International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 5, 2003

August 5, 2003





**  Global dailies share "high expectations" after the DPRK agreed to multilateral talks.


**  Some papers see "little possibility" of any major breakthrough.


**  North Korea's "significant concession" is a "tactical victory" for Washington. 


**  Left-leaning papers urge "compromise" with, and "concessions" for, the North.




The DPRK's 'virtual acceptance of six-way talks' is a 'major breakthrough'--  Korean, European and Philippine papers applauded this "important sign of political detente."  Seoul's independent Joong-Ang Ilbo said "prospects look bright for a peaceful resolution."  The independent Manila Times called the talks a "welcome development" to prevent "an Iraq in this part of the world."  Conservative Chosun Ilbo echoed other ROK dailies in asserting that the success of the six-way talks "hinges on Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation."      


It is 'too early for optimism' as the talks 'will be difficult and complicated'--  Skeptics warned against being "overly optimistic" at the start of a "long and difficult negotiation process."  Chinese dailies worried about the "danger of using military force to settle the crisis," as official World News Journal alleged the U.S. has no "good policies" except "military deterrence and economic sanctions."  Russia's centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta added that if the DPRK "already has the bomb, they won't give it up" regardless of "diplomatic maneuvers."  Japan's moderate Yomiuri agreed the North is unlikely to accept the "abandonment of its nuclear ambitions."


The 'resumption of talks is a success' for the U.S.--  A "tougher U.S. stance" and imminent UNSC involvement meant that "North Korea really had few options left."  Argentina's daily-of-record La Nacion termed the talks an "apparent diplomatic victory for the U.S."  Japan's business-oriented Nihon Keizai concluded that the DPRK accepted the talks "to avoid 'missing the bus' before a U.S.-led net of encirclement tightens further."  Seeing a "victory for Moscow" instead, other Japanese and Russian dailies held that the North gave its consent to Russia first due to "misgivings about China."


U.S. should offer Pyongyang 'substantial negotiations and concessions'--  A few writers stressed the DPRK "threat to the international community," as a "nuclear North Korea would...throw the regional security order into disarray."  Left-of-center dailies urged the U.S. to "provide at least a verbal promise not to attack the North," including "providing security guarantees" in exchange for the DPRK's "dismantlement of its nuclear program."  Seoul's government-owned Daehan Maeil judged the prospects for successful talks "dim unless the U.S. changes its policy and position."  The pro-PRC Macau Daily News advised the U.S. to "give up its hostile policy toward the DPRK."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 40 reports from 14 countries over 31 July - 5 August 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




GERMANY:  "Concessions From Pyongyang"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg noted (8/4):  "Pyongyang's willingness to negotiate...its nuclear program is a first important sign for political détente, but it does not mean a swift and permanent solution to the North Korea conflict.  For the U.S., the resumption of talks is a success.  It is the only chance to make progress in the dispute with the communist country....  The integration of China, South Korea, Japan, and offers the possibility to call again upon the regime in Pyongyang to freeze its [nuclear] program....  But it hardly seems to be possible that a breakthrough can be achieved in the first meeting already.  But in return for a U.S. non-aggression guarantee, North Korea must make concessions.  It would be a beginning if it allowed inspectors into the country and stopped its program.  In order to achieve a long-tem solution to the conflict, Pyongyang must also give up its resistance to UN participation."




Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/1):  "It is known that that North Korea and Iran are on the top on Washington's watch list, because they have crossed or are about to cross the threshold of nuclear armament.  And what does George W. Bush do?  Almost pleadingly Bush is looking for allies who could help defuse this conflicting potential by collectively exerting pressure.  Of course, he is looking for assistance in Europe and Asia.  Where else?  It is idle talk to discuss whether the cause of Iraq could have been settled differently.  But the attempt to build up an anti-desperado policy as a common task is laborious but probably worthwhile--as far as politics and the itself is concerned.  The others must only join him."


ITALY:   “Pyongyang: We Shall Negotiate In Beijing”


Leading, business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore maintained (8/5):  “The Korean surrender won’t be, as one could imagine, an unconditional one.  North Korea’s availability to begin talks aimed at resolving the crisis triggered by its ambitious nuclear programs is in fact pending on some preconditions.  First of all, the interruption of the relations with U.S. envoy John Bolton...who had recently characterized as ‘a dreadful nightmare’ the life in that Communist country, and ‘vampires’ as well as ‘bad people’ the members of Kim Jong-Il’s regime.  Kim Jong-Il has been confirmed at the head the country yesterday, voted by one hundred percent.  In addition, North Korea, through its Communist leader, asked that a pact of non aggression and a plan of international aid be stipulated in return of its giving up its nuclear plans.  No particular openings were noticed in the American front.  Secretary of State Colin Powell...denied that a pact of non aggression could be included in the...negotiations, and he remained quite vague with regard to the aid that Washington could be willing to provide.”


“Nuclear: North Korea Accepts Negotiation”


Gabriel Bertinetto remarked in pro-democratic left (DS) L’Unita’ (8/2):  “A light at the end of the tunnel of the Korean nuclear crisis is being turned on.  Pyongyang agrees to participate in multilateral talks with representatives from the other Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.  In other words, it gives up its pre-condition that it would have engaged itself in talks only at the same level with the Americans.  Timing for negotiations remains to be settled, as well as the place and the level of delegations.  But the main obstacle was passed.  At last, a step in the direction of dialogue was made, after months of stalemate, or even negative developments.  And it is an important step as it shows an understanding among the main interlocutors, the U.S. and North Korea, that since last October have only exchanged accusations, ultimatum, requests and threats."


RUSSIA:  "Kim Outsmarts Opponent"


Georgiy Bulychev and Aleksanr Vorontsov wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (8/4):  "Pyongyang's consent to discuss the nuclear issue at multilateral talks seems like a concession to Washington.  In fact, Kim Jong-Il has outsmarted his chief opponent in a series of diplomatic maneuvers....  More than solving the problem of the DPRK's nuclear weapons, the U.S. wants to drag China into a new system of international relations in Asia.  There is little chance that China will 'trade' Pyongyang even for Taiwan.  The Chinese won't use pressure, less so armed action, against its ally as this would damage their prestige primarily in Asia and become the starting point of their strategic retreat....  How is Russia going to help the talks constructively?  It may be too late now.  If the North Koreans already have the bomb, they won't give it up.  Besides, if the DPRK is planning to declare its nuclear status at the talks, Moscow will find itself in a very tricky position--the whole thing will be like following in the wake of the U.S.' campaign to dismantle the Koreans' nuclear potential at all costs."


"U.S. Provoked Crisis"


Aleksey Lyashchenko stated in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (8/2):  "Much of the North Korea crisis has been provoked by the U.S. and depends on relations between the two countries for its solution.  Obviously, Washington does not feel like 'causing a storm' in the Far East, while Pyongyang formally wanting no aggravation, prefers to speak to the outside world, with its tongue in cheek....  Any statement by Pyongyang that it has the bomb will have to be taken quite seriously.  This concerns not so much the U.S., which has only military bases in that region, as North Korea's neighbors, Russia included.  It is to be hoped that powerful neighbors like Russia, China, Japan and South Korea will manage to stave off the threat of a nuclear apocalypse."


"Pyongyang Invites Moscow"


Katerina Labetskaya and Ivan Gorbunov wrote in reformist Vremya Novostey (8/1):  "Pyongyang has agreed to sexpartite talks to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula.  Russia must be among the participants.  This comes as a victory for Moscow, which has favored negotiations all along.  Pyongyang, so it seems, is not averse to wise moves, either.  It gives hope for easing tension in spite of U.S. Deputy [sic] Secretary of State John Bolton's emphatic statements yesterday, when he, addressing a student audience in Seoul and referring to North Korea, spoke of blackmail tactics and the wrong ideas of nuclear programs giving security.  He also called Kim Jong-Il a tyrant who revels in luxury, while his subjects suffer from hunger and misery.  Bolton will continue to discuss North Korea in Tokyo today.  Hopefully, the U.S. diplomat's rhetoric won't do much harm."


"DPRK's Nuclear Program Is Reality"


Koji Watanabe and Vyacheslav Nikonov held in reformist Izvestiya (7/31):  "Today there is no doubt in anybody's mind that North Korea's nuclear program is a reality.  It is also a threat to the international community.  Only hopeless optimists can deny that Pyongyang has the Bomb.  Intelligence sources differ only in the number of nuclear weapons that Kim Jong-Il will have in his hands by the end of the year."


AUSTRIA:  “The Korean Gambit”


Markus Bernath commented in liberal Der Standard (8/4):  "The game of chess over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is now followed by the calculations of U.S. diplomats: As a next move, Pyongyang has accepted multilateral negotiations in order to solve the crisis.  This is a tactical victory for the U.S....  The North Korean negotiators will find it hard to walk away from a round table, where all five parties present--China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S.--have different relations with North Korea, but essentially want the same thing: make Pyongyang curb its unpredictable way of conducting politics.  In these multilateral negotiations, the Bush administration will try to fasten the corset of security guarantees that it offered to North Korea.  It will be a hard monitoring regime, the central point of which is nuclear disarmament.  Economic help will only be granted on evidence that North Korea is keeping its part of the deal.  Whether Pyongyang will play this game through to the end will depend on the skills of the US government.  It has to make its co-negotiators stick to the common goal, and it also has to solve its internal conflict: Some of its representatives want to play with Kim Jong-Il on the chessboard of diplomacy, some want to play at war.”




CHINA:  “The DPRK Agrees On Six-Way Talks" 


Shen Lin and Wang Rujun held in official Communist Party-run Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (8/4):  “After the news of the six-way talks spread, the international community has shown agreement and support, claiming this is a ‘measure symbolizing a breakthrough’ that will lead the North Korea nuclear issue to a resolution....  The form of the talks is not important.  What is important is to start talks.  If the North Korea nuclear crisis can be peacefully resolved, it is beneficial for the U.S. and North Korea, for the bordering countries and the whole world....  On August 2, the North Korean Central News Agency warned any moves of the U.S. to raise the nuclear issue at the Security Council will cause the six-way talks to abort, and even lead to a war....  The North Korea Central News Agency also quoted the words of North Korea foreign spokesman, saying ‘Our stance hasn't changed with regard to a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue through six-way talks, including DPRK-U.S. bilateral talks.  But Bolton’s words and comments have shown his political vulgarity and morbid psychology.  A great discrepancy has existed between his words and the recent comments of the U.S. President.  After a sincere analysis, we decided not to treat him as a U.S. official any more and will not contact him any more'....  It is still too early to be optimistic on the resolution of the nuclear issue.”


"The DPRK Crisis:  The U.S. Is Using The Trick Of ‘Putting Off The Using Military Force’"


Ni Xiayun commented in official Xinhua News Agency-run International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (8/1):  “The U.S. government was not in a hurry to settle the DPRK nuclear crisis quickly because that means a direct involvement of military force.  Currently the core issue of the U.S.’ policy toward DPRK is forcing DPRK to give up its nuclear program through multilateral talks and letting negotiators maintain a stable environment in which the Bush administration can promote its established strategy....  To look at the issue as a whole, there is little possibility that the talks this time will make a major breakthrough....  The U.S.’ stance is still far different from that of DPRK....  And there is possibility that the talks will fail or DPRK may withdraw from negotiation mid-way....  Viewing the strategic thoughts and acting style of the U.S.’ policy towards DPRK, the danger of using military force to settle the crisis remains.”


"The U.S.’ SBCT (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) On The Korean Peninsula For The First Time"


Gao Haorong stated in official Xinhua News Agency-run International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (8/1):  “Analysts think, viewing the U.S. troops’ attitudes on the issue of retreating to the South and many of its actions on the Peninsula, the redeployment of the U.S. troops in South Korea does not mean the U.S. wants to get away from the Peninsula, but to react to the possible situational changes more flexibly.”


"The U.S. Has Forgotten The Korean War"


Tian Wei contended China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/31):  “50 years have passed and the war (Korean War) has become a faraway memory, but peace is still not coming.  The U.S. had already forgotten the Korean War soon after it was over.  There is no way to know if the U.S. did it intentionally or unintentionally.  The Americans never seem to seriously reflect on the meanings and lessons of this war.  This might be one of the reasons why peace is still unavailable on the Korean Peninsula....  The U.S. government seems to have no other good policies and measures except for military deterrence and economic sanctions.  There are some people in the U.S. government advocating economic sanctions against DPRK, some promoting using the big stick of armed forces and others agreeing on the diplomatic means.  All of these swing policies were based on vague recognition of DPRK.  To look through the U.S. government’s policy toward DPRK for these years, even the U.S. experts admitted that there was no clear idea of how to cope with the DPRK.”


CHINA (MACAU AND HONG KONG SARS):  "Welcome First Step On The Path To Korean Peace"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (8/2):  "North Korea's acceptance of multilateral talks to end its nuclear weapons proliferation is an encouraging first step in the process of bringing peace and stability to Northeast Asia.  Bringing all affected nations together is the most sensible way to find a lasting solution....  The 50th anniversary last Sunday of the signing of the armistice to end fighting in the Korean war was a reminder that the risk of conflict is ever-present on the peninsula....  North Korea, realizing such a situation cannot last indefinitely, has softened its stand and accepted regional mediation.  Talks will be held soon, it has assured dialogue partners.  A single round of talks will not settle issues with their roots in more than half a century of mistrust and hatred.  But with resolve from all sides that the crisis must end, it will launch the beginning of the end of instability in the region."


"A Gleam Of Hope In Defusing The DPRK Nuclear Crisis"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News opined (8/2):  "Deciding to hold six-nation talks is just the first step in peacefully resolving the DPRK crisis.  When and where to hold the talks is still up in the air.  There will be debates over the meeting agenda....  Pyongyang insisted that the U.S. must respect the security of the DPRK, that the two sides must sign a non-aggression agreement (a move equal to establishing formal diplomatic relations) and that the U.S. has to compensate the DPRK for its losses in stopping its nuclear program.  However, the U.S. has ruled out the possibility of signing the non-aggression agreement...and Deputy Secretary of State Bolton said that amid the multi-lateral talks, Washington might push the UNSC to implement a 'security action plan' to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the DPRK and Iran....  The upcoming talks will be difficult and complicated.  People should not be overly optimistic."


"DPRK Armistice Agreement And Nuclear Crisis"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/29):  "Pyongyang uses nuclear weapon development to threaten Japan and South Korea and force the U.S. to accept Pyongyang's diplomatic requests.  This kind of 'brinkmanship policy' is unwise.  The consequences will be very serious....  It will give Japan the pretext to develop a series of advanced weapons, including nuclear weapons, and give the U.S. a sound excuse to set up new 'high-tech weapons' in South Korea, leading to a new arms race in Northeast Asia.  The unification of the DPRK and South Korea will not happen within the foreseeable future.  The U.S. should remember the lesson from the Korean War.  It should give up its hostile policy toward the DPRK and its thoughts of using force or other tough measures to suppress the DPRK....  To settle the DPRK nuclear crisis, all sides should seek a compromise while respecting the other's interests."


JAPAN:  "Kim Jong Il Must Face Up To Realities of Life"


Liberal Mainichi observed (8/5):  "Although the DPRK has accepted six-nation talks aimed at resolving the North's nuclear standoff, a South Korean government official predicts that the North will try to use the talks to continue playing the 'game of nuclear brinkmanship' to the bitter end....  Does Kim Jong Il still think he can engage in a 'diplomatic game' with the US? Isn't it a mere illusion for him? Neither the US nor the rest of the world is in fact generous or receptive enough to accommodate the North Korean dictator's 'fantasy.'  If Mr. Kim is really eager to survive this crisis, he must realize first and foremost that his brinkmanship is no longer useful. Now the US is trying to re-make world order aimed at foiling WMD proliferation, while China, Japan and Russia are calling for the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. At this juncture, the North has no option but to accept the call for halting its nuclear development, if it is eager to survive the crisis. The six-nation talks will be the North's last chance."     

"Don't Let DPRK Buy Time!"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (8/2):  "The DPRK has accepted six-way talks on the North's nuclear issue, departing from its previous insistence on a bilateral dialogue with the U.S.  But we can hardly say that this latest development by the North will lead to the abandonment of its nuclear ambitions.  What we have to ascertain is whether North Korea has attached conditions to its acceptance of the multilateral talks, and, if so, what they are.  Even though the North accepts the call for dialogue, we will lose all we have gained if we ease the pressure.  Japan, in concert with the U.S., should call on the other three countries (South Korea, China and Russia) to understand this position."


"Wisdom Should Be Used To Resolve Nuclear Crisis"


Liberal Asahi editorialized (8/2):  "A framework is likely to be created in September to start six-way talks aimed at resolving North Korea's nuclear issue.  The question is whether all parties concerned are able to make full use of 'their wisdom' in pursuit of having the North scrap its nuclear development program once and for all.  Multilateral or 'multi-layered' diplomacy will become even more necessary during the anticipated talks in order to elicit a compromise from the North.  For example, such diplomacy could open the way for the other four participants to ensure a U.S. guarantee of non-aggression, provided the North totally suspends its nuclear development.  It is not clear what central role the U.S. will play in getting the North to halt its nuclear ambitions."


"North Korea Accepts Six-Way Talks, Banks On Russian Cooperation"


Liberal Mainichi held (8/1):  "The DPRK...indicated its acceptance of multilateral talks involving Russia.  Developments pertaining to North Korea suddenly took on a frenzied pace on 31 July....  North Korea's desire to break away from international isolation on the nuclear arms issue is behind these recent developments....  Complications are still expected before the six-way talks are actually held.   The Japanese government is making meticulous efforts to discern North Korea's real intent....  It is believed that North Korea's misgivings about China being the mediator between the United States and the DPRK are behind its decision to convey to Russia its virtual acceptance of six-way talks.  North Korea probably wants to position itself more favorably in future negotiations by involving Russia, which desires a stronger presence on the Korean peninsula once again....  However, all the concerned countries agree that North Korea should not develop nuclear arms.  It is widely believed that North Korea may not be able to achieve the result it desires.  North Korea's distrust of China was manifested....  North Korea probably sees China as simply a messenger of the U.S....  If five-nation talks among Japan, the United States, the ROK, China, and the DPRK are held, North Korea fears that it will be isolated in a four against one situation.  PRC President Hu Jintao...has not met with North Korea's General Secretary Kim Chong-il....  In contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with General Secretary Kim for three years in a row from 2000, giving due consideration to North Korea, banking on Russia's friendly attitude....  After the Beijing talks, the reason repeated proposals from the United States and the ROK for the early holding of multilateral talks had been delayed time and again is because North Korea had remained obsessed with a U.S.-DPRK dialogue.  In the present case, it is not entirely clear how North Korea will handle the linkage between the U.S.-DPRK talks and the six-way talks....  It is possible that North Korea is using Russia to move its rival, China in order to press for U.S.-DPRK talks."


"DPRK Is Softening Stance To Seek U.S. Compromise"


Liberal Asahi observed (8/1):  "Although the Russian government announced the DPRK's acceptance of six-way multilateral talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, the announcement did not clarify where and when the proposed talks would be held.  It is not clear either whether the North has proposed any conditions for accepting such talks.  But there are already signs that Pyongyang has been backing down from its earlier position of seeking the resumption of a bilateral dialogue with the U.S. before complying with five or six-way talks."


"DPRK Trying To 'Check' U.S. Leadership At Future Talks"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai noted (8/1):  "There is speculation that North Korea accepted the proposed multilateral talks to avoid 'missing the boat' before a U.S.-led net of encirclement tightens further.  There are also reports that Pyongyang is also trying to include Russia in the talks in order to prevent the U.S. from playing a leadership role and turning the tide of the talks in its favor."


PHILIPPINES:  “End The Crisis" 


The independent Manila Times stated (8/4):  “Despite an incendiary comment from a U.S. diplomat last week, North Korea was until yesterday apparently ready and willing to participate in talks to resolve the prolonged crisis over its nuclear weapons development program.  Barring any further kinks, the talks could lead to the resolution of one major source of conflict that has for years put the East Asian region on tenterhooks....  Previously, Pyongyang had insisted that it would talk only to the U.S.  Last week, it relented and agreed that the talks should also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.  The talks are likely to start in September. This is a welcome development to a region that badly needs a fresh whiff of positive news....  Pyongyang also said the multilateral talks depended entirely on whether Washington dropped what it called a hostile policy toward the North.  Earlier this week, U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton said the UNSC needed to take ‘appropriate and timely action’ to send a signal to the world that it took the North Korean crisis seriously.  He also described life in North Korea as a ‘hellish nightmare.’  Yesterday, Pyongyang returned in kind and gave notice it would have no dialogue with Bolton, but that it was still amenable to the talks.  Analysts in Seoul were in quoted in news reports as interpreting that as a sign that North Korea really had few options left.  A tougher U.S. stance and a U.N. Security Council involvement were the only alternative seen outside of the negotiating table, analysts believe....  The North Korean crisis has dragged on for an unaccountable period.  Let the talks begin soon.  Only a meeting of minds will prevent an Iraq in this part of the world.”


SINGAPORE:  "U.S. Should Pipe Down" 


The pro-government Straits Times declared (8/4):  "The report released last week by the United States Defense Department on China's military capability has angered Beijing, even though it contains little that is new....  Unfortunately, the report might also raise undue fears about what is on China's mind....  China's response that the report is a clumsy excuse by the US to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan does not seem far off the mark. The worst thing that can happen now is for both countries to talk up tension. There is a more pressing issue at hand that Beijing and Washington need to work together on, namely North Korea.  Pyongyang has said it will accept multilateral talks on its nuclear weapons program, and is proposing that the talks be held in Beijing. The choice of venue underlines the key role that China is likely to play in any resolution to the dispute. This is a time when Beijing and Washington need to pull together on North Korea. Having a dispute about what Beijing wants to do with Taiwan, especially if little new is being said, can only be counter-productive."


SOUTH KOREA:  “Scenario For Six-Way Nuclear Talks Needed”


Yoon Deok-min opined in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (8/5):  “In order to make the upcoming six-way nuclear talks successful, participants in the talks must voice one consistent message toward North Korea.  Pyongyang may be trying to buy time in the hope that the Democratic Party might take power in next year’s U.S. presidential election.  However, it is highly likely that Washington, which does not want the talks prolonged more than necessary, will utilize high pressure tactics depending on Pyongyang’s attitude....  Six-party talks have opened the way for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis, but it seems likely that the parties involved will continue to ‘skate on thin ice’ for the time being....  Furthermore, even though all participating nations oppose a nuclear-armed North Korea and agree that the North should be helped, they all display a lackadaisical attitude when it comes to shouldering the burdens associated with aiding the communist state. The ROK, as it did during the Geneva Accord, might have to shoulder most of the burdens using Korean taxpayer money.  Accordingly, the ROK needs to act more wisely and more vigorously to ensure that its position is fully reflected in the talks.  Otherwise, the six-way talks may become an arena of competition in which neighboring powers solely pursue their own national interests.”


“Elaborate Plans Needed For 6-Party Talks With North Korea”


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo observed (8/4):  “Prospects look bright for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue with North Korea and the U.S. agreeing to hold a 6-party meeting, although more consultations are needed to determine the exact schedule of the talks.  This is virtually the last opportunity we have for solving North Korea’s nuclear problem in a peaceful manner....  Unless it has an elaborate plan for the talks, patience enough to not be bent on short-term progress and a clear goal through which it can persuade participating countries, South Korea may face a precarious situation in which its destiny is determined by foreign powers while the 6-party meeting itself turns into a tedious process similar to the diplomacy of the Cold War era....  More than anything else, U.S.-Korea-Japan trilateral cooperation needs to be strengthened....  In addition, not only North Korean nuclear weapons but all weapons of mass destruction--including missiles and chemical weapons--must be discussed during the 6-party meeting so that we may ease tensions and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.”


“For 6-Party Talks With North Korea To Be Successful”


Conservative Chosun Ilbo contended (8/2):  “It is not an exaggeration to say that the success of 6-party talks with North Korea hinges on Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation. The three countries must first agree to what kind of security guarantee and economic assistance will be provided to North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons program....  How much diplomatic energy is exerted to induce Chinese and Russian participation in persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, and the level of Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation, will determine the success or failure of the 6-party talks.  Meanwhile, the Kim Jong-il regime must clearly recognize that this is the first and last opportunity for North Korea to secure substantial help from South Korea and the international community.”


“Although The Outline Of 6-Party Talks Has Been Drawn”


Independent Dong-a Ilbo maintained (8/2):  “It is fortunate that North Korea, though belatedly, agreed to have 6-party talks....  However, it is too early for optimism because a 6-party meeting is the first step in what is expected to be a long and difficult negotiation process....  Instead of coming to the negotiating table solely with the principle of ‘peaceful resolution through dialogue,’ the ROKG must come up with a more specified plan.  In order to induce a more earnest North Korean attitude, it may be necessary for the ROKG to employ the ‘additional measures’ discussed between Presidents Roh and Bush during their summit meeting.”


“North Korea’s Acceptance Of 6-Party Talks Is A Breakthrough"


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (8/2):  “North Korea’s acceptance of 6-party talks represents a major breakthrough in efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue....  However, it is too premature to conclude that progress will easily be achieved in the talks.  It is not yet clear what course North Korea--which is extremely sensitive to diplomatic and economic issues--will decide to take.  Moreover, although the U.S. State Department is in the forefront of efforts to solidify dialogue with North Korea, within the U.S. administration there are forces that oppose the idea of having dialogue with  North Korea itself....  North Korea should adopt a more flexible attitude given that the 6-party talks may be its last opportunity to resolve its nuclear problem in a peaceful manner.”


“Encouraging Change In North Korea’s Attitude”


Moderate Hankook Ilbo stated (8/2):  “It brings relief to see the North Korean nuclear crisis experience a turning point....  North Korea’s acceptance of 6-party talks  represents the first step toward peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis....  The multilateral talks can serve as a venue for ironing out differences between U.S. and North Korea, and for participants to collectively guarantee that agreements reached will be carried out.  For instance, giving security guarantee to North Korea in the 6-party talks will be more convincing from the international community’s viewpoint since China and Russia are both permanent members of the UNSC.  However, having a large number of participating countries may make it difficult to reach agreements.  It is in this respect that we look forward to Russia’s role.”


“Hopes For 6-Party Talks To Resolve North Korea’s Nuclear Problem”


Conservative Segye Ilbo observed (8/2):  “North Korea should not miss the opportunity given by the prospect of 6-party talks.  If a security guarantee is North Korea’s genuine goal, it should earnestly consider the U.S. proposal that a ‘bold approach’ will be considered if the North gives up its nuclear weapons program.  We hope that North Korea will accept the advice of its blood-forged ally, China, and thereby enter into the path of reform and liberalization....  The ROKG should also make the best diplomatic use of 6-party talks with North Korea.  Now is the time for the ROKG to further strengthen its cooperation with the U.S. and Japan while exercising extreme caution in launching projects in North Korea.”


“Talks With North Korea Should Bring Real Solutions”


Government-owned Daehan Maeil editorialized (8/2):  “We want to emphasize that the upcoming 6-party talks with North Korea should serve as a venue for finding real solutions to the North Korean nuclear problem.  During the talks, North Korea and the U.S. should present acceptable agendas while making efforts to iron out differences.  We especially ask the U.S. to prepare an appropriate plan for providing security guarantees to North Korea in exchange for the North’s dismantlement of its nuclear program....  North Korea, for its part, should present a plan that corresponds to the U.S. request that the North do away with its nuclear program in a ‘verifiable and irreversible way.’”


"Bush’s Remarks That He Sees Progress In DPRK Nuclear Issue Noteworthy"


Government-owned Daehan Maeil editorialized (8/1):  “It is quite encouraging that President Bush said he saw good progress in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear issue, especially considering that the remark comes at a time of a tug-of-war between Washington and Pyongyang over the issue.  We now have high expectations for a successful staging of multilateral nuclear talks....  Given that Pyongyang is eager to acquire security guarantees and that it will take a long time and involve complicated procedures to dismantle the North’s nuclear facilities, it is not desirable for the U.S. to simply insist that Pyongyang first dismantle its nuclear programs.  We urge Washington to put the issue of providing security guarantees to Pyongyang on top of the agenda for multilateral talks, because we believe that simultaneous moves by both sides would be of great help in resolving the outstanding North Korean nuclear issue.”


"It Is The U.S.’ Turn To Change"


Lee Cheol-ki wrote in government-owned Daehan Maeil (7/31):  “The North Koreans believe that even if they allowed inspections of their nuclear facilities to clear themselves of U.S. suspicions, things would not get better because Washington would continue to raise new suspicions and present more preconditions.  In Iraq’s case, even after seven years of intrusive arms inspections that virtually disarmed the country, the U.S. continued to suspect that Iraq was developing WMD, and eventually invaded it.  Furthermore, the North Koreans suspect that a multilateral framework is being pursued to pave the way for international sanctions and ultimately military action against them....  In this respect, the U.S. needs to provide at least a verbal promise not to attack the North and to show a forward-looking attitude on the North Korean issue in order to ensure that the envisioned multilateral talks will be the venue for substantial negotiations and concessions.  The prospects for progressive North Korean nuclear talks will remain dim unless the U.S. changes its policy and position towards the North.  Now it is the U.S.’s turn to change.”


"Iraq And North Korea"


Cho Jae-yong opined in moderate Hankook Ilbo (7/31):  “Faced with reports that negotiations to arrange multilateral nuclear talks have stalled due to North Korea’s vague attitude, we wonder if current U.S. post-war difficulties in Iraq are buying the North more time to decide its course of action....  A few days ago, visiting University of Chicago Prof. Bruce Cummings predicted that the more severe the situation in Baghdad becomes, the less chance of a war on the peninsula....  Is Pyongyang really heaving a sigh of relief watching the U.S. under siege in Iraq?  Regardless, in terms of resolving its nuclear problem, the North does not seem to have enough time to fully assess the political situation.”


VIETNAM:  "The New Development In The Peninsula"


Lu Pho An wrote in Vietnam Confederation of Trade Unions-run official Lao Dong (8/4):  "That North Korea agrees to hold multilateral talks is a new development regarding the Korean peninsula nuclear issue....  This new development gets attention for three reasons.  First, it shows that North Korea has made a significant concession....  Second, this adjustment of North Korea has a close link to the role of China, which has been an active and prominent player in recent months.  Like the tri-party talks in April, China's role has helped both the US and North Korea get out of difficult situations without losing face.  Third, North Korea considers the upcoming multilateral talks as the first step that will lead to bilateral talks between it and the US.  North Korea also wants to use the bilateral talks to get Russia involved."




INDIA:  "India And The Korean Crisis" 


C. Raja Mohan argued in the centrist Hindu (8/4):  "Unlike Iraq where the Anglo-American rhetoric on WMD far outstripped facts on the ground, the nuclear factor in the Korean peninsula is real and makes the crisis an unusual one. If America does go to war against North Korea, it will be the first time an attempt will be made to overpower a state armed with nuclear weapons.  The nuclear developments in the Korean peninsula, in particular the nuclear and missile cooperation between Pakistan and North Korea, have had a direct bearing on India's security....  Worse still, whichever way the current crisis is resolved in the Korean peninsula, global nuclear order and regional security in Asia are unlikely to look the same again....  If there is an ambiguous deal between the U.S. and North Korea, it will only postpone the moment of reckoning.  Israel, Pakistan and India, which went nuclear after the NPT came into being, were not part of the treaty. North Korea will be the first member-state to renege on the commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons.  A nuclear North Korea would dramatically raise the pressures on Japan to reconsider its current nuclear abstinence and throw the regional security order into disarray....  With so much at stake, it is important that New Delhi stays engaged with the developments in the Korean peninsula." 


PAKISTAN:  "General Beg's Halfway House"


The Lahore-based liberal Daily Times declared (8/3):  "Americans and Europeans are absolutely convinced of Pakistan's nuclear footprints in North Korea.  Whether their intelligence is accurate is immaterial.  The fact is that Pakistan has dealt with the North. That Pakistan got the Nodong missile from the North and reverse-engineered it is well-known." 




ARGENTINA:   "North Korea Gives In And Will Talk About Its Nuclear Plan"


Daily-of-record La Nacion said (8/1):  "In an apparent diplomatic victory for the U.S., North Korea agreed to hold multilateral negotiations on its nuclear program with the participation of six countries, said Russia's Foreign Minister yesterday.   North Korea is ready to discuss 'a solution to the ongoing difficult situation' of the Korean peninsula and will 'actively' try to reach an agreement in negotiations which include the six countries, as well as Russia....  North Korea announced its position shortly after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State responsible for arms control, John Bolton, called Pyongyang's regime 'an infernal nightmare'....  Bolton insists on tackling North Korea's nuclear crisis at the UNSC and urges to resume multilateral talks."


JAMAICA:  "East Asia’s Changing Power-Balance"


Dr. John Rapley asserted in the moderate, influential Daily Gleaner (7/31):  "The Hong Kong protesters have shown themselves to be more pragmatic than the students in Tiananmen Square were 14 years ago.  They will not likely push Beijing into a crackdown.  Nonetheless, rising discontent at communist rule within China's swelling business class poses a growing challenge to the Chinese authorities....  At the same time, they are mindful that any crackdown in Hong Kong will complicate relations with Taiwan....  It seems likely that the future shape of East Asia will be determined largely within the ranks of China's ruling elite.  Whatever its short-term military ambitions, Japan is a waning economic power. South Korea neither can nor wants to fill the gap.  And Taiwan will almost certainly be re-integrated, somehow, into China.  The big questions are whether China's ascent can be managed without conflict, and whether North Korea plays a spoiler role.”



Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home