International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

September 2, 2003

September 2, 2003





**  Writers seek a "complete" end to the DPRK's nuclear program and "tough" inspections.


**  Pyongyang's "dictator can be bought--and should be bought" to prevent the chance of war.


**  Beijing's cooperation remains the "vital ingredient" to solving the crisis.


**  Critics urge the U.S. to take a "less aggressive approach" and avoid "provocative moves." 




The world must 'bring Kim Jong-il to his senses'--  Writers judged the DPRK was "too unpredictable and dangerous" to "continue unchecked as a proliferator."  Any agreement with Pyongyang must include inspections, because it "would be wrong to simply trust the 'great leader.'"  Mexico's left-of-center La Jornada was one to distrust the "warlike and delirious dictatorship."  Japanese papers also sought more "international pressure" on the North, seeing no "tangible progress" in the Beijing talks.  Business-oriented Nihon Keizai alleged the North is just "playing for time enough to accelerate its nuclear development program."


As the DPRK is 'economically totally ruined,' a deal is possible--  Papers backed a "deal which will trade nuclear disarmament for economic aid and security guarantees."  Russia's centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta considered an "armed conflict spilling across borders...worse than a nuclear but responsible DPRK."  Seoul's independent Dong-A Ilbo urged "compromise and concession" to "settle the North Korean problem peacefully."  Leftist ROK dailies urged the U.S. to "focus solely" on the nuclear issue, but conservatives termed proliferation "not the only threat."  Pro-U.S. European outlets said just persuading the North to accept multilateral talks was a "success for U.S. diplomacy," calling the U.S.' "tough stand...quite appropriate." 


Many praise Beijing's 'major diplomatic coup'--  European writers declared that "one winner is clear:  host China."  Berlin's centrist Der Tagesspiegel said China will be "finally recognized as the decisive political power" in East Asia; London's conservative Times added:  "The fate of Northeast Asia depends on that region's superpower, China."  Italy's centrist La Stampa forecasted the "beginning of a strategic partnership" between the U.S. and China.  Russian and Chinese dailies dissented--Beijing's International Herald Leader claimed the U.S. is "using the DPRK threat as an excuse for its military contain China's military."


'The U.S. is largely responsible' for the lack of a 'breakthrough'--  Leftist papers, especially in developing countries, criticized Washington's policies.  Zimbabwe's pro-government Sunday Mirror contended, "With the Iraq invasion still fresh on the mind, the North has every reason to mistrust the U.S."  South Korea's Hankyoreh Shinmun disapproved of Washington's "insincere attitude."  Other ROK outlets downplayed the U.S. role, with conservative Chosun Ilbo blaming the U.S.' "lackadaisical attitude" on "soured ROK-U.S. relations."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 69 reports from 20 countries over 22 August - 2 September 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  “Chinese Whispers”


The conservative Times stated (8/29):  "The only predictable thing about North Korea is its unpredictability....  Yet a hint of optimism is not altogether out of place. There is the commitment of an admittedly divided Washington to resolving the ten-month-old crisis over Pyongyang’s reneging on a 1994 non-nuclear deal. And there are signs that China, having been North Korea’s mentor in Cold War days, is worried enough by Pyongyang’s belligerence to want to rein it in....  The US position, often billed as stick-but-no carrots, is subtler that that. Washington insists that it will make no concessions, in aid or security guarantees, before it can verify the unconditional scrapping of Pyongyang’s programme....  US policy has sensibly emphasized the importance of a multilateral solution to the problem and encouraged China to take more decisive action to resolve a crisis which is in its backyard. Some American officials have hinted that they might not be against South Korea or other states in the region offering hungry North Korea economic incentives....  China’s role will be the vital ingredient. Even though Beijing once gave Asian states such as Pakistan its nuclear know-how, it has no desire now for crisis in a maverick nuclear neighbour....  Any hope for making serious progress now must be based on using North Korea’s undoubted dependence on China, and the acute Chinese understanding of exactly how North Korea works. The fate of northeast Asia depends on that region’s superpower, China.”


“Deterring North Korea”


An editorial in the conservative Telegraph stated (8/28):  "The talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme that opened in Beijing yesterday represent a success for American diplomacy.  This is not to say that they will deliver the dismantling of that programme as Washington desires....  The success lies, rather, in the number of participants....  Instead of negotiating with America alone, North Korea is faced in Beijing this week with five powers that want it to scrap its nuclear programme....  The Americans hope that the promise of increased aid to a country in desperate economic straits will encourage compliance. However, the reaction of the maverick Mr Kim is hard to predict, and the talks could well prove fruitless....  In the meantime, the Bush Administration is adding force to it diplomacy through the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a multilateral effort to interdict weapons of mass destruction and the contraband coming from, or destined for, countries deemed to pose a proliferation threat....  PSI thus runs the risk of triggering renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula. The danger of trying to curb this rogue state is considerable. But so is allowing it to continue unchecked as a proliferator."


“New Angles On An Old Confrontation”


The left-of-center Guardian opined (8/28):  "The purpose-built hexagonal table around which the Korean talks opened yesterday is unique, but so is the event. For the first time both Korean parties, north and south, and the four regional players of China, Japan, Russia and the US, are all focusing their efforts to tackle Asia’s biggest problem left over from the Cold War. It has been an achievement to get them there at all and China--previously reluctant to deploy its diplomatic potential--has played a significant role. North Korea has also shifted, swallowing its usual chauvinism to acknowledge last month the need for Chinese mediation, and dropping its insistence that only bilateral talks with the US would be acceptable. The Bush administration has also toned down the ideological fervour with which it initially repudiated the efforts of Clinton and refused to deal with Pyongyang....  Half a century since the Korean armistice, it is going to be a long haul. The nuclear factor adds a new dimension of danger, although paradoxically it is only because Pyongyang has the weapons (or pretends to) that North Korea is unlikely to become a second Iraq....  This is a rare case where words are as important as deeds if entrenched enmity is ever to be overcome: at least they must keep on talking. Aid should not be a hostage to the talks either: there is nothing controversial about building water systems so that children in the North will have less diarrhoea."


FRANCE:  “Beijing, Washington, Moscow And Dr. Strangelove”


Right-of-center Les Echos maintained (8/27):  “Beijing has scored a major diplomatic coup in putting together the six-way negotiations on North Korea and WMD....  But the talks have very little chance of leading to an immediate agreement. For North Korea, giving up its nuclear program would be capitulating. But the talks can lead to an agreement to keep on talking.  North Korea has already made a concession by accepting to participate in multilateral discussions. Washington is also about to make a small concession by accepting the possibility of a pact of non-aggression....  Contrary to its stand towards Iraq, Washington is not pushing for a change of regime for North Korea. For one thing, its army is otherwise engaged in Iraq. But also the fall of Kim Jong-il’s regime is not in the best interest of its faithful South Korean ally.”


GERMANY:  "Dictator Who Can Easily Be Bought"


Henrik Bork opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (9/2):  " conspicuous.  North Korea's envoy said that his country would be willing to freeze its nuclear program and even reduce its nuclear facilities in a four-point program if the U.S. meets with certain requirements.  And the first condition refers to humanitarian assistance from the U.S. and a resumption of oil shipments.  This is the desperate voice of a country that has been economically totally ruined.  The morally reprehensible nuclear blackmailing policy of...Kim Jong-il is the last trump card of a dictatorship that is fighting for its survival.  But paradoxically, this irrationally looking attitude...offers an approach for a rational solution:  the dictator can be bought--and should be bought.  The good new from Beijing is that Kim Jong-il is fighting for his survival at the negotiating table and not with an attack on the wealthy South.  But the bad news is that the diplomatic process can still fail....  If the two main opponents in this process really want a solution, they must make more concessions...and as long as the negotiations continue without achieving a success, Kim can continue to develop his nuclear bomb."


"The Merchant From Beijing"


Harald Maass said in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (9/1):  "Even though the six-way talks...did not make any progress with respect to the content, one winner is clear:  host China.  We owe it to Beijing's diplomacy that North Korea and the U.S. sat at the same table....  With the Korea talks, Beijing was able to present itself for the first time as peace mediator.  It is true that, over the weekend, Pyongyang said that its is no longer interested in further talks with the U.S. and will continue to work on the nuclear bomb, but these are mainly tactical remarks.  The regime in Pyongyang is well known for its radical threats which it, however, does not implement.  As a matter of fact, North Korea has no other chance but to negotiate.  The starving country is dependent on China and Beijing wants to continue its six-way talks....  In the future Beijing will continue to play the key role.  The six-way talks will be continued soon, because China wants this.  According to Chinese and South Korean media reports, the next talks will take place within the next two months.  It is open whether there will be a narrowing of differences.  Beijing only wants to offer a forum for talks, and leaves it to the conflicting parties in the U.S. and North Korea to settle the conflict."


"Two-Plus-Four In the Far East"


Malte Lehming noted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (8/29):  "The 'sitting war' with North Korea is now to be diplomatically defused.  This is a considerable concession of the otherwise martially acting Bush administration.  Since a war would be too risky, it has no other option but to negotiate with North Korea.  This means that it has to talk, submit proposals, and make compromises.  This contradicts its own values...but is indispensable.  As a compensation for this disgrace Washington achieved multilateral, not bilateral talks, as Pyongyang originally demanded....  China has assumed a key role in these talks....  If Kim Jong-il listens to anyone than it is the great neighbor form the North.  On the other hand, China by no means wants a confrontation with the United States.  If China offers constructive cooperation in the U.S. sense, it can hope to be finally recognized as the decisive political power of order in the region.  The first obstacle has now been removed.  The United States and North Korea sit at the same table.  Now all sides involved must try to make it palatable to North Korea to renounce its nuclear program.  This should not be too easy, since Kim only needs three things:  Money, money, and money....  It may be a bit embarrassing for the Americans to pay for the elimination of the danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons by a heinous dictator, but an agreement should at least be considerably cheaper than the Iraq war."


"Question Of Confidence"


Peter Sturm declared in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/28):  "Nobody expected quick progress of the Korea talks in Beijing....  That is why we must consider it a positive development that the North Korean delegation did not leave the negotiating table under a pretext on the first day of the talks.  But all statements after the first day indicate a tough wrestling.  One thing is clear right now: North Korea will try to use all means to achieve a 'solution' that will spare the country from international controls of its nuclear facilities.  But here is the problem.  Provided there is good will on all sides, an agreement is possible...and if North Korea gets enough assistance and probably even security guarantees, it will sign every paper.  But only the issue of inspections will reveal Pyongyang's real willingness to negotiate.  And only then will we see whether North Korea's interlocutors will show the necessary unity to bring Kim Yong-il to his senses.  It would be wrong to simply trust the 'great leader.'"


ITALY: “North Korea Resists U.S. [Demands]”


Centrist, influential La Stampa remarked (8/30):  “North Korea has explicitly declared that it holds WMD but Washington will not give in to their ‘blackmail'....  The three days of multilateral talks did not soften the tones between the U.S. and North Korea....  The regime continues to be suspicious of the U.S. and fears that Washington could intervene militarily, and so it reserves its right to strengthen its 'nuclear deterrent'....  The Chinese attempted to salvage the outcome of the summit, as they were the hosts and organizers and the only ones who could boast success for having wanted and obtained these meetings among the six countries--even if the first round ended with a generic commitment to resume negotiations ‘as soon as possible’...without fixing neither a date nor a place and without signing a joint communiqué.”


“Nuclear Threat--U.S. And North Korea Negotiate In Beijing”


Renato Ferraro maintained in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (8/28):  “There were few illusions at the opening of the talks yesterday in the Chinese capital....  North Korea is asking Washington for a pact of non-aggression, diplomatic relations, economic aid, and all this before it begins to dismantle its weapons program. The U.S. line is exactly the opposite: a ‘complete, irreversible, unconditional and verifiable--by UN inspectors--nuclear disarmament.’ A peace resolution from the U.S. Congress would follow.  Bush has no intentions of giving rewards to nuclear blackmailers, also as to not give Iran the wrong signal.”


“Korean Atom, First Meeting Fails”


Francesco Sisci asserted in centrist, influential La Stampa (8/28):  “America claims to be moderately optimistic and asks more generally not for ‘regime change’ but for ‘a change in the regime,’ meaning that Washington does not want Kim to give up his crown, but they want him to change his handling of things, beginning with economic reforms. In exchange for such transformations, the U.S. would offer a generous aid package that would put the devastated North Korean economy back on track. The points of friction are still many....  America does not trust Pyongyang and is demanding the suspension of its nuclear program as well as the resumption of inspections by the Atomic Energy Agency before providing aid. The U.S. goal is to put an end to the smuggling of radioactive materials, weapons and drugs from North Korea....  If the summit should go well, it is certain that a new chapter of history will begin between the U.S. and China. It could be the beginning of a strategic partnership in Asia, where the U.S. would delegate to China issues that are too tricky and also too distant from its strategic interests. But in order for this to occur, North Korea must first give in and dismantle its nuclear program.”


RUSSIA:  "Russia, The U.S. In The Same Boat"


Reformist Izvestiya editorialized (8/28):  "The Russians and Americans share the view that the Korean Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons and that Kim Jong-Il's regime should be disarmed, if it has nuclear missiles, or stopped from having them, if it does not.  With its current leadership, North Korea is too unpredictable and dangerous to turn a blind eye to its nuclear arsenal.   Its 'favorite leader,' Comrade Kim Jong-Il, and his aged

generals are too untrustworthy to let their country become one of the elite Nuclear Club....  The United States and Russia are in the same boat.   So it does not really make sense to bar us, America's allies, from the talks....  Kim Jong-Il should know what the civilized world wants from him and where the line runs which he will never be allowed to cross.   Five of the six participants in the talks agree on one basic thing, which is that North Korea should have no nuclear weapons.  The hardest part of their job now is to get (or to force?) the sixth participant to bow to the majority."


"The U.S. Needs N. Korea Bugaboo"


Andrey Ivanov commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (8/28):  "The Americans never miss a chance to denounce Kim Jong-Il, branding him a threat to the world and the United States in particular.   Clearly, they don't believe what they say.   Even if North Korea does have nuclear weapons, it will not attack the United States unless it decides to commit suicide.   The North Korean regime wants to survive.   So much so that it

has started market reform.   Next it may think of a political Perestroika and stepped-up reunification with the South, resulting in the demise of its own tyrannical self.  But the United States won't let happen.  The juche North Korea bugbear is all the Americans have now to justify their military presence in Asia.   But the country which they really want to contain and which can become their chief competitor in the region and the world in the next few decades is China."


"Compromise Is The Rule Of The Game"


Georgiy Bulychev and Aleksandr Vorontsov wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (8/27):  "Five countries more or less agree that a nuclear-free and free-of-fear-for-its-security DPRK must become a key element of a new 'fine world.'   As seen by Moscow, the main thing is to prevent a use-of-force scenario.   Any compromise will do, only no one knows how to reach it without providing sufficient security guarantees for Pyongyang. An armed conflict spilling across borders, beyond the Korean Peninsula, is worse than a nuclear but responsible DPRK."


"Washington Isn't Entirely Inflexible"


Aleksandr Samokhotkin said in reformist Vremya Novostey (8/27):  "Moscow and Beijing, which have made these talks possible, would hate to see them fail....  The recent resignation of the U.S. State Department's special envoy Jack Pritchard augurs ill.   A pragmatist, he believes that Pyongyang needs to be punished for wicked deeds and rewarded for good ones....  Washington is not entirely inflexible.   Responding to Pyongyang's demand, it took Bolton off the list of the U.S. delegation after he had spoken unflatteringly about Kim Jong Il.   Japan has consented not to kick up a row over the North Koreans having kidnapped its citizens....  While hoping for the best, the participants have braced up for the worst."


"Moscow Out To Nudge Kim Into Concessions"


Vasiliy Golovnin remarked in reformist Izvestiya (8/27):  "While there is lot of speculation about the Kremlin being close to North Korea, Moscow has in fact been needling and nudging and worrying Kim Jong Il for major concessions."


"Bush, Kim Are Alike"


Sergey Strokan commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (8/26):  "Declaring oneself a nuclear power does not mean launching an immediate nuclear attack.  So why the hoopla?  The reason is a chronic

confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington fueled by the ambitions of their leaders, who, paradoxically, are alike in some ways....  As it speaks of plans to develop its nuclear program, Pyongyang resembles a skunk that fouls the air in self-defense.  The smell is so offensive, it can scare off a mortal enemy.  The current status quo may last forever, but it may also be broken any minute.  The one thing that is certain now is that Bush won't

leave North Korea alone."


"It Takes A Miracle To Keep Things Afloat"


Andrey Ivanov remarked in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (8/26): "The case of kidnapped Japanese citizens...along with a flare up of anti-Pyongyang sentiment in South Korea and Japan is another factor that may

scuttle the boat.   It takes unheard-of flexibility on all sides, that is, a miracle, to keep an even keel and stop North Korea from pronouncing itself nuclear."


AUSTRIA:  “The Party In Beijing”


Markus Bernath noted in liberal Der Standard (8/28):  “This kind of down-sizing is rare. The six negotiators in Beijing don’t seem to expect much from the Korean summit. After the first day of negotiations, it is tempting to suspect that this policy of understatement has less to do with realism than with the strategy of letting the negotiations fail, of winning time, of holding the other party responsible. For instance, US Undersecretary of State, James Kelly, was sent to Beijing on a Mission Impossible: don’t offer them anything, just insist on the immediate end of the North-Korean nuclear weapons program. This doesn’t exactly leave much space for negotiations....  The basic question still is: How can North Korea be made responsible for its actions; how can it be made to sign a disarmament agreement that is not only binding, but can also be monitored? The other four states that are present in Beijing were warned by Pyongyang in the run-up to the negotiations not to consp

ire with the US. However, that is exactly what Washington is counting on. It will now depend on Kelly’s negotiating skills whether such dynamics against North Korea can really be brought about. The atmosphere must be threatening enough to make the dictatorial regime give in, but also conciliatory enough to prevent North Korea from simply walking out of the negotiations. Taking all this into account, it is impossible to expect too little from the nuclear talks in Beijing.”




Koenraad Nijssen stated in conservative Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (8/28):  "Dictator Kim Jong Il--a fossil of the almost forgotten Cold War who is starving his people to death to carry out his arms programs--enjoys the friendship of powerful countries.  China and Russia have not dumped their old ally--perhaps to prevent the unpredictable Kim from starting wild adventures.  U.S. ally Japan is also urging cautiousness.  It lies within range of Kim’s Taepedong I missiles, as was demonstrated by recent tests.  South Korea is not at all assured.  Even with conventional weapons North Korea can bomb Seoul....  Even the Pentagon--seized by war fever the last few years--has received so many lessons in modesty in Afghanistan and Iraq that it is now opting for negotiations first.  Yesterday, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage hurried to say that Washington is not seeking war or a regime change in Pyongyang.”


"Six-Party Talks On North Korea"


Paul De Bruyn wrote in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (8/28):  "Because of its unpredictability and the fear that it has nuclear weapons, Bush is dealing with Pyongyang with velvet gloves.  The contrast between the American position vis-à-vis Iraq and its position vis-à-vis North Korea is significant.  Iraq could not be tackled hard enough.  Yet, the arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that Iraq allegedly possesses has not been found.  With this ambiguity Bush has undermined his own doctrine of pre-emptive war.  Why did he attack Saddam and not Kim Jong Il?  Kim has menaced the Americans.  He has openly threatened to drag South Korea into a destructive war if the Americans attack him.  Of course, Washington could not take that risk--but Kim Jong Il’s blackmail has worked.  Other regimes have understood that, too: the important thing is to build a (nuclear) arsenal as quickly as possible.  That is a security guarantee against an American intervention.  At this moment, Bush has only one way out: to exert pressure on the North Koreans and hope that they will allow international inspection of their nuclear arms program. But, he cannot be certain that that strategy will work.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Extortionists From Pyongyang"


Eduard Freisler noted in center-right Lidove noviny (9/2):  "The North Korea Summit in Beijing clearly showed the desperation and stubbornness of the North Korean regime....  The tough stand of the U.S. was quite appropriate.  It could, however, lead the North Koreans to retaliate.  War might be only a hypothetical possibility; but selling their nuclear missiles to terrorists has realistic potential."


IRELAND:  "North Korean Talks"


The center-left Irish Times declared (8/28):  "Why the fuss?....  Not so, says the US--classical deterrence theory presumes rational actors and Kim Jong-il cannot be depended on to behave rationally if he believes his survival is at stake....  The other parties to the talks...share that rationale and fears for regional stability. The hope is that their presence may make more realizable a deal which will trade nuclear disarmament for economic aid and security guarantees. It will not be easy, although reports suggest Pyongyang is reconciled to giving up its nuclear a price. The US Administration is under domestic pressure not to be seen to reward North Korea for fulfilling broken promises agreed in 1994, and may have to swallow the pill of accepting formally ‘regime change’ is not on its agenda. Such concessions will not come easy to the current White House, but the option of opening another front in the ‘war against terrorism’ is simply not on, particularly when its regional allies, South Korea and Japan, are such strong supporters of dialogue. That North Korea cannot be trusted to honor any agreement is a given--a tough inspection regime will have to form part of any agreement.  But that is not a reason for not trying.”


ROMANIA:  "North Korean WMD"


Simona Haiduc commented in business-oriented Curentul (8/27):  “Are Pyongyang’s threats, that it has announced it already has several atomic bombs, real?  Allowing that the North Korean regime has enough plutonium, does it have also the technological capacity to create nuclear warheads?  These are the many questions that no one can answer, not even the American secret services.  Anyway, Pyongyang’s warnings still remain very real, and until proven otherwise, they cannot be ignored.”


SLOVENIA:  "Hexagon Vs. Pentagon"


Zorana Bakovic wrote in left-of-center Delo (9/1):  "The Chinese were constructing the hexagonal table [preparing the meeting]...for several months....  They urged the Americans to at least try to negotiate with Kim Jong Il’s government...and with severe threats helped the North Koreans realize that the nuclear question should be discussed in an international framework, rather than being regarded as a bilateral issue.  The Chinese diplomats are not so naïve as to believe that one round of negotiations can guarantee peace in their immediate neighborhood; they wished to at least erect a hexagonal negotiating table to stand facing the war cries constantly coming from the Pentagon....  The meeting is the best thing that happened on the continent.  Even if the conference doesn't result in optimal success--i.e. peaceful disarmament of North Korea, economic reforms, and opening to the world--it is important that an international network has been woven around North Korea and that resolutions are sought within it; therewith, American unilateralism, Chinese autism, and Japanese opportunism are outweighed, which--if combined--are the most dangerous fertilizer for North Korean nuclear paranoia....  Pessimists will say that nothing has changed after the [meeting]....  However, the events that happened before the meeting offer some ground for moderate optimism....  Chinese rigorousness has somewhat decreased Kim Jong Il’s courage for challenging the Americans."




CHINA:  “On Stage And Behind The Curtain At The Six-Way Talks”


Xu Jincheng and He Yingqi stated in official Communist Party-run Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (9/1):  “Analysts think that one can’t simply take North Korea’s declaration at face-value because this is not the first time that North Korea has made this kind of declaration.  North Korea’s declaration may be simply a negotiating tactic.”


“6-Party Talks Wind Up”


Hu Xiao commented in the official English-language China Daily (8/30):  “The parties are all committed to resolving the nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to bringing about a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula....  The parties maintain that there should be a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, while the parties have all become aware of the fact that there is a need to consider and address the concerns of DPRK in a wide range of areas, including its security concerns.  The parties agree to explore an overall plan that is fair and reasonable in approach, aimed at producing a solution with phased in and synchronized, or parallel, stages of implementation.  The parties agree not to say anything or take any action that may escalate tensions or aggravate the situation as long as such talks proceed.  The parties agree that dialogue should continue to establish trust, reduce differences and broaden common ground.  The parties agree that the six-party talks should continue, and the specific date and venue should be decided through diplomatic channels as soon as possible.”


“Japan The Big Winner At Six-Way Talks”


Li Ying commented in official Xinhua News Agency-run international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (8/29):  “The six-way talks are a very important step that concerned parties have taken in pursuing security and peace in Northeast Asia.  However, Japan’s ‘package sales strategy’ has diverted off course, introducing unstable factors into the resolution of the nuclear issue and Northeast Asia’s security mechanisms....  Taking Japan’s behavior into account, it’s hard for people to have confidence that the talks will make security in Northeast Asia a reality.  Moreover, Japan may actually intend to not resolve the issue.  If the nuclear issue can't be resolved, then Japan can continue to use the ‘North Korea threat’ as an excuse to...expand militarily under the banner of ‘defense’ in order to improve its fighting capabilities."


“China The Motor Of Six-Way Talks”


Zhu Feng opined in official Xinhua News Agency-run international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (8/29):  “Although China is not directly involved in the nuclear crisis, as a responsible big country, China will not allow the nuclear crisis to develop in a negative direction.  China has the determination to be a constructive influence in settling the crisis, and has the confidence to guarantee that the crisis move toward diplomatic and political resolution through enhancing communication, negotiation and cooperation among relevant countries.”


“Fate Of Six-Way Talks Depends On U.S. Attitude”


Zhao Jiaming argued in official Communist Party-run People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (8/28):  “The U.S. should not expect the DPRK to give up its nuclear deterrence for just an oral commitment to ‘security guarantees,’ but rather for a clear change in U.S. policy toward the DPRK and an agreement to sign a non-aggression treaty....  The talks should be used as a way to exert international pressure on each side to dismantle its arms.  The talks should apply the principle of simultaneous action to settle the nuclear issue, and not the unjust and unequal principle of ‘empty words in exchange for action.’....  The U.S. shoulders the ‘basic responsibility’ for the nuclear issue.  Whether the talks are successful or not depends on the U.S.’ attitude.”


“World Attention On Six-Way Talks"


Song Nianshen and Sun Yuaner stated in official Communist Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (8/27):  “The U.S. maintains a conservative attitude toward the talks....  Recently the U.S. staged a series of military exercises aimed at the DPRK...which were all taken as actions to exert pressure before the talks.”


“Economic Interests Important Factor To Improve U.S.-DPRK Relations”


Official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun) remarked (8/27):  “South Korea, Japan, the U.S., ASEAN and China form a complex network of international specialization within which the members are mutually-dependent.  A confrontation between the U.S. and the DPRK would paralyze the system....  A DPRK-U.S. confrontation would also harm the U.S.’ interests in East Asia....  Therefore the U.S. government hopes that the nuclear issue can be settled through negotiation, at least before the U.S. election.”


“Delegations From Four Countries Arrive In Beijing For Six-Way Talks”


Xin Huaishi remarked in official Communist Party-run People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (8/26):  “The delegations from Russia, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. arrived in Beijing on August 25 for the six-way talks.  The DPRK delegation is expected to arrive in the morning on August 26....  China consistently has advocated peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, has supported non-nuclearization, has advocated for consideration of the DPRK’s reasonable security concerns and has promoted the idea that all parties involved solve the nuclear issue through dialogue....  The six-way talks in Beijing mark an important step toward the peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue.”


“U.S. Troops Approach China By Maneuvering Westward”


Zeng Xiao commented in official Xinhua News Agency-run international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (8/22):  “Every move the American military makes always has multiple purposes.  This time the U.S. is using the DPRK threat as an excuse for its military deployment.  Actually its long-term plan is to contain China’s military forces that sit to the west of the Korean peninsula....  Moreover, given the possible positive response from Japan, the U.S.’ theater missile defense system in Northeast Asia will over time become perfected.  A military alliance led by the U.S. bears a major influence on the security framework of the Northeast Asia.  China must face up to the more complex regional security situation.”


“Number-crunching The 6-Way Talks”


Ni Xiayun held in official Xinhua News Agency-run international International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (8/22):  “As to the issue of maintaining a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, the score is 5 to 1....  Security guarantees: 3 to 2 to 1.  The DPRK and the U.S. still argue about whether the format of a security guarantee should be a ‘treaty’ or an ‘agreement.’  China, Russia and South Korea all advocate a ‘collective security guarantee’ for DPRK....  One imagines that Japan will be at the U.S.’ side....  Economic assistance: The big ‘X.’  From what the U.S. media had disclosed, the possibility exists that the U.S. will provide economic assistance to the DPRK.”


CHINA (MACAU & HONG KONG SARS):  "Talks On A Nuclear-free Korea Have Just Begun"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (8/30):  "The biggest achievement was that the six parties had agreed to sit down at the hexagonal table and sought to thrash out their differences in the first place.  North Korea had, until recently, been steadfastly opposed to multilateral talks.  While neither Pyongyang nor Washington appears to have softened its position on North Korea's proliferation of nuclear weapons, they at least managed to keep talking for the scheduled three days.  There was no petulant walkout, and the discussions did not collapse.  The first objective, then, has been achieved.  More promising still is the six-point consensus disclosed late yesterday by Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister Wang Yi.  If every participant sticks to the agreement, it will at least provide a firm foundation for future negotiations.  It sets out the commitment of all six nations to resolving the standoff through peaceful negotiation, and their belief in a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.  A broad road map for a phased solution that is fair and reasonable is to be secured, with North Korean concerns in a wide range of areas--including security--to be dealt with. This is an ambitious program, and it is currently lacking detail.  But it is a start."


"Settle The DPRK Nuclear Crisis With Rationality And Patience"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao remarked (8/30):  "Whether or not the DPRK nuclear crisis can be settled peacefully in the end does not rely solely on China, but also on the efforts of both the DPRK and the U.S.  On the one hand, the six-party talks in Beijing did make some progress.  On the other hand, it is clear that the talks did not achieve any substantial results or breakthroughs.  There is still a big gap between the two countries' positions.  Whether the DRPK nuclear issue can be settled peacefully remains uncertain.  Both sides made some unharmonious noises during and after the talks.  The mutual hostility and distrust between the two, which have been building for half a century, cannot be resolved in such a short period of time....  The DPRK, the U.S. and other parties involved view the six-party talks in Beijing as an opportunity.  They should use their political and diplomatic wisdom and continue to advance the six-party talks rationally and patiently."


"Keeping The Talks Going Is Most Important"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (8/28):  "Even though the U.S. and the DPRK have different stances, views and opinions, they do have much in common.  Both sides should make use of these commonalities to reach consensus and mutual understanding.  They should find an opportunity to reach a political compromise, the reason behind the six-party talks....  Northeast Asia and the U.S. need a peaceful and stable environment to develop their domestic and regional economies.  The U.S., Japan and South Korea are the most important economic nations in the world.  An unstable regional environment will affect their local economies....  The DPRK urgently needs to boost its economy to fight famine and improve the livelihood of its people.  In order to do this, it needs to improve its relationships with neighboring countries.  In essence, economic considerations should be driving the six-nation talks."


JAPAN:  "'Dialogue' And 'Pressure' Necessary To Resolve North Korean Nuclear Issue"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (8/30):  "It is regrettable that there was no progress at the six-way Beijing talks that came to a close with the U.S. and DPRK remaining sharply at odds over two key issues--the U.S. insistence on the DPRK's immediate and unconditional halt in its nuclear development and the DPRK's call for a non-aggression pact with the U.S.  But all six participating nations managed to adopt and maintain a new framework of negotiations as they agreed on the next round of talks.  The U.S., Japan and South Korea need to intensify 'dialogue' and 'pressure' tactics to bring the North to future negotiations, while working closely with China and Russia."


"Press DPRK Harder For A Nuclear-Free Korean Peninsula!"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (8/30):  "The six-way Beijing talks ended without any tangible progress toward a solution to the North Korean nuclear issue.  Showing no positive stance toward abandoning its nuclear program, the North indicated its readiness to go nuclear and even threatened to conduct nuclear tests.  Pyongyang thus escalated its defiance toward the world community.  The six nations were unable to agree on a date and venue for the next round of talks, but decided to discuss through diplomatic channels when and where they would meet again.  However, there will be no progress at future talks unless North Korea changes its attitude.  The international community needs to apply greater pressure on the North to abandon its nuclear program."


"DPRK's Unpardonable Abduction Diplomacy"


Moderate, top-circulation Yomiuri declared (8/29):  "At their sideline bilateral in Beijing on Thursday, Japan and the DPRK failed to close their gap on the abduction issue. Japan can hardly accept the North's 'abduction diplomacy.'  As long as the abduction issue remains unresolved, Japan will not normalize relations with North Korea. The North should realize that Japan would not start full-scale economic assistance before relations are normalized."     


"Nuclear Development Is Not The Only Threat From DPRK"


Conservative Sankei editorialized (8/28):  "We welcome that at the opening-day session of the Beijing talks, all other participating nations urged the North to suspend its nuclear development. It is also meaningful that Japan brought up the abduction issue at this 'historic' multilateral meeting to show that the nuclear issue is not the only threat from the North. Despite all this, Pyongyang is trying to conclude a non-aggression pact with Washington and prevent the US from obstructing economic assistance from Tokyo and Seoul in order to ensure the survival of the Kim Jong Il regime.  At the just-started Beijing talks, the North is not only quiet about the abduction issue, but has also reportedly complied with Japan's request for a bilateral on the issue....  Although these moves are nothing but North Korea's tactics to get a U.S. guarantee of security, they can hardly sway the Bush administration's hard-line policy....  Given the North's breach of the 1994 Agreed Framework and its nuclear development, the US will no longer make any compromise. Pyongyang should realize that it cannot get any economic aid unless it gives up on its nuclear development in a verifiable, complete and irreversible manner."          

"U.S. Applying 'Calm' Pressure On North Korea"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Beijing correspondent Ito observed (8/28):  "A/S Kelly, the chief US delegate to the six-way Beijing talks, reportedly made a considerable compromise during the first-day session of the talks by hinting at a 'certain measure of' security guarantee and economic aid in return for the North's complete suspension of its nuclear program.  It has become clear (through an unidentified source) that during a meeting with their Japanese and South Korean counterparts the day before the start of the talks, US delegates suggested that the US would not take a hard-line stance in Beijing. But this does not mean a shift in the US stance from 'pressure' to 'reconciliation,' as the US renewed its criticism of the North's drug smuggling and forgery. The US aims solely at applying 'calm' pressure on North Korea, while trying to prevent the North from leaving the meeting halfway through, ruining the Beijing talks."   


"First, DPRK Must Give Up Its Nuclear Development"


Liberal Mainichi editorialized (8/27):  "The three-day talks opening in Beijing today are, indeed, a historic event, with six nations--the US, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia and DPRK--sitting at the same table to find a peaceful settlement of the North Korean nuclear issue. But given the fact that the DPRK is poles apart from the US, Japan and South Korea on the nuclear and abduction issues, we can hardly be optimistic about any immediate progress at the talks.  Two other participants in the talks--China (sponsor of the talks) and Russia--strongly believe that their attendance will serve their national interests....  There is even a strong likelihood that North Korea will take advantage of their diplomatic 'motives' to divide and rule the US and Japan. We propose that the US, Japan and South Korea become more patient and unified in urging North Korea to suspend its nuclear development--the only option for the North's survival. First and foremost, the North must give up its nuclear development."


"DPRK Cannot Play For Time"


An editorial in liberal Asahi read (8/26):  "The heart of six-way talks, starting Wednesday in Beijing, is how participants in the talks can successfully make North Korea realize that only a halt to nuclear development--not nuclear arms development--will contribute toward its national survival. But the Kim Jong Il leadership, unless given a guarantee of non-aggression or security, will not abandon its nuclear weapons program. Given this, there will be little progress at the three-day  Beijing talks....  But nations concerned cannot waste any time at the Beijing talks, thus allowing North Korea to play for enough time to accelerate its nuclear development. The longer a settlement of the North Korean nuclear standoff is delayed, the more likely it is for the North to make its nuclear armament an established fact. The participants in the talks should urge the North to immediately stop reprocessing nuclear fuel rods for production of plutonium-type nuclear weapons. The North must suspend its nuclear development immediately."          


"US Downplays Prospects For Progress At Talks"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai Beijing correspondents Akita and Uchiyama observed (8/26):  "The US is trying to lay the foundation for a continuing round of future talks rather than trying to make significant progress at the August 27-29 talks. A senior State Department official has already suggested during a press briefing in Washington that the Beijing talks will serve as a starting point for future talks, thus 'downgrading' expectations for negotiations prior to the start of talks.  The USG is trying to reduce expectations in light of the continued strong position toward the DPRK being taken by DOD and Republican officials....  Although Assistant Secretary of State Kelly, chief US delegate to the talks, said he was looking forward to a direct and frank exchange of views and opinions at the talks, a USG source hinted that the US proposal being submitted at the talks would not include significant economic relief for the North." 


"DPRK's Threat Is Not Just Nuclear Weapons"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (8/24):  "The U.S., Japan and others need to accelerate the pace of the six-way talks, starting Wednesday in Beijing, in order to stop the DPRK from playing for time enough to accelerate its nuclear development program. The North, which leaves the abduction issue unresolved, has reportedly deployed medium-range Rodong missiles, posing a serious threat to Japan's security.  If the US, Japan and other participants readily comply with the North's call for a security guarantee and economic aid in exchange for suspending its nuclear development program, it will run counter to both regional security and Japan's interests....  The North has reportedly deployed 200 Rodong missiles, bringing a large part of Japan within their range.  If these missiles are armed with chemical warheads, they will become as dreadful as nuclear weapons. If the US guarantees the North with non-aggression, there are concerns that the US-Japan alliance will lose substance."   


INDONESIA:  "Korean Peninsula:  Six-Way Talks" 


Christian-oriented afternoon-published Sinar Harapan commented (8/27):  “After months of diplomacy, finally the six-party talks in Beijing began today 8/27 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program and find a peaceful solution on the peninsula....  Many parties believe the talks will not likely produce any breakthroughs except a deal to hold follow-up meetings.  Even if this were the case, we would still hail them because the talks constitute a way to make North Korea use more civilized ways in seeking solutions to the issue.  We clearly do not support the patterns of threats that have been shown both by Pyongyang and Washington....  We hope, should this turn out to be a tough and long process, the U.S. and its allies should not use it to directly take unilateral steps as they did in Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein without UN consent.”


MALAYSIA:  "North Korea’s Offer To Negotiate Can Help Ease Tensions"


Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times contended (8/30):  "Pyongyang says that it is prepared to terminate its program, but wants a security guarantee from the U.S. that it will not attack North Korea.  It also seeks economic assistance.  This seems a most reasonable request, and one the U.S. should find easy to accept.  In return for a simple non-aggression pact and some assistance, the U.S. will be able to demand an intrusive weapons inspection regime that will ensure that North Korea terminates its program and disposes of whatever nuclear weapons it may have....  It is most unlikely that any progress will be made, however, if both North Korea and the U.S. are unable to make some fundamental changes to their approach.  Pyongyang will have to stop its bluster if not its brinkmanship.  It must cease making blood-curdling threats like 'World War Three.'  This only helps those it perceives as its antagonists to further demonise it.  Pyongyang cannot afford this, because already it is laboring under a huge public relations deficit, and is unable to present its case properly to the world.  Its best interests would also be much better served if it devotes more of its scarce resources on feeding its people and improving their lives rather than on Pekodosan-1 missiles.  On the part of the U.S., a less aggressive approach will yield better results.  It is noteworthy that none of North Korea's neighbours is as hawkish as the U.S.  Talk of regime change and preemptive attacks make matters worse.  North Korea is in dire straits, but its worst days are over."


SOUTH KOREA: “Now The Ball Is In U.S.' Court”


Park Woo-chung wrote in nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun (9/2):  “The U.S. is largely responsible for the six-way talks’ failure to produce a breakthrough.  The U.S. did not come to the talks with an advanced, forward-looking proposal due to the fierce discord between its hardliners and moderates.  Rather, it presented much tougher negotiations terms, saying that only if issues regarding the North’s missiles, conventional weapons, illegal trafficking in drugs and counterfeit money, and human rights were resolved, it would normalize its relations with the North....  It is natural that Pyongyang responded angrily to such an insincere U.S. attitude....  After all, now the ball is in the U.S.' court.  It is no exaggeration to say that the success of future talks depends on how Washington will respond to the North’s demand for a change in its hostile policy and to the North’s four-stage parallel (or synchronized) solution to the current nuclear standoff.”


“North Korea Must Act Reasonably And Abandon Its Nuclear Program”


Conservative Chosun Ilbo held (9/1):  “Shortly after the first round of six-party talks ended in Beijing, the North hinted that it might not participate in the next round of the talks, arguing that it has no other option but to strengthen its nuclear deterrence as a self-defense measure.  However, considering the North’s long-standing practice of threatening to ruin everything when things do not proceed as it pleases, there is no reason to make a row about the North Korean move....  The next round of six-party talks must start with efforts to get the North to abandon its nuclear program and to return its nuclear status to what it was ten years ago.  Then negotiations will be able to move along in two directions: One would be the international community’s verification of the North’s abandonment of its nuclear program and the other would be the provision of a security assurance or economic aid to the North.  Once Pyongyang agrees to give up its nuclear ambitions, the issue of how to implement the agreements--such as whether to implement them simultaneously or not--could be worked out more easily than one might think.  Furthermore, no additional compromises should be made to lure North Korea into participating in the next round of talks.”


“If Six-Party Talks Are To Continue”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun commented (9/1):  “North Korea’s tough remarks in the wake of recent six-party talks must be interpreted as an expression of its discontent with the U.S., not an indication of its intent not to participate in future talks....  Among the six-point consensus, issued by the host country China at the end of the talks, we cannot help but stress the importance of an agreement that all concerned parties should seek ‘parallel or synchronized’ solutions to the nuclear issue for the sake of the continuation and success of six-way talks.  Given the U.S.’s previous demand that the North first dismantle its nuclear programs, such an agreement is a significant development.  Now, as it is unclear whether or not the U.S. made an explicit agreement on the issue, it is important for the U.S. to reconfirm and flesh out its willingness toward the issue.  While talks continue, we urge Pyongyang not to push ahead with its plan to develop nuclear weapons and Washington to refrain from making provocative moves against the North.”


“Compromise And Concession Needed To Resolve The North Korean Nuclear Issue”


Independent Dong-a Ilbo declared (8/30):  “The most significant accomplishment of recent six-way talks in Beijing is that all the participants presented concrete ideas on how to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.  Although it is regrettable that the U.S. and North Korea failed to narrow their differences, the talks did lay the foundation for further dialogue.  In addition, the fact that the talks proceeded as scheduled and that the participating countries agreed to continue to talk are also fortunate results of the Beijing talks.  The task now at hand is for each party to objectively analyze various proposals presented during the talks, in order to find common ground at the next round of talks....  Compromise and concession are needed at this stage to settle the North Korean problem peacefully.  If the North continues to demand a ‘comprehensive deal calling for synchronized actions’ and the U.S. insists on Pyongyang’s abandonment of nuclear weapons first, resolution of the issue is unlikely.”


“Participants In Six-Party Talks Must Call For Continued Dialogue”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (8/29):  “It would be impossible to resolve pending security issues threatening peace on the Korean peninsula--including the North’s nuclear and missile issues--with one-time talks between concerned parties.  Accordingly, the participants in the six-party talks should have patience to go through a long process of building trust amongst themselves.  This is why these talks are being described as the ‘start of a long and difficult march.’  Considering Washington’s unclear attitude toward negotiations, due to its fierce discord between the hardliners and moderates, the participating countries need to make clear their unfaltering will to keep the momentum of dialogue (in the form of a written agreement).”


“The Need For Six-Party Talks To Focus Solely On North Korea’s Nuclear Issue”


Moon Chung-in opined in moderate Hankook Ilbo (8/28):  “In order to make these six-way nuclear talks successful, it is very important for concerned parties to focus solely on the North Korean nuclear issue.  According to some media reports, the U.S. intends to bring up issues regarding the North’s missile programs, biochemical weapons and human rights--as well as its nuclear problem--during the talks.  In addition, Japan seems poised to raise the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in its bilateral contact with the North on the sidelines of the talks.  However, the concerned parties must realize that this could drive the talks toward catastrophe....  Once the nuclear issue is resolved, trust will possibly increase among the parties and based on this, they may find it easier to find solutions to other security and human rights issues.”   


“The Need To Move Beyond North Korea’s Nuclear Issue”


Kim Young-hi opined in independent Joong-Ang Ilbo (8/27):  “The current nuclear crisis resulted from two factors: One is that Pyongyang ran a clandestine nuclear program in violation of the Geneva Accord and the other is that the Bush Administration nullified the Clinton Administration’s North Korea policy.  While former President Clinton had a clear road map for getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions and ultimately normalizing relations between the two countries, President Bush has no North Korea policy except his strong resolve to deter the North from possessing and proliferating weapons of mass destruction.  The key to resolving the nuclear issue is to approach the problem in a broader framework of overall North Korea and Korean peninsula issues.  This is because North Korean issues are the issues of the Korean peninsula and furthermore, of Northeast Asia....  In this regard, Washington must present its North Korea policy, and this six-party meeting needs to have its sights on establishing a Northeast Asia version of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).”


“North Korea Must Not Lose Its Last Opportunity”


Independent Dong-a Ilbo held (8/27):  “For the upcoming six-way talks to produce significant results, Pyongyang must adopt a different attitude than it has in the past.  If it continues to resort to nuclear brinkmanship, as it did during the April three-way talks, the hard-line voices in the U.S. will become stronger and tensions will increase on the peninsula.  The North must understand that its brinkmanship tactics based on the idea that ‘concessions are equal to death’ will not pay off any more....  The ROK, on the other hand, should participate in the talks with the aim of establishing permanent peace on the peninsula.  It must work hard to produce a sure solution--not simply an incomplete stopgap measure such as the 1994 Geneva Accord--in order to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programs in a verifiable and irreversible fashion.  To do so, it is vital to strengthen cooperation between the ROK, the U.S. and Japan.”


“U.S. Must Not Ruin Dialogue Mood”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankoyreh Shinmun declared (8/27):  “Faced with media reports that during the six-way talks, the U.S. will bring up issues regarding the North’s missiles, biochemical weapons and human rights, as well as its nuclear problem, we cannot help but worry that such a U.S. stance might provoke a harsh reaction from the North and ruin the mood of the talks....  If the U.S. holds fast to its hard-line stance, it will cast a dark cloud over the talks, and will inevitably come under criticism for obstructing the progress of the talks....  Concerned parties must recognize that the particular tone in the initial stages of the talks will have a decisive impact on the results.”


“Washington’s Lackadaisical Attitude Toward Nuclear Talks"


Kim Dae-joong wrote in conservative Chosun Ilbo (8/26):  “The main reason Washington does not expect much from the upcoming six-way talks is due to soured ROK-U.S. relations....  President Roh’s remarks on self-defense and anti-U.S. demonstrations by the radical student activist group Hanchongryun appear to be shocking the U.S. while giving the North a certain confidence.  Given this, it is difficult for Washington to unconditionally trust the ROK, which is supposed to be ‘on its side.’  It also seems to have no intention of discussing strategies regarding North Korea with the ROK.  This is why the U.S. is showing a lackadaisical attitude toward the six-way talks.  If the U.S. becomes cornered by the North’s offensive backed by China and Russia, while the ROK showing an ambiguous attitude, then Washington might decide to change its approach. ”


“Principles That Must Be Observed At Six-way Talks”


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo declared (8/26):  “Faced with six-way talks, which are expected to go through many twists and turns in the process, Seoul must remember a few principles.  First of all, it must keep in mind that a nuclear-armed North Korea cannot be tolerated since Pyongyang’s nuclear activities are undeniable violations of the 1992 inter-Korean pact on the denuclearization of the peninsula....  In addition, Seoul must make it clear that it opposes force as a means to bring an end to the North’s nuclear ambitions, at the same time it should not oppose a carrot-and-stick strategy and be open to using both dialogue and pressure.  Furthermore, Seoul must not speak of its economic aid package at the beginning of the talks.  That can come later at the talks.”


“Pinning Hopes On Six-party Talks”


Moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (8/26):  “Given the importance of the six-party talks that may seal our national fate, the ROK must not act simply as a mediator between the U.S. and North Korea but rather be proactive in presenting a realistic and reasonable solution to the current standoff.  Now that the success of the talks hinges on the U.S. and the North, we hope that this meeting will serve as a good first step toward breaking down the present barriers of mistrust between the two countries....  We urge Pyongyang to make clear its intent to halt its nuclear programs and Washington to open its mind and acknowledge the North Korean regime.”


“Concerned Parties Must Concentrate Every Ounce Of Energy On Six-way Talks”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun opined (8/26):  “We cannot overemphasize the importance of the six-way talks involving the two Koreas and neighboring powers--the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.  This meeting will virtually be our last chance to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully.  If we miss this precious opportunity, then Washington’s policy of pressuring Pyongyang will gain more momentum and Pyongyang’s hard-line response will further heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula....  The success of the talks depends on how serious of an attitude the U.S. and North Korea will assume.  If they try to use the talks to force unilateral concessions from the other, to buy more time, or to accumulate justifications, these talks will end in failure....  We strongly urge all concerned parties to concentrate every last ounce of their energy on making the talks a good opportunity to secure peace and security on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia.” 


“Beijing Six-way Talks Are Catching Global Eye”


Conservative Segye Ilbo declared (8/25):  “Given the large differences in position among the U.S., North Korea and diverging interests of participating countries in the upcoming six-way talks, these talks may not be the end of negotiations but rather the start of them.  Thus, participating countries must realize that this is the last chance to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and exert every possible effort to make the talks successful, and exercise considerable patience.  In this regard, it would be desirable for each nation to start by working to 'regularize talks,’ rather than trying to resolve all outstanding issues in one stroke....  It is quite encouraging that the U.S. delegation to the talks excludes hardliners and consists of working-level officials....  Rather than trying to mediate between the U.S. and the North, Seoul must do its best to convince Pyongyang to address issues coordinated among the U.S., the ROK and Japan.”


“Guarding Against Sentimental Approach To Six-party Talks”


Hong Soon-young wrote in independent Dong-a Ilbo (8/25):  “The ROK must come to the six-way talks bearing in mind the possibility of talks being prolonged.  In addition, it must note that any sentimental approach to the North Korean nuclear issue focusing either on ‘national cooperation’ or on cooperation with the U.S. has no relevance to resolving the issue and securing peace on the peninsula.  Inter-Korean cooperation and exchanges have yet to become a leverage to deter Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons....  The ROK must make clear to the North that its development of nuclear weapons is a serious provocation to all parties within the region--including the ROK--and the world, and that the six-party talks are the best chance for the North to be back on the road to peace and prosperity....  Furthermore, the ROK must continuously consult with China and Russia because their understanding and support will be influential to the North....  In particular, the ROK must not lose sight of the fact that cooperation with China is as important as cooperation with the U.S. and Japan....  If concerned parties exchange their basic perceptions of the situation and find common ground during the six-party talks, the talks may be called successful.”


VIETNAM:  "Positive Signal From Beijing"


Hong Ky wrote in army-run Quan Doi Nhan Dan (8/28):  "Although six parties participate in the negotiation on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, everyone knows that the real confrontation is between the US and North Korea...and that U.S. and North Korean positions will virtually be the decisive factors....  Due to great differences in the six parties' positions, observers say that it is unlikely that there will be a breakthrough in the negotiation in Beijing this time.  However, the fact that the six concerned parties sit together for the first time to talk about the most thorny and sensitive issue in North Asia is itself a positive signal.  The negotiation also sees a concession by North Korea when the country dropped its demand to negotiate only with the US to participate in a multiparty negotiation."


"Good Start...."


La Mich Nhu contended in official Vietnam Confederation of Trade Unions-run Lao Dong (8/28):  "The start of the multiparty talks has been good, but it does not assure that there will be a good result.  There are three possible reasons.  First, the issue is so complex and sensitive that three days are not enough for the parties to agree on fundamental principles for a solution, let alone specific details of a solution....  Secondly, each countries pursues its own interests in this issue, and at the very present it is difficult to reach a solution that satisfy all those interests.  The countries agreed to come to Beijing just to at least defend their interests and hope that the others will gradually concede.  Lastly, all the countries involved benefit from the fact that the talks are held.  No one of them want to be seen as hindering efforts to lead to a political solution.  That they have come is one thing, the development of the talks is completely another thing."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "North Korea"


The liberal Mercury commented (8/29):  "In contrast with much of the world, something positive seems to be happening in the Far East....  The talks in Beijing...are very much exploratory. But that they should be taking place at all is remarkable progress, given the shrillness of the discourse from North Korea's side until now.  At the heart of the problem is that North very close to economic collapse, its people starving. It needs the assistance of the outside world. Rapprochement with the sundered South Korea is an obvious avenue, and initiatives in that direction have indeed begun. But North Korea's rulers find it psychologically very difficult to engage with a system which is so different from their own and so demonstrably more successful. Hence the shrillness, coupled with machismo. Also, the US intervention in Iraq--also named a rogue state--has no doubt alarmed the North Koreans. Could they be next?  The current talks suggest otherwise. North Korea requires a combination of tact and firmness. That appears to be the agenda."


ZIMBABWE: "N. Korea Reverts To Stirring Nuke Tension”


The pro-government weekly Sunday Mirror maintained (8/31):  "It took less than a day for North Korea to break one of the modest agreements it had reached with the U.S. and four other nations during talks on its nuclear program: a promise not to say anything to aggravate the 10-month-old nuclear standoff....  North Korea has made similar threats before, and its trademark bluster often fails to draw urgent reactions from the ones it wants to threaten.  Instead, the region’s dialogue partners...see the isolated country’s harsh rhetoric as reflecting its entrenched mistrust of Americans and fear for the survival of its own totalitarian regime.  Should the U. S. provide free oil shipments, open diplomatic ties, provide economic and humanitarian aid and sign a non-aggression pact before North Korea feels safe to abandon its nuclear facilities?  Or should the North scrap its nuclear program before Washington improves relations?  The obvious issue at hand is that both sides deeply mistrust each other and until that changes, the U. S. and North Korea will continue to play their cat and mouse game.  With the Iraq invasion still fresh on the mind, the North has every reason to mistrust the U. S., which has promised massive economic aid if Pyongyang drops its nuclear arms program."




MEXICO:  “Non Proliferation: A Hypocritical Attack”


Left-of-center La Jornada observed (8/28):  “The terrible decision made by Pyongyang (the creation of nuclear weapons), was provoked (partially) by the hostilities that Washington has shown to North Korea and by the accomplished intimidations from the Bush administration against Afghanistan and Iraq. After the occupation and destruction of those nations by the American army, the North Korean regime--which is, in effect a warlike and delirious dictatorship--had enough reasons to feel threatened. Due to the fact that neither international legality nor the counter balance of other powerful nations were capable of halting the violent occupations led by the White House against those unfortunate Islamic nations, Pyongyang’s authorities concluded that another nuclear threat could be the only solution capable of halting Bush, in case he decided, for economic or internal policy reasons, or just due to his natural tendency to provoke others and to lead wars, that North Korea would be the next destination  for the Marines after Afghanistan and Iraq.”  ##

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