch... considering it like the USA is the mafia don selling drugs to a town and North Korea is the upstart petty criminal trying to get a slice of the action... No matter how bad a murdering scumbag the upstart petty criminal is he's probably gunna get his kneecaps broken by the mafi don or go swimming with the fishes in a pair of concrete slippers.




Phew... a bit long eh?
Sorry about that, but once i started typing a reply i took it to notepad and went for a few hours...

hehehe
problem is... i guess we'll never resolve such issue so long as we remain confined to trying to fit all debate into a series of soundytes...
I have to agree.

The first rumblings of NK having nuclear weapons was during our President's "crusade" against the Iraqis, so it was pushed to the back for the most part, except by groups that wanted to use it as an example of the "real threat" we should be concerned about. It wasn't much of an objective news story from either end.

Which truly made me curious about the issue, and why I brought it up. Only in the last week or so has the national media taken note, and it seems to me more like NK trying to use it as a reason to gain attention.

It does seem to me that NK is using it as a ploy, for whatever reason. They've been staying off the radar of the US since the Korean War, more or less, and have now taken this time, a time when the US is going anti-terror trigger-happy, to point out the fact that they are a threat too!

It seems like an incredibly dumb idea, from the first glance, and a military move against NK as a result of nuclear testing seems the most likely outcome in the current administration. I would be very surprised if any such test occurs within the next year.

But the fact that they are being granted audience does show a fear in NK, of falling behind so far from the rest of the world that they fall apart. That they've lasted this long is amazing.

If economic security in the 21st century is what they're going for, I think that North Korea will fail in that. I believe they underestimate the aggression of our "leader", and if he is re-elected by some demonic means, NK could become Iraq pt.2, an act of showmanship to try and make up for the utter failure, in the populace, of that little war of his.