International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 18, 2003

July 18, 2003





**  The U.S.' "moderate reaction" to DPRK threats reflects either "arrogance" or "caution."


**  Commentators worldwide favor a "peaceful and diplomatic resolution."


**  China is playing an "irreplaceable role" in the "tense situation." 


**  The "new crisis" could "easily slide toward war." 




Skeptics assail the U.S. policy of 'containing and isolating' Pyongyang--  Although some writers praised the U.S.' "calm and relaxed" attitude towards the DPRK, critics alleged Bush sought to "liquidate Kim Jong-il's regime."  While Russia's liberal Novye Izvestia appreciated the U.S.' "quite reasonable and balanced" behavior, Seoul's left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun accused the U.S. of "refusing to talk to North Korea."  Singapore's Straits Times added the U.S. has not offered sufficient "inducement or guarantees."  Japan's moderate Yomiuri warned, "without pressure, dialogue may soon result in deadlock." 


A 'comprehensive deal through negotiations' is the 'most viable way out'--  A "diplomatic initiative" is necessary to end the crisis.  South Korea's government-owned Daehan Maeil proposed:   "The North would...give up its nuclear ambitions and return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the U.S. would...provide security guarantees and economic aid."  China's official Global Times predicted "the international community's mediation" will avert war, while Japanese and South Korean papers urged Pyongyang to accept "multilateral talks."  Seoul's moderate Hankook Ilbo supported a "face-saving compromise that makes it easier for Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear ambitions."       


China's 'proactive and constructive cooperation is essential'--  Beijing is a key player because it holds the "economic lifeline to the poverty-stricken North."  South Korean papers urged China to "play a more active role."  Thai, Japanese and Russian writers called China the "ideal mediator" given its "more conciliatory" approach.  Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post argued that Beijing mainly wanted to avoid "the potential demise of a key buffer state."  Britain's conservative Times contended China's main goal is to prevent "American intervention in Beijing's backyard."


The North's 'threatening rhetoric' is 'too serious to dismiss'--  South Korean papers split regarding Pyongyang's threats.  Progressive papers agreed the "North is bluffing to bring the U.S. to the dialogue table," but independent Joong-Ang Ilbo advised the U.S. not to "diminish the significance of North Korea's statements as bluffing."  Papers can't decide whether Kim Jong-il is a "complete crackpot" suffering "political megalomania" or a "hardened poker player" whose "ghastly regime" doesn't "operate according to normal levels of international rationality."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 62 reports from 18 countries over 1 - 18 July 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "North Korea's Menace Finally Has China's Full Attention"


The conservative Times took this view (7/16):  "Beijing is acting at the increasingly insistent urging not only of the Bush administration, but of Japan and South Korea.  The main impetus, however, comes from China's altered perception of its own national interest.  North Korea is a much sharper thorn in its side than Beijing has cared to admit....  The reluctance to intervene has always courted the risk of American intervention in Beijing’s backyard.  China has always had more leverage than it claimed; by suspending oil shipments for only three days last March, it pushed Pyongyang into negotiations.  The Korea crisis will only be resolved if China continues to exercise good judgment in dealing with its erratic neighbor."


FRANCE:  "Korean Nuclear Roulette"


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (7/16):  “Washington is hard-pressed to interpret North Korea’s latest nuclear activity....  The CIA has not yet been able to determine whether Kim Jong-il is hiding a few trump cards or whether he is telling the truth.  Meanwhile the international community cannot afford to wait....  Everyone is waiting to see whether President Bush will follow the example of his predecessor and sign a nuclear agreement with Pyongyang.  This new crisis is a serious one than can easily slide towards war, as William Perry warned.  And the probability is that Kim Jong-il, who is at the head of a country in ruins, will be tempted to sell nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations and other enemies of the U.S.”


GERMANY:  “China Increases Pressure On North Korea”


Roland Heine wrote in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (7/18):  “Beijing has apparently decided to exert more pressure on Pyongyang to achieve a resumption of negotiations between the parties to the conflict.  For an escalation of the crisis would not remain without consequences for China.  The wave of refugees, which could set in, would be a grave problem; there are already 300,000 North Korean refugees in the northeast of China.  Neither can China wish for a U.S. troop buildup in front of its doorsteps...nor has nuclear power China an interest in that neighbor North Korea also gets itself a nuclear weapons arsenal.  Whether Chinese influence is sufficient to defuse the crisis, is unclear.  China wields an important trump card though: North Korea receives three quarters of its oil and one third of his food imports from China.”




Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine editorialized (7/18):  “Worldwide, machine gun ammunition is usually not regarded as a herald of negotiations.  North Korea is different though.  The incident at the inner-Korean border, therefore, should not be exaggerated.  For elsewhere, it is plainer that there has been movement in the conflict over the North Korean nuclear (weapons) program....  China’s deputy foreign minister is now in Washington.  China’s initiative is a sign that Beijing is worried.  The situation in North Korea is not getting better, which holds risks.  Washington is worried that North Korea could build nuclear weapons in order to use them as a source of foreign exchange revenue and sell them possibly to ‘non-state activists.’  Therefore, Washington, too is interested in a solution.  In the view of the U.S. government, it should be a diplomatic one, for the world power is currently engaged in other parts and to such an extent that it deems a military confrontation in the Far East as inappropriate.”


RUSSIA:  "War May Start In The Fall"


Vasily Golovnin held in reformist Izvestia (7/17):  "In spite of all the appeals for a peaceful settlement of the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program, the US and North Korea are on a collision course. A crushing American strike on the DPRK may be launched within months. Such scary forecasts were made yesterday in Seoul and Washington. For experts the question is not if, but when the clash will occur....  Obviously, the US is not yet ready for a compromise. Indeed, there is a struggle among the people surrounding President Bush between those who want to pacify Pyongyang and the hawks who are sure that as long as Kim Chong Il's regime is in place the source of danger will not be eradicated."


"Pyongyang Challenges Bush"  


Maxim Makarychev stated in official Rossiiskaya Gazeta (7/17):  "After recent North Korean statements the hawks in the Bush administration who come out for a drastic solution of the 'North Korean nuclear problem' are sure to gain greater influence."


"Beijing, Not Moscow" 


Vitaly Portnikov opined in reformist Vremya MN (7/17):  "The U.S. would be extremely reluctant to fight in North Korea. In spite of threatening tones--which become more threatening by the day--Washington is surely aware of this. Americans have their hands full sorting things out in post-war Iraq....  And now the looming prospect of a conflict in the Far East. Americans would like to save face, that is, deal with Kim Chong Il without starting a war. But apparently they cannot achieve that single-handed. They need a predictable ally. China seems to fill the bill....  And it is prepared to tackle the task because it would enable it to gain the position of geopolitical leader in the region, and that with the full consent of the United States. China has not yet shown itself to be a country that the United States can be afraid of in its foreign policy. Though it often speaks out 'against', it usually prefers to abstain when it comes to the vote. In other words, it occupies the position of an ideal mediator. And the new America does not need friends, or rivals, or vassals. It needs predictable mediators, such as Beijing is and Moscow is not, alas."


"I See Nothing, I Hear Nothing" 


Maria Seleznyova wrote in liberal Novye Izvestia (7/15):  "Washington's behavior, quite reasonable and balanced, still causes surprise. The US has traditionally stuck to an aggressive view of Pyongyang and the current calm reaction is not characteristic of the Bush administration. The matter possibly is that now the White House simply has more important things on its mind than the DPRK. The peace settlement process in a dead end, the instability in Iraq--are the main foreign policy priorities of the United States. To seriously get down to North Korea means getting involved in a lengthy and undiplomatic conflict with it. Before the election that is coming, Bush does not need a new war, even if it is only diplomatic."


"U.S. May Upset Balance Of Fear"


Vladimir Skosyrev contended in reformist Vremya MN (7/2):  "Writing off North Korea's threats as rhetoric seems like the wrong policy.   After all, the DPRK is no Iraq and, in the event of a conflict, may cause enormous damage to the South Koreans, if not to the Americans.  They keep hundreds of artillery pieces in tunnels dug in the hills next to the demilitarized zone.  Seoul is within their effective range.  A 'balance of fear' has helped to maintain peace.  But it looks as if the Americans, enjoying overwhelming superiority in firepower, may try to upset it.  The Pentagon has leaked to the press that the United States has developed a new type of tactical nuclear weapon that can destroy targets hidden underground, without letting much radiation into the atmosphere."


"U.S. Looks For Excuse To Punish Kim Jong-Il"


Andrey Ivanov held in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (7/2):  "Russian experts say that you can't create an effective plutonium warhead without testing it.  Just as you can't build a more or less accurate long-range ballistic missile without test-launching it.   A nuclear exploding device is what the North Koreans may have, at most.  But even if they do they don't have a truck big enough to carry it to the border with South Korea.   With all that hubbub over North Korea's nuclear threat, it seems that Washington is just looking for an excuse to liquidate Kim Jong-Il's regime."


"Anything May Happen"


Yevgeniy Verlin noted in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/2):  "The opinion among observers is that the situation in the Korean Peninsula is steadily moving to the point beyond which anything can happen."


AUSTRIA:  “Payday In The Nuclear Conflict”


Markus Bernath observed in liberal Der Standard (7/17):  “The nuclear conflict in the Far East, with its unsaid certainties, has been dragging on for months: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il probably isn’t crazy enough to start a nuclear war, so he’ll be he left to amuse himself a while longer with threats of new nuclear bombs. At the end, the US will give some sort of political guarantee, which will ensure North Korea’s survival in an international community where they really don’t belong anymore. For a while, it was possible to simply ignore the Bush administration’s cold-war rhetoric on the issue. But now, it’s payday. The cards for a solution of the conflict are already on the table, they only need to be reshuffled. US Secretary of State Colin Powell already introduced the idea of “five plus five” negotiations at an earlier point (the five members of the security council, North and South Korea, Japan, the EU and Australia). Within such a framework, there would be room for a North Korean-American special declaration. China could function as a signpost.”


"Kim, The Crackpot, Or Kim, The Bluffer?"


Security affairs writer Burkhard Bischof contended in centrist Die Presse (7/16):  “Either Kim Jong Il is a complete crackpot, a specialist for Russian roulette; someone who suffers from political megalomania and doesn’t care two straws about the fate of the oppressed, starving millions of people in his country.  Or Kim is a hardened political poker player, who raises the stakes at every round in order to get to the jackpot at the end: Millions of dollars or yen, paid to buy his solemn promise--again--to give up his nuclear weapons program....  North Korea’s neighbors, the U.S. and the western intelligence services are still looking for answers to old questions: What does Kim actually want?  And how far has North Korea got with its construction program for nuclear weapons?....  The Americans and the British claimed that Iraq had WMDs that would be ready for use in less than an hour--they occupied the country, and until now they haven’t found anything.  North Korea might already have nuclear weapons ready for action, and the necessary delivery technology as well--however, the Bush administration is holding back with threats and warnings.  Does the U.S. government know more than they are letting on, and is that the reason for their moderate reaction to the alarming reports from North Korea?  Really, President Bush should know by now: Intelligence estimates don’t always have a lot to do with intelligence.”


CROATIA:  "Espionage Fabrication"


Inoslav Besker noted in Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji list (7/18):  "At this moment, sharpening the crisis with North Korea seems inevitable.  It could be the only trick to close ranks of the American public and world conservatives around Bush.  Kim's ghastly regime is, allegedly, extracting fission-material.  It could make bombs out of it, and launch them against America.  Even if by DHL, because it cannot throw them far enough....  It remains to be seen if the U.S. public opinion will get enraged after the Korean threat just like it got enraged at the Iraqi threat of atomic bombs, which later on turned out to be fabrications."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Czech Initiatives In Korea"


Zbynek Petracek observed in intellectual weekly Respekt (7/6-11):  "Fifty years after the end of war in Korea, Prague has ambitions to influence the state of affairs on the peninsula....  Czech Premier Spidla agreed with South Korean Premier to open a Czech Embassy in North Korea.  Why should we want to do that in a country, which is infamous for harboring one of the most abhorrent regimes in the world?....  Such a gesture might bring some advantage to the local and neighboring civilians, who are threatened by the North Korean regime.  And since the country owns nuclear weapons, it is only in our interest to try to establish some form of communication if we cannot pacify the regime by force."


SWEDEN:  "Bombs For Peace Are No Alternative" 


Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (7/17):  "President Bush has, not least in Sweden, received hard criticism for the U.S. policy of seeking unilateral rather than multilateral solutions....  However, North Korea is an example of the weakness of a multilateral approach; the fact that scoundrels do ignore entered agreements whenever it suits them....  When North Korea the other day announced that it soon can add another half a dozen atomic devices to its present arsenal of one or two atomic bombs, the level of the ongoing conflict was dramatically escalated....  The Bush administration has all the time emphasized its willingness to seek a diplomatic solution. However, after Bill Clinton's failed efforts to use carrots it has used the stick. But North Korea has, on the other hand, pushed for a higher price to adhere to already entered agreements....  Negotiations can open the path to a solution, even if such must not include U.S. "security guarantees." Should North Korea decide to say no to negotiations a military solution is, for military and political reasons, no alternative. Instead the U.S. must increase pressure on North Korea by taking action in the UNSC to enforce strict isolation of the outcast state. But should his blackmail policy fail, one cannot rule out that Kim Jong Il choses the bomb; Bush's 64 thousand-dollar question therefore is where to draw the line in his willingness to pay off (the blackmailer)."




AUSTRALIA:  "Confronting Kim Jong-il Is About Security"


Hugh White from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute wrote in the liberal Age (7/16):  “Australia is right to support American plans for international cooperation to intercept exports of WMD.  If it is handled the right way, this idea could help reduce the risk of war with North Korea.  To understand why, we need to recognize that North Korea is not the next target for unilateral pre-emption in George Bush's war on terror, and the 'proliferation security initiative' is not a pretext or a provocation for war.  It is much more an old-fashioned diplomatic ploy in a traditional game of power politics....  The UNSC will need to be involved.  If all these problems can be solved, Australia could well find itself sending ships or aircraft to help enforce the quarantine.  Our stake in the stability of northeast Asia makes that an easy choice.  It's got little to do with John Howard's political alignment with George Bush, and everything to do with Australia's long-term strategic interests.”


"How Far Would Howard Go On North Korea?"


Political correspondent Michelle Grattan opined in the liberal Age (7/16):  “The problem with 'rogue' states is they don't operate according to normal levels of international rationality.  By the start of the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein presumably had got rid of most of his weapons of mass destruction, but couldn't or wouldn't demonstrate this sufficiently to prevent an invasion.  Korea might be bluffing in threatening neighbors.  Then again, it might not.  The American hawks may be bluffing in talk of provocative action such as spy flights closer to North Korean air space.  Then again, they may not.”


“How To Handle North Korea”


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald declared (7/11):  “The 11-nation Proliferation Security Initiative meeting in Brisbane this week represents a broadening--diplomatic and multilateral--of the United States war on terrorism....  An early question is how much, under US leadership, the PSI might be the starting point for new, low-level applications of force, by its members, including Australia....  For all the tough talk of interdiction of North Korean arms shipments, the PSI represents a welcome shift in the US approach to the deepening crisis on the Korean peninsula. The previous US approach of threats and abuse were not going to work in the face of President Kim Jong-il's extreme brinkmanship. The multilateral but firm approach promised by the PSI is worth trying.”


“Bush Has More Crisis Than Is Good For Him”


Peter Hartcher wrote in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (7/11):  “Expect steady U.S. pressure on Iran and North Korea to continue until the end of next year, but no war.  Of course, that presumes that the US can control the crises.  And it means that if Bush is re-elected, the political constraints on more assertive US action could fall away.”


CHINA:  "The U.S. Made A New Plan To Attack The DPRK: Allowing Fighter Planes to Provoke the Opponent, Intending to Exhaust DPRK's Troops"


Ren Yujun and Li Wen commented in official Communist Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/16):  "The international consensus thinks that China is playing an irreplaceable role in the more and more complicated situation on Korean peninsula....  Recently, the DPRK issue became more complicated.  The U.S. and DPRK always adopt tit-for-tat measures against each other.  We should see that all parties concerned hope for a peaceful resolution....  President Bush wants to avoid a tense military confrontation, and hopes to resolve the issue through diplomatic means so that he can earn support for his election.  Thus, on the one hand, the U.S. has put more pressure on DPRK; on the other hand, it has also started to promote the 5-way talks.  The U.S. intends to work on the both fronts to lead the DPRK nuclear issue."


"The U.S. And Japan Want To Make An Issue Of DPRK's Nuclear Reprocessing"


Pei Jun declared in official Communist Youth League-run China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (7/16):  "As for the U.S. mild attitude this time, analysts think the Bush administration has realized that if it stipulates a bottom line the DPRK may bargain about it and pull the U.S. into the frame of bilateral dialogue and propose a guarantee of Kim Jong Il's regime or seek economic assistance. So, the Bush administration did not stipulate a base line, which is different from the Clinton administration's handling of the DPRK nuclear crisis 10 years ago....  Since Bush's final goal is to change the current DPRK regime, until the DPRK exports its nuclear technology to the Middle East and it succeeds in producing low-yield nuclear weapons that can be loaded on a long-range missile warhead that might reach the U.S. homeland, the U.S. may ignore the DPRK's nuclear threats." 


"The U.S.' Plan To Blockade The DPRK Was Frustrated"


Wu Jia held in official, China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/14):  "Analysts think that the U.S.' urgent intention to build up an international blockade alliance to deal with alleged 'rogue countries,' especially its plan to blockade the DPRK, have temporarily failed."


“Subtle Changes Occur to China’s Policy Toward DPRK"


Bao Ying commented in official Xinhua News Agency-run international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (7/11):  “China has sped up its diplomatic pace in the face of the U.S.’ tough stance....  China prevents a tough policy toward DPRK in order to relieve the tense situation....  China’s new policy (of playing the role of mediator in order increase its influence on the international affairs) will play a key role.”


“Why Does The U.S. Insist On Pulling Out Others’ ‘Nuclear Teeth’”


Jia Gan commented in official Communist Youth League-run China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (7/9):  "The U.S. has shifted its concerns about nuclear non-proliferation from Iraq to the DPRK and Iran.  Analysts think that the nuclear non-proliferation mechanism has become a tool of the U.S. to realize its strategic interests....  The U.S. aimed at its own security interests in dealing with the three countries’ nuclear non-proliferation issues; it’s for its own private interests rather than public interest.  As the superpower country that leads international security affairs, the U.S. is using an international multi-lateral treaty as a tool and is weakening the treaty’s solemnity and uniformity and would finally make ‘The Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ decline to the point of being invalid.  Both of the fact that the DPRK withdrew from the treaty and that India criticized the treaty has been adopted as a sort of  ‘double standard’ and [the U.S.] has insisted on crossing the nuclear threshold without being restricted, are the best proof of the statement made above.”


“DPRK Prepares A ‘Merciless Revenge’”


He Jian held in China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/7):  "A representative of the DPRK’s People’s Army stationed at the UN truce village of Banmentian...indicated the U.S. increasing its fighting capability, assembling forces and taking sanctions against the opposite side of truce are virtual ‘actions of war'....  He warned, if the U.S. goes its own way, the DPRK will prepare to quit the truce....  If the U.S. tries to take sanctions against the DPRK and increases its military threats ‘we will immediately take powerful, merciless revenge'....  Analysts think, both the U.S and ROK have a clear assessment of the DPRK’s military strength at present.  Hearing the warning of ‘merciless revenge’ from DPRK People’s Army, Bush administration will not go too far in building a deterrence force against the DPRK.  Otherwise, the U.S. would have to swallow the bad result it made for itself.”


“The U.S. and DPRK Are Sharply Confrontational in Their Attitudes: Peninsula’s Situation Become Tense and Many Countries Speed Up Negotiation”


Ren Yujun and Ding Gang maintained in official Communist Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/7):  "The central news agency of DPRK issued a commentary on July 4, criticizing the U.S. ‘air-dropping’ mini-radios and starting a psychological war, aimed at overthrowing the DPRK from the inside.  The commentary indicated the U.S. psychological war is the prelude to its military action.  However, the ‘U.S. action’ will not work.  It can only enhance the unification between the DPRK army and its people and increase their indignation toward the U.S....  Qi Baoliang (researcher of Modern International Relations Institute of China) thinks that there is great possibility that the U.S. and DPRK will resume talks since firstly the two sides don’t want war; secondly the international community’s mediation will work; and thirdly the U.S. and DPRK have been keeping bilateral contacts.”


"DPRK Warns That It Might Free Itself From The Fetters Of The Truce"


Ji Xinlong and Zhang Jinfang reported in official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun) (7/3):  "A representative of DPRK's People's Army stationed in the U.N. truce village of Panmunjom remarked here on July 1 that the DPRK regards any U.S. action to enhance the military capacity of its troops deployed in ROK, and any actions to blockade or sanction the DPRK as actions violating the truce. If any of these actions appear DPRK would free itself at once from the fetters of the truce....  A senior government official of the ROK expressed on July 2 in Seoul that the New York Times report on the newly discovered DPRK nuclear testing field is not based on facts, and it is just a conjecture....  Another senior official of the ROK also denied the report, stressing that he had no idea about the report and was never informed of this kind of intelligence."


"Disastrous End Of The Nuclear Crisis Between The U.S. And DPRK Might Be Triggered by Unexpected Accidents"


Zhu Xingfu commented in Shanghai-based official Wen Hui Bao (7/1):  "Facing the complicated situation on the Korean Peninsula, experts indicate that what the U.S. worries about the most at present are the unexpected accidents and conflicts triggered by the severely intensified situation whether or not the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons. In that case, Bush will launch a military attack arbitrarily regardless of the stances and feelings of ROK, Japan and China.  The consequence of a war on the Korean Peninsula will be disastrous. So, a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the U.S.-DPRK conflict and crisis, using economic and mediation means to prevent a nuclear arms race and war would abide by the common interests of all North East Asian nations and other nations of the world. Experts indicate that the process will take a long time, and sufficient patience and joint efforts from the countries concerned are required. If the U.S. cornered the DPRK without showing any hope, the crisis would end unpredictably."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "A Strategy Fraught With Risk"


The independent English-language Standard editorialized (7/14):  "The aim [of the Proliferation Security Initiative] eventually is to undertake interdictions and to force North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program in return for aid.  The strategy is fraught with risk as the North Koreans have informed the United Nations that any interception of its ships or attempt at a blockade would be viewed as an act of war, which would result in retaliatory action on South Korea....  The Iraq experience tells us that we should be careful in assessing U.S. policy, particularly when it concerns a state tagged by George W. Bush as part of the so-called 'axis of evil.'  It is clear that North Korea has the means to make nuclear weapons because it has told us so.  What is not clear is how much of a danger to the U.S. and others this represents.  The margin for error is much finer in the North Korean situation than with Iraq.  Given the justifiable suspicion surrounding U.S. policy, it would be a comfort to us all if that nation erred on the side of caution with containment and negotiation, rather than triggering a conflict that we later find is unwarranted." 


"Korean Knot"


Charles Lee remarked in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (7/14):  "In reality, China has not shown the greatest sense of urgency (to diffuse the Korean situation), frustrating hardliners in the U.S., Japan and South Korea.  China joined hands with Russia this month to delay an American initiative at the UN Security Council to denounce North Korea's nuclear program.  And China was conspicuously absent from a meeting of 11 nations this week in Australia to discuss a U.S. proposal to intercept North Korean vessels carrying illegal weapons and drugs on the high seas--to cut off the North's financial lifeline.  The charitable view of China's go-slow approach is that it is all too aware, from its years of dealing with the North, that the in-your-face tactic of the Bush administration is not going to achieve much of anything, any time soon.  But it is also a mistake to assume that China's overarching national interest is to thwart a nuclear-armed North Korea at all costs.  While China certainly would prefer that, it knows the North's nuclear-tipped missiles would all be pointed towards South Korea and Japan.  What China wants to avoid above all else is another U.S.-involved war and the potential demise of a key buffer state on the Korean peninsula, historically a Chinese sphere of influence.  In other words, China will do all it can to prevent U.S. military action against North Korea over its nuclear program, but it will not easily sell out a still important client country in the name of nuclear non-proliferation."


"Hoping For Stability On The Korean Peninsula"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post said in an editorial (7/5):  "This past week's flurry of diplomatic talks in Washington, and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's visit to Beijing early next week, offer the best hope the region has seen in months for ending the North Korean nuclear standoff....  Perhaps it was this week's news that the U.S. claims to have intelligence about North Korean plans to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads capable of being combined with the country's existing missile technology that spurred the renewed activity.... The various states concerned may not be able to agree from the start about how much pressure should be exerted on Kim Jong-il and the North, but they all recognize their common interest in keeping nuclear weapons out of North Asia.  The prospect of a costly and destabilizing nuclear weapons race in the region, as well as a probable refugee crisis stemming from the collapse of a teetering North Korean government, should be frightful enough to keep the negotiators focused on the need to end the standoff."


JAPAN:  "Pressure Necessary To Counter North's Nuclear Provocation"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (7/15):  "A USG source has confirmed that the DPRK recently reprocessed spent nuclear fuel rods. This is the latest proof of the North's nuclear weapons development. The U.S. also has reportedly detected Krypton 85, radioactive gas, in air samples taken near North Korea's nuclear facilities. This finding also shows the North's increased production of weapons-grade plutonium. Under these circumstances, the world community should take steps to deal with a worst-case scenario.  The North needs to abandon its nuclear weapons program in a verifiable and irreversible manner. The first step toward this end is for the North to hold multilateral talks on its nuclear development program with not only the U.S. and China, but also with Japan and South Korea. This is the only way to reach a peaceful solution to the issue....  As soon as the UNSC adopts a U.S.-drafted chairman's statement denouncing the North's nuclear development, the North Koreans should accept a proposal for holding multilateral talks."


"DPRK Must Stop Provocation And Return To Talks"


Liberal Asahi stated (7/13):  "The U.S. has reportedly detected Krypton 85, radioactive gas produced in the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel roads, over the DPRK's Yongbyon nuclear facilities. If the reported finding is true, we cannot help but call the North's move a reckless act that could not only deal the coup de grace to the already moribund 1994 Agreed Framework, but also nullify diplomatic efforts by Japan, South Korea and China to find a peaceful settlement to the North's nuclear problem. Pyongyang must halt its reprocessing of nuclear fuel rods immediately.  While the North's nuclear development is to be severely criticized, the world community also needs to deal with it in a cool-headed manner. The question is whether the world community can avoid becoming provoked by the North's nuclear brinkmanship and determine how to pave the way for Kim Jong Il to abandon his nuclear ambitions peacefully. Beijing has an important role to play in getting Pyongyang to accept multilateral talks. During recent informal North-South Korean ministerial talks held in Seoul, the North Korean side reportedly posed their South Korean side this question: 'If we suspend nuclear development, will the U.S. start talks with us in a serious manner?'  Japan can certainly do more to help the U.S. and DPRK change their mutual distrust into mutual trust." 


"China's Dialogue And Pressure Approach More Conciliatory To DPRK?"


Liberal Asahi editorialized (7/10):  "Chinese President Hu and South Korean President Roh agreed during talks in Beijing to find a peaceful settlement of North Korea's nuclear problem through dialogue....  South Korea seems to be taking a dual approach....  Unlike the 'dialogue and pressure' approach adopted by the leaders of the U.S., Japan and South Korea in May, this 'Hu-Roh' approach appears to be more conciliatory to the North. Despite this, Beijing has already been quietly applying pressure on Pyongyang by temporarily suspending oil supplies to show what was said to be their displeasure with the North's nuclear development.  Now that the U.S. has halted oil shipments to North Korea, any future punitive measure from China, which holds the economic lifeline to the poverty-stricken North, will undoubtedly deal a fatal blow to the Pyongyang leadership. Yet China's 'dialogue and pressure' approach is far more conciliatory than the U.S.-Japan-South Korea position that some critics link to a 'stick and carrot' policy. Members of the world community should do their part to end the North's nuclear ambitions. China should intensify its own approach to bring a halt to the North's nuclear program."   


"KEDO Project Should Be Suspended"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri declared (7/9):  "What measures--aside from applying pressure--are most effective in dealing with the DPRK, a nation that is posing a nuclear threat to the world? Differences of opinion have arisen among the U.S., Japan and South Korea concerning the KEDO project to construct two light-water reactors for North Korea....  The North has declared that it is developing nuclear weapons. Now that the 1994 Agreed Framework has collapsed, it is only logical to suspend the LWR project.  If light-water reactors are built, according to schedule, the North Koreans are likely to put these reactors and their related facilities to military use....  South Korea is distancing itself from the U.S. and Japan, preferring to stick to its appeasement policy, based on former President Kim Dae Jung's 'sunshine policy' toward the North. But the North has repeatedly flouted the Agreed Framework. South Korea should face up to this fact. Nobody would oppose a peaceful solution to the North's nuclear crisis. But without pressure, dialogue may soon result in deadlock. North Korea must suspend its nuclear development program in a verifiable and irreversible manner."


INDONESIA:  “Chinese And South Koran Leaders Again Talk About North Korean Nuclear Crisis”


Leading independent Kompas observed (7/9):  “China, which feels no threat from North Korea’s program, has taken substantial initiatives.  Just last April China held a tripartite meeting with Washington and Pyongyang.  Now China is seeking to hold a second meeting aimed at binding the U.S. to a peaceful solution.   For the U.S.' part, the superpower demanded that the North Korea’s nuclear program ‘be ceased with no resumption and that this should be verified.’  If the demand could be adjusted to the interests of North Korea, this could serve as a foundation for the next steps in efforts to reunite the two Koreas.”


PHILIPPINES:  “Drifting To War”


The editorial in the independent Manila Times read (7/18):  “The warning of Mr. William Perry, former Secretary of Defense, that the United States is ‘drifting toward a war’ with North Korea could not have been given at a worse time.  American soldiers are fighting an organized guerrilla war in Iraq....  The credibility of the CIA has ebbed to a new low....  For these reasons, it would be difficult for the Bush administration to convince the U.S. Congress--and, more important, the American public--to wage another war.  The decision to go to war would be based crucially on information that North Korea now has plutonium bombs. Can the CIA and other intelligence agencies be trusted this time?  The U.S. Defense and State Departments cannot continue characterizing Pyongyang’s bellicose statements as crude attempts at blackmail.  It was the United States that did not live up completely to its part of the 1994 agreement. The light-water reactors that were to have been supplied in 1995 have not materialized. Shipments of grain were intermittent and not in the amounts agreed. But the most important part of the agreement with President Bill Clinton was normalization of economic and political ties. If at all, relations between the two countries have worsened.  North Korea’s demand of bilateral negotiation with the U.S. was brushed aside. Instead a multilateral approach involving South Korea, Japan, China and Russia was proposed. The first, a trilateral meeting in China, was a failure.  The latest American move is a blockade in international waters of North Korean shipping. The purpose is to interdict missiles, weapons and drugs on the grounds that they are threats to U.S. security. Predictably, Pyongyang said it would consider a blockade an act of war.  No doubt in an all-out war the forces of the U.S. and South Korea would win. But the cost would be horrendous....  It’s time for Washington to put together a coherent and realistic policy on North Korea. The improvisation that we read about every day could only hasten the drift to war.  Perhaps it’s time for the United States to talk directly to North Korea. It would be worth it if only to avert a war that nobody wants.”


SINGAPORE:  "Nervy Times Up North" 


The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (7/17):  "There are two inconsistencies in the Bush approach which many critics aside from Mr. Perry feel have contributed to the growing crisis. The first is the differing threat perception vis-a-vis Iraq and North Korea. With Iraq, President George W. Bush insisted Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, despite denials and inspections that turned up nothing. He invaded Iraq primarily on that basis. But North Korea has said variously it already has, is having, or will soon have a nuclear capability. Last week, it informed the Americans it had scraped together weapons-grade plutonium, good for a few bombs. It seems the US does not want to know. It only says it has yet to 'verify' the claim. The disconnect is troubling. Secondly, the US is forcing Pyongyang into talks without offering inducement or guarantees. Pyongyang, for all its bluster, has been consistent: it wants security guarantees, diplomatic recognition and aid. Quite how the Bush people expect to resolve the arms-pre-emption bargaining without quid pro quo is a mystery, unless a military strike is being held in reserve. Mr. Perry had better not be proved correct. But he says 'time is running out and each month, the problem gets more dangerous'."


SOUTH KOREA:  "Kim Must Learn From Saddam’s Mistakes"


Senior Reporter Kim Young-hie observed in the independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (7/16):  “Learning from Saddam Hussein’s mistakes in underestimating the Bush administration’s firm resolve [to deal sternly with threats of weapons of mass destruction,] North Korea must accept China’s advice and come to the table for multilateral talks.  This is because the promise of non-aggression and the renunciation of nuclear ambitions are the objectives, not conditions, for talks.”


"Russia Must Participate In Multilateral Nuclear Talks"


Hong Wan-seok, professor of international politics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, opined in the moderate Hankook Ilbo (7/16):  “Why is the U.S. showing a lackadaisical attitude toward the participation of Russia--a major party with regards to the North Korean nuclear issue--in multilateral nuclear talks?  First, it is because Washington is unhappy with Russia’s opposition to the war in Iraq and, most recently, its opposition to taking the North Korean issue to the UN Security Council.  Second, the U.S. wants to lead multilateral talks to its own advantage.  Russia’s comprehensive approach calling for a simultaneous resolution of the nuclear issue through direct U.S.-DPRK talks is similar to Pyongyang’s position. Therefore, Russia’s participation could undermine the U.S. strategy of containing and isolating the North.  Third, Washington is wary of the expansion of Moscow’s influence on the Korean peninsula....  However, considering that Russia is the only country that can meet the North’s two demands--a security guarantee and economic aid, especially a stable supply of energy--it would be difficult to resolve the nuclear standoff without Russia’s participation.  If the U.S. policy of pressuring the North is truly intended to make the Korean peninsula nuclear-free, Russia’s participation in multilateral talks is not an option but a must.”


"Vicious Cycle Of Nuclear Crisis Must Be Broken”


Koh Yoo-hwan, professor of North Korea Studies at Dongguk University, wrote in the moderate Hankook Ilbo (7/16):  “Washington has been showing signs of attempting to prolong the nuclear crisis by sometimes ignoring and sometimes exaggerating the North’s nuclear capabilities to its advantage.  If a recent report is true that the Pentagon is devising a new war plan--known as ‘Operations Plan 5030’--to bring about collapse of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il regime, it would explain U.S. behavior.  In order to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue at an early date, we should guard against turning the situation into an ‘engineered crisis.’...  Furthermore, the U.S. should not seek the implosion of the North Korean regime but rather propose a face-saving compromise that makes it easier for Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear ambitions.  Otherwise, the nuclear issue will be inevitably prolonged.”


"Don't Delay Mapping Out Response To North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Development"


 Paik Jin-hyun wrote in independent Dong-a Ilbo (7/15):  "The ROK and the U.S. are displaying a surprisingly calm and relaxed attitude toward North Korea's claim to have finished reprocessing its 8,000 spent fuel rods.  This may be because this kind of North Korean threat is nothing new, given the communist state's frequent threatening rhetoric and propaganda....  However, if the current attitude of both countries results from the lack of a common bilateral strategy, it is a substantial cause for concern....  For now, it is not sufficient for the ROK and the U.S. to repeat their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.  It is time for both countries to work out a realistic joint strategy for a peaceful resolution of the issue."


“North Korea Has Completed Fuel Rod Reprocessing”


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo remarked (7/14):  “Although North Korea in the last few months has been moving forward much as it said it would, the U.S. has stuck to the logic that time is against the North and has refused any substantial talks with Pyongyang....  However, the situation has become too serious to dismiss the North’s nuclear threat as mere tactics....  We should not try to diminish the significance of North Korea’s statements as bluffing or brinkmanship but rather take them at face value.  There is nothing as foolish as finding comfort through denial....  Even though the official position of the U.S., ROK and Japan is that that information on the North’s nuclear reprocessing remains undetermined, the ROK must prepare for the worst.  To this end, the ROK needs to enhance information sharing with allies--notably the U.S. and Japan--and to coordinate on the interpretation of information.”


“North Korea’s Claim To Have Finished Reprocessing Fuel Rods Worrisome”


Moderate Hankook Ilbo argued (7/14):  “If North Korea truly completed reprocessing of its spent fuel rods, it would amount to Pyongyang crossing the red line, the tolerance threshold established by the U.S. and the international community for the communist state....  This North Korean move, without a doubt, is designed to bring Washington to the table for one-on-one talks.  We worry that such North Korean brinkmanship may turn the situation into a catastrophe, particularly considering U.S. hardliners’ demands for surgical strikes on the North’s nuclear facilities.”


“Urgent Need For U.S.-North Korea Talks”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (7/14):  “It is unclear whether Pyongyang’s claim to have completed the reprocessing of its 8,000 spent fuel rods is true or not.  Some analysts speculate that the North is bluffing to bring the U.S. to the dialogue table.  However, this North Korean claim will obviously give U.S. hawks fresh ammunition to apply more pressure on the North.  In the aftermath of the three-way nuclear talks in Beijing, we urged Washington and Pyongyang to hold follow-on talks as quickly as possible because we feel the substance of talks is much more important than the format....  While we welcome as a favorable development the two Koreas’ decision during recent ministerial talks to peacefully resolve the nuclear standoff through ‘appropriate talks,’ we once again urge the U.S. and the North to quit escalating the nuclear crisis and to immediately come to the negotiating table.”


“Difference Between ‘Concerned’ Parties And ‘Multilateral’ Parties”


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo held (7/9):  “The leaders of the ROK and China agreed during their summit to work for a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue.  However, the Chinese leader made clear his opposition to the U.S. formula of putting pressure on the North while pursuing multilateral talks on the issue.  In addition, by using the phrase ‘talks among concerned parties’ after the agreement, President Roh left himself open to misunderstanding, despite a quick explanation by presidential foreign policy advisor Ban Ki-moon that Mr. Roh meant multilateral talks and that the Chinese side agreed to such a necessity....  Considering the urgency of finding a solution to the nuclear crisis, it is understandable for the ROK to take the position of not minding the format of talks – whether they are five-way or six-way.  However, flexibility must not bend our position to the point of using words that could be interpreted in multiple ways, making our position unclear to our allies.”


"ROK-China Summit Must Serve To Restart North Korea Nuclear Talks”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun opined (7/9):  “It is noteworthy that Chinese President Hu Jintao told a press conference following the ROK-China summit that Pyongyang’s security fears should be earnestly addressed.  It is even more so, considering that the statement comes at a time when expectations for additional nuclear talks are growing, with Seoul proposing a plan to settle the North Korean nuclear issue in a phased fashion during the latest U.S.-ROK-Japan working-level talks and Washington allegedly preparing its counterproposal.  These remarks by Mr. Hu should be seen as a request that removal of the North’s security concern should be on the agenda for future talks.”


“Rosetta Stone For Resolution Of North Korea’s Nuclear Problem”


Lee Seung-cheol maintained in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (7/9):  "The most fundamental reason why little progress is being made in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue is because the U.S. and North Korea have conflicting positions on the issue, refusing to budge an inch....  In this regard, it would be of great help in resolving the current standoff to divide pending issues into groups and resolve the categorized issues by stages while meeting both sides’ demands simultaneously....  From this perspective, a 10-point plan by a U.S. congressional delegation, which visited the North in May, can be seen as the most realistic and desirable approach to eliciting changes from Pyongyang and peacefully resolving the current crisis on the peninsula....  We really hope that this kind of phased and simultaneous approach will be the key to resolving the nuclear issue, like the Rosetta Stone which was the key to decoding the meaning of hieroglyphics."


“If President Roh’s China Visit Is To Be Successful”


Conservative Chosun Ilbo noted (7/7):  “Considering that China’s proactive and constructive cooperation is essential to peacefully resolving the North Korean nuclear problem, President Roh should use his visit to China today to convince Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, to play a more active role in getting Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programs, and explain that the North’s development of nuclear weapons is also against Chinese national interests….  In addition, considering that ROK diplomacy and security are based on the U.S.-ROK alliance, Mr. Roh needs to exercise caution in order not to make unintended remarks or actions that would make it look like the ROK is prioritizing China over the U.S.”


“ROK-China Summit Should Focus On Finding A Solution To The North Korean Nuclear Issue”


Independent Dong-a Ilbo contended (7/5):  “The North Korean nuclear issue should be resolved based on global cooperation.  In other words, ROK-China collaboration should be made within the framework of U.S.-ROK-Japan cooperation.  In this respect, Mr. Roh needs to make sure that agreements reached during U.S.-ROK and ROK-Japan summits should not be damaged or changed during his summit with Chinese President Hu Jintao.”


“U.S., North Korea Must Meet Irrespective of Dialogue Format”


Government-owned Daehan Maeil editorialized (7/5):  “The U.S. and North Korea should immediately hold follow-up talks irrespective of the format of the talks.  Even though it is important for the two countries to put their cards on the table prior to talks, at the moment it is more important to maintain the momentum of dialogue.  We consider it a favorable development that Pyongyang, which had initially opposed multilateral nuclear talks, proposed to Washington four-way talks--which would include the U.S., China and the two Koreas--through Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi.  It is also notable that President Bush suggested six-way talks including Russia in his recent telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  We urge the ROKG to use the upcoming ROK-China summit and the 11th round of inter-Korean ministerial talks to find a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.”


“ROK May Become Greatest Victim Of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons”


Conservative Chosun Ilbo declared (7/3):  “A recent U.S. media report that North Korea may be developing nuclear warheads small enough to fit atop missiles is ominous....  If this report proves true, the Korean peninsula will be shadowed by the North’s nuclear power, and the North will be in a strategic position from which it could threaten both the U.S. and Japan with its nuclear warheads.  This would no doubt be a disaster for threatened countries, but it could also lead to the collapse of North Korea because superpowers such as the U.S. and Japan would not stand idle and watch the North take aim at their territories....  Even at this critical juncture, however, the ROKG seems to have been sidelined from U.S. and Japanese-led efforts to pressure the North.  Should this trend continue, the ROK would be unable to take the initiative in resolving the North Korean nuclear problem, and in the worst case, would be the greatest victim of a nuclear crisis.” 


“Intention Of U.S. Media in Reporting on North Korean Nuclear Program Suspicious”


Kim Seung-il observed in moderate Hankook Ilbo (7/3):  “Faced with an alarming CIA analysis that North Korea is developing nuclear warheads small enough to put onto missiles, we cannot help but express our doubts about the U.S.’ intention because the information comes at a time when Washington is seeking the UNSC Chairman’s statement denouncing Pyongyang’s nuclear programs while fleshing out its initiative to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction....  Our doubts are not intended to defend the North’s nuclear programs but rather to caution against the processing and distortion of information in order to exaggerate the current nuclear crisis.  The U.S. is under fire for overstating Iraqi threats of weapons of mass destruction to justify its war on Iraq.  We hope that the same thing will not happen again with the North Korean nuclear programs.”


“U.S., North Korea Should Make Simultaneous Concessions to Resolve Nuclear Standoff”


Government-owned Daehan Maeil commented (7/2):  “In order to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, in our opinion, the ROK, the U.S., Japan and North Korea should set their respective plans of action--for instance, the North would declare its intent to give up its nuclear ambitions and return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the U.S. would express its willingness to provide security guarantees and economic aid to the North--and they should implement them simultaneously.  Toward this end, Pyongyang, for starters, must accept five-way nuclear talks, and Washington--if it really intends to resolve the nuclear issue through dialogue--should exercise flexibility.  It is not desirable for the U.S. to seek the UNSC Chairman’s statement denouncing the North’s nuclear programs and to consider halting the light-water reactor project underway in the North.  We strongly urge Washington and Pyongyang to realize the urgency of finding a solution to the nuclear problem and to exert more sincere efforts toward that end.”


“There Is Still Hope”


Park Woo-chung wrote in nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun (7/1):  “The safest and surest way to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue is through negotiations.  However, the Bush Administration is refusing to talk to North Korea arrogantly thinking that the U.S., the world’s sole superpower, cannot make compromises with a ‘rogue state’ like the North.  Should Washington continue to reject talks with Pyongyang, risking the latter’s possessing of large volumes of nuclear weapons, there would be no option but for the ROK, China and Japan to actively mediate between the two countries.  ROK-China cooperation at this juncture is particularly important in resolving the nuclear issue.  As they would be hit hard should the nuclear issue deteriorate into a crisis, the ROK and China are entitled to raise their voices....  Pyongyang is eager to strike a comprehensive deal through negotiations....  According to a U.S. congressional delegation, which recently visited the North, Pyongyang responded positively to the delegation’s 10-point package deal that includes a demand that the North first give up its nuclear programs....  The ROK and China must take the lead in brokering a compromise between the U.S. and the North.  Time is running out.”


“Three-Stage Process To Resolve The North Korean Nuclear Issue”


Baik Young-cheol opined in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (7/1):  “At the first stage, the U.S. and North Korea should work out a new accord beyond the 1994 Agreed Framework and make simultaneous concessions in which the former would declare its intent to not invade the North and the latter would make clear its denuclearization.  At the second stage, Pyongyang should dismantle its nuclear programs in a verifiable and irreversible fashion, with Washington lifting economic sanctions on the North and removing it from a list of states sponsoring terrorism....  At the final stage, the U.S., Japan and the North should normalize their diplomatic relations with each other, and the two Koreas should establish a peaceful regime on the peninsula.  If all that happens, the Korean peninsula will not only overcome the current nuclear crisis but also succeed in establishing a peaceful existence desirable for 21st century Northeast Asia.”


THAILAND:  “Now The U.S. Has To Count On China”


Rachan Husen commented in conservative, Thai-language Siam Rath (7/18):  “After several months of tensions and wars of words, the U.S. has finally conceded China’s prestige as a mediator to lull North Korea back to the negotiating table with western nations on nuclear weapons.  This agreement stemmed from a phone conversation between China’s Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in an attempt to defuse tensions between the U.S. and North Korea through diplomatic channels....  Since the U.S. outcry last October, North Korea has been saying clearly it is conducting a nuclear program which is in violation of the 1994 agreement to control nuclear weapons....  During the war of words (between the U.S. and North Korea, the U.S., never budged or sent a signal that it would use force to disarm North Korea as it did Iraq because it knew that its accusations against Iraq were false but North Korea poses a real threat.  Furthermore, North Koreas does not have oil for the U.S. to plunder like Iraq.  North Korea also has strong big brother China on its side....  Facing a real obstacle, the U.S. is forced to ask China for help.”




ARGENTINA:  "People Already Speak About Going To War With North Korea"


Jorge Rosales wrote in daily-of-record La Nacion (7/16):  "While the U.S. faces a more complicated scenario in Iraq given the perspective that its troops may remain there longer than expected, North Korea once again challenged the White House by letting it know it already has enough plutonium to produce half a dozen nuclear bombs....  The White House emphasized yesterday that it wouldn’t yield to North Korea's blackmail (bilateral negotiations with the U.S., similar to the ones that took place in the 90's, during the Clinton administration, when NK froze its nuclear program in exchange for assistance)."


"North Korea: Strategic Options"


Jorge Malena stated in business-financial InfoBae (7/10):  "The Pyongyang government's surprising acknowledgment that it had a secret program of nuclear weapons based on enriched uranium unleashed a new crisis in the Korean peninsula. Also, the current international panorama of a victorious US launching war on Baghdad based on 'suspicion' of the Hussein regime's possession of WMD worsens the relative situation of the DPRK bearing in mind that the Jongil administration has openly claimed its right to own nuclear weapons....  Common sense leads us to think that the prospect of a nuclearization of the Korean peninsula is not the most viable way out of the crisis. Therefore, one should consider other options. I personally believe the US should take advantage of the 'momentum' of its victory in Iraq to implement a diplomatic initiative including the Korean Republic, Russia, China and its European allies aimed at putting an end to a 50-year-long confrontation and attempting to reach an overall peace deal. This deal...should call for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the DPRK, Japan's payment of war compensation, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea, the end of the US embargo, the commitment of East Asian countries to favoring the economic development of the North, the formation of a Korean Federation and the establishment of a North East Asian Security forum that will contribute to maintain peace."


BRAZIL:  "The North Korean Case"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo opined (7/17):  "According to the White House, the North Korean government has confirmed having completed a cycle of reprocessing enough plutonium to produce half a dozen atomic bombs. According to former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Washington is 'losing control' of the North Korean situation, a fact that might lead to a war by the end of this year....  Despite the possibility that both sides [the U.S. and DPRK governments] are bluffing, the worsening of the crisis involving the North Korean arsenal is reason for apprehension. All avenues toward a diplomatic way out must be explored. The Iraqi experience has taught us that any information used to justify a possible attack must be viewed with caution."


MEXICO:  “Brisbane: Green Light For The Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons”


Alejandro Nada argued in left-of-center La Jornada (7/16):  “Last week the nuclear non-proliferation regime was buried in Brisbane. This story did not attract the attention of the media, but this tragedy will have serious consequences for national security....  In the beginning of the year, the DPRK announced officially that it would violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Even when Pyongyang adhered to it in 1985, it never signed the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with ensuring its provisions.  In January, North Korea acknowledged the possession of nuclear weapons, and in April said that it possessed bars of re-processed nuclear fuel that would be exported if the US did not agree to bilateral negotiations.  In this way, the agreement signed between Pyongyang and Washington in 1994--which stipulated that North Korea would stop its nuclear program and accept IAEA inspections--was struck down… The lesson is easy for countries like Iran.  If they want to escape from being blackmailed by Washington, they just have to acquire nuclear weapons as soon as possible."  


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