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February 10th, 2005, 09:35 AM
February 10, 2005

North Korea Says It Has Nuclear Weapons and Rejects Talks


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/t.gifOKYO, Feb. 10 - In a surprising admission, North Korea's hard-line Communist government declared publicly for the first time today that it has nuclear weapons. It also said that it will boycott United States-sponsored regional talks designed to end its nuclear program, according to a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement transmitted today by the reclusive nation's wire service.

Pyongyang said it has "manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's undisguised policy to isolate and stifle" North Korea, and that it will "bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal."

The statement, considered a definitive policy pronouncement, said that North Korea is pulling out of the talks after concluding that the second Bush administration would pursue the "brazen-faced, double-dealing tactics" of dialogue and "regime change."

Four hours before the official Korean Central News Agency transmitted the pullout statement, a top Bush administration official told reporters here that North Korea's return to the nuclear talks was expected by all other participants the United States, Japan, South Korea, Russia and China.

"The onus is really on North Korea," said John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, noting that the last time the parties met was in June.

Referring to North Korea's bomb making capability, he added: "The absence of progress in six-party talks means they are making further progress toward their increased capability."

It is unclear if North Korea is definitively slamming the door to talks or merely trying to raise its price for returning to the bargaining table.

"We are compelled to suspend our participation in the talks for an indefinite period," the statement said, adding that North Korea would only return when "there are ample conditions and atmosphere to expect positive results from the talks."

From Europe, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told RTL television of Luxembourg: "The North Koreans should reassess this and try to end their own isolation." A similar appeal came from Japan, America's closest ally in the region.

"It's better to resume them early," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters about North Korea's decision to boycott the talks. "It would be in North Korea's interest to make use of the six-party forum."

Overall, the statement was a bucket of cold water for analysts who predicted a resumption of talks this spring. Two groups of American congressmen returned last month from visits to Pyongyang with reports that North Korean officials were hinting at an imminent return to the negotiating table.

President Bush, in his State of the Union message last week, avoided the confrontational rhetoric of past speeches in which he branded North Korea as member of "the axis of evil," alongside Iraq and Iran. This time, in his only reference to Pyongyang, he merely said that he was "working with governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions."

But in today's statement, Pyongyang zeroed in on Dr. Rice's testimony last month in her Senate confirmation hearings, where she lumped North Korea with five other dictatorships, calling them "outposts of tyranny."

"The true intention of the second-term Bush administration is not only to further its policy to isolate and stifle the D.P.R.K. pursued by the first-term office, but to escalate it," the statement said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Outside critics and defectors say that North Korea is neither democratic nor popular, since it has been ruled for the last 60 years by the Kim family, an avaricious clan that does not permit multiparty elections or the slightest whisper of dissent. Today Pyongyang told the Bush administration to talk to the kinds of North Koreans it likes.

"We advise the U.S. to negotiate with dealers in peasant markets it claims that are to its liking or with representatives of the organization of North Korean defectors on its payroll, if it wishes to have talks," the statement said.

In the same statement, North Korea also attacked Japan for "toeing the U.S. line." Tokyo has been struggling with mounting popular pressure for economic sanctions. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Koizumi personally received a petition calling for sanctions, signed by five million people.

Japanese anger with North Korea rose sharply last month after Pyong- yang delivered to visiting Japanese dip- lomats two boxes of half-cremated re- mains, said to be of a Japanese woman kidnapped from Japan by North Korean agents in the 1970s. DNA analysis showed that the remains were not of the missing Japanese woman, but of two unidentified people. It is unclear if North Korea, which tightly controls in- formation from the outside world, was aware of DNA technology. Its state- ment today charged that Japan had "fabricated the issue of false re- mains over the abduction issue."

Conservative Japanese increasingly say Mr. Koizumi should call the bluff of what they say is a bankrupt state that routinely hides behind scary bluster.

"At first, we should make economic sanctions," Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo's conservative governor said in an interview this afternoon, just before North Korea's nuclear weapons vow was made public.

"At the second stage, let them bomb Japan with that nasty missile," Mr. Ishihara taunted with sarcasm in his voice as he spoke in his office, in Tokyo's tallest building. "Their missile cannot load a nuclear warhead." Asked what Japan would do in response to a missile attack, Mr. Ishihara merely smiled.

The United States has said that North Korea has up to eight nuclear bombs. But, it has never exploded a nuclear device.

One year ago, Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the nuclear weapons laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., toured Yongbyon, North Korea's main known nuclear facility. Although North Korea apparently organized the visit to persuade Americans of their nuclear weapons prowess, Dr. Hecker returned home saying that he was not convinced North Korea could build a working nuclear bomb and mount it on a missile.

Half a century after the Korean War, North Korea has not signed a formal peace treaty with South Korea and its main ally, the United States. In September 1991, in an effort to denuclearize the divided peninsula, President George H..W. Bush announced the withdrawal of all American tactical weapons from South Korea, totaling about 100. In December 1991, both Koreas signed a formal agreement pledging not to produce, test or store nuclear weapons.

Over the next decade, South Korea conducted what now appear to be several minor, disconnected experiments in technology related to nuclear weapons. North Korea agreed to seal a plutonium-based nuclear program. But in 2002, an American official confronted Pyongyang with evidence that it had been cheating on its nuclear promises, maintaining a covert uranium enrichment program.

In response, North Korea expelled international inspectors from Yongbyon, announced that it was quitting the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and said it was building up what it ambiguously called its "nuclear deterrent." The six-nation disarmament talks started in Beijing in August 2003, but have not yielded any tangible results.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 19th, 2005, 09:01 AM
September 19, 2005

N. Korea agrees to give up nuclear program

Joint statement calls for security, energy assurances

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Nearly three years after ordering U.N. nuclear inspectors out of the country, North Korea Monday agreed to give up its entire nuclear program, including weapons, a joint statement from six-party nuclear arms talks in Beijing said.

"This is the most important result since the six-party talks started more than two years ago," said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Beijing's envoy, in a report from The Associated Press.

In exchange, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea have "stated their willingness" to provide energy assistance to North Korea, as well as promote economic cooperation.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards," the statement said.

The World Food Program has said that North Korea is headed toward the worst humanitarian food crisis since the mid 1990s, when an estimated 1 million North Koreans died. WFP says 6.5 million North Koreans desperately need food aid.

Earlier Monday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said the talks were in their "endgame."

The breakthrough agreement came on what was the seventh day of the fourth round of six-party talks.

A new round of talks has been scheduled for November. Chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill warned that the North Korean disarmament talks could still be a long process, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Prior to the deal, North Korea clung to its position of maintaining a civilian nuclear program, while Washington wanted Pyongyang to forego all nuclear programs.

The negotiations had been deadlocked over North Korea's demand that it keep the right to civilian nuclear programs after it disarms, according to an AP report.

While the joint statement has Pyongyang giving up nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, it also acknowledges that North Korea has stated that it has the the right to "peaceful uses of nuclear energy" and that the provision of a nuclear light-water reactor will be discussed at "an appropriate time."

The joint statement also includes a pledge that Pyongyang and Washington will "respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations" -- a considerable change in the tone in relations between the nations.

In his 2002 State of the Union Address, U.S. President George Bush called North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" that is "arming to threaten the peace of the world." As recently as July, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called North Korea one of six "outposts of tyranny."

In Monday's statement, "the United States affirmed that is has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons," fulfilling North Korea's desire for a security pledge from the United States.

In a rare interview with CNN in the North Korean capital last month, North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Kwan said Pyongyang wanted to pursue a peaceful nuclear program and was willing to adopt "strict supervision" of its nuclear facilities.

Pyongyang ordered U.N. nuclear inspectors out of the country in December 2002, and pulled out of the NPT the following month.

"If someone is concerned with regard to our possible nuclear activities which could lead up to the manufacture of nuclear weapons out of the operations of a light-water nuclear reactor, then we can leave the operations under strict supervision," Kim said, offering to allow the United States a role in monitoring.

"We would like to pursue peaceful nuclear energy power generation and this is a quite urgent issue that faces our nation," he said.

"And this is a very appropriate policy in light of the economic situation of our country. That is why we cannot make a concession in this field."

CNN's Stan Grant contributed to this report.

© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

September 20th, 2005, 11:37 AM
"We give up!"

"Where is our aid?"

TLOZ Link5
September 20th, 2005, 03:00 PM
Sing it with me, fellas.

"How do you solve a problem like Korea...?"

June 18th, 2006, 09:18 PM
North Korea Appears Set to Launch Missile

June 18, 2006
NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/world/asia/18cnd-korea.html)

WASHINGTON, June 18 — North Korea appears to have completed fueling of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, American officials said today, a move that greatly increases the probability that Pyongyang will actually go ahead with a launch.

After analyzing satellite images, American officials said they believed that booster rockets were loaded onto a launch pad and fuel tanks fitted to a missile at a site in North Korea's remote east coast. Fueling a missile is generally considered close to an irreversible step, since it is very hard to siphon fuel back out.

The fueling set off a flurry of diplomatic activity over the weekend, as officials from the United States, Japan and China worked furiously to try to forestall a launch. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to her Japanese and Chinese counterparts, urging the Chinese, in particular, to try to pressure North Korea against firing its Taepodong 2 missile.

Demonstrating how seriously they consider this matter, officials at the State Department telephoned North Korean diplomats at that country's permanent mission to the United Nations in New York, warning them directly against going ahead with a launch.

Such direct contact is highly unusual, since American officials limit their direct talks with their North Korean counterparts. But "we needed to make sure there was no misunderstanding," one senior Bush administration official said today.

In Japan, Foreign Minister Taro Aso warned that a miscalculation could result in the missile landing on Japanese territory. "If it is dropped on Japan, it will complicate the story," he told Japanese television today. "It will be regarded as an attack."

Mr. Aso later toned down his language, saying, "we will not right away view it as a military act," but he said Japan would seek an immediate meeting of the Security Council if Pyongyang goes ahead with the missile launch.

A test of the long-range missile by North Korea would be the first since 1998, when it fired a three-stage Taepodong 1 missile over Japan, catching American intelligence officials by surprise. That led Congress to step up its push for deployment of anti-missile defenses.

A year later, in 1999, North Korea agreed to a moratorium on long-range missile testing and has not fired one since.

But five weeks ago, American officials received satellite images that showed North Korea preparing to test a multiple-stage Taepodong 2 missile. Some Bush administration officials at first suspected that the moves were a grab for attention while Washington's focus was primarily on Iran and a way to press the United States to agree to direct talks. But since then, diplomats on both sides of the Pacific have become increasingly concerned that North Korea does indeed plan to go ahead with a launch.

"Why they are doing this? You will have to ask them," one senior Bush administration official said today. "It is not in anyone's interest; certainly not theirs. For our part, we will not be derailed by their temper tantrums nor have any of our own."

The officials would not be more specific about the information they have received, and most would discuss the matter only after being promised anonymity, saying the sensitive diplomatic and intelligence concerns meant they could not speak for the record.

American knowledge about the Taepodong 2 is limited. The system has never been flight-tested. American intelligence has steadily increased the estimates of its range. In 2001, a National Intelligence Estimate forecast that a three-stage version of the Taepodong 2 missile could reach all of North America with a sizable payload.

The Taepodong 2 is believed to have three stages. The first is thought to be a cluster of North Korea's No Dong missiles; the second stage is believed to be a No Dong missile, and the third stage might be a solid-fueled system, according to experts who have studied what a Taepodong might look like.

A test of the missile would ignite a political chain reaction in Japan, the United States and China. The Bush administration might step up financing for missile defense efforts. Japan might increase its missile defense efforts as well, while hard-liners there might even push to reconsider the nation's nuclear weapons options. Both moves would alienate China.

In North Korea, Pyongyang reportedly told its citizens to raise the national flag at 2 p.m. local time today (1 a.m. Eastern time) and prepare for an announcement on television, a Japanese newspaper said, igniting rumors that a missile test was imminent. But that time came and passed without incident, and American officials say they believe the report was unrelated to a missile test.

North Korea is a secretive Stalinist state and figuring out the motives of its leader, Kim Jong Il, has stymied diplomats for years. But experts say there are two main reasons why the North Korean regime might launch a missile right now.

For one thing, the country's military may well want to verify their missile capability. It has almost eight years since the last missile launch, which occurred in August 1998, and "it may well be that Kim Jong Il is getting a lot of pressure from his generals to verify the design" of the Taepodong 2 missile, said Robert Einhorn, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation under President Bill Clinton.

But, he added, "whenever the North Koreans act up, one has to assume in part at least that they are trying to get the world's attention."

Just two weeks ago — a day after the United States offered to hold direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program — North Korea invited Christopher R. Hill, an assistant secretary of state and chief negotiator on the North's nuclear weapons program, for direct talks in Pyongyang. That offer was immediately rebuffed by the White House, which insisted that the North return to the long-deadlocked six-nation talks instead. The other nations involved in the talks are China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

North Korea has boycotted the talks in recent months after the United States cracked down on financial institutions, including a bank in Macau, that dealt with the government in Pyongyang and with North Korean companies suspected of counterfeiting American dollars and laundering money. If North Korea goes ahead with a missile launching, the already floundering talks would likely go into a deep freeze.

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

June 19th, 2006, 11:07 AM
North Korea -- the world's biggest prison camp -- is certainly not helping matters much. I would consider launch of an ICBM as a direct threat to the United States, and say so publicly. In the words of President Kennedy, this would be the equivalent of an attack, requiring a "full retaliatory response."

June 19th, 2006, 11:32 AM
Yeah, but where's the Yellowcake? :p

June 19th, 2006, 07:29 PM
Yeah, but where's the Yellowcake? :p

lol, Good one!

June 19th, 2006, 09:46 PM
Smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors.

We appreciate all the concern about Iran and North Korea, but let's stay focused on Iraq. Obviously, it is a big boost to the president to rattle the saber over the "axis of evil" - blah, blah, blah.

It's fear mongering.

June 20th, 2006, 09:50 AM
But BR, in this case, it is more warranted than a "suspected" program for the development of nuclear weapons.

I do agree it is fear mongering, but saying that it does not matter..... I don't know about that.

June 20th, 2006, 10:48 PM
I just hope this isn't like the movie "Canadian Bacon" ~_~ There is an election coming this fall.. (Hey everyone hates the North Koreans ^_^)

June 26th, 2006, 07:03 PM
Let's not forget that the North Korean government is a group of real nutjobs. It wouldn't surprise me in the least that they'd pull some stupid stunt, like lobbing a nuke at Los Angeles for sport. Imagine, if you will, what the behind-the-scenes negotiations are like. I suspect we're giving them a clear message: "if you launch, we launch." This is probably scaring the wits out of the Chinese, who will most likely turn the screws on their wonderful fun-loving Communist Party animals to the south.

June 29th, 2006, 03:54 AM
NK isn't stupid. They know the policy of major nuclear powers is MAD (Mutual assured destruction). If they launch, even without the intent to hit the US, the US, will fire an ICBM towards Pyongyang in a jiffy.

Gregory Tenenbaum
June 29th, 2006, 04:46 AM
I wonder how many of these are flying over Japan/Korea right now.

They have some fantastic range:


The point with the missile launch is that once performed, the North Koreans will have the data from the launch to see how to improve their missiles (range, accuracy etc). I read that there's an interest for a strike to stop the missile from flying (and therefore stop the NKRP from getting this data).

Nice laser.

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 8th, 2006, 04:59 PM
Yeah, NK isn't stupid because....

Where are those 6 missiles streaking accross the sky from? :eek:

:( Guess we were all wrong.

July 8th, 2006, 08:03 PM
Yeah, NK isn't stupid because....

Where are those 6 missiles streaking accross the sky from? :eek:

:( Guess we were all wrong.

oops......My bad. :rolleyes:

July 8th, 2006, 08:57 PM
U.S. envoy offers N. Korea bilateral talks

Yahoo / AP (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060708/ap_on_re_as/nkorea_missiles)
Associated Press Writer
July 8, 2006

A U.S. envoy expressed support for China's proposal to hold informal six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear threat and offered to meet bilaterally with the North on the sidelines of those discussions.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill was in Seoul as part of a regional tour to coordinate the international response to the North's test-firing Wednesday of seven missiles. The tests caused international outrage but also division over whether North Korea should be punished.

Over Chinese and Russian objections, Japan on Friday proposed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would impose sanctions on North Korea and order the communist regime to stop developing ballistic missiles.

Backed by the United States, Britain and France, the new resolution came as President Bush expressed frustration with the slow pace of diplomacy and urged world leaders to send Pyongyang a strong message condemning the missile tests, staged in defiance of international warnings.

"What matters most of all is for Kim Jong Il to see the world speak with one voice," Bush said Friday during a trip to Chicago. "That's the purpose, really."

He has ruled out direct talks between just the United States and North Korea and said he hoped the six-party talks would resume.

Beijing has floated the idea of an informal meeting between members of the six-party nuclear talks — the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States. Pyongyang has for months refused to attend formal negotiations, protesting U.S. financial restrictions imposed over the North's alleged counterfeiting, money-laundering and other illegal practices.

"As many of you know, the Chinese have talked about putting together a six-party informal, and we both support that and we think that all countries are prepared to come to that informal meeting," Hill told reporters after meeting with Chun Young-woo, South Korea's top nuclear negotiator.

Asked about the possibility of a bilateral meeting with the North, he said: "Within the informal six-party talks, yes, I can."

"I just can't do it when they are boycotting the six-party talks."

But Hill rejected North Korea's demand that the U.S. drop restrictions imposed on a Macau bank for allegedly aiding the North's illicit activities. The U.S. has argued that the nuclear talks and financial restrictions are separate issues and should not be linked.

"This is not a time for so-called gestures of that kind," Hill said in response to the North Korean demand. "We have a country that has fired off missiles in a truly reckless way that affects ... regional security."

The North has defended its right to test missiles and said the launches could continue.

Japan urged the United Nations to vote soon on the Security Council resolution and warned it would not compromise on its stern wording. The measure would call for other countries to "take those steps necessary" to keep the North from acquiring items that could be used for its missile program.

"Japan will not give in. It definitely must be a resolution containing sanctions," Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso was quoted by Kyodo News agency as saying during a speech in Osaka on Saturday. Japan "will not back off from the resolution. We will hold on until the end."

Japanese Senior Vice Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki said Security Council members were privately "having positive discussions" about the resolution and were chipping away at Russian and Chinese doubts. Supporters decided at a meeting Friday not to call for a vote over the weekend after some council members asked for more time to consider the resolution.

"It is strongly expected that the Security Council will put it to vote as soon as possible," Shiozaki told a news conference in Tokyo. "The timing is very important."

China, a traditional ally of North Korea, has been reluctant to impose sanctions on Pyongyang. But Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported Saturday that Beijing appeared to have clamped down on the flow of industrial materials to North Korea in a sign of disenchantment with the missile tests.

In a report from the Chinese city of Dandong on the North Korean border, the newspaper said the normally steady cross-border stream of supply trucks from China had all but stopped as of Friday. The paper quoted a trader on the Chinese side as saying traffic had plummeted after the missile tests.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, however, cited business people in China as saying that any slowdown in trade in the past couple of days was likely due to seasonal factors, not political ones.

South Korea, which has worked for warmer ties with Pyongyang since a 2000 North-South summit, has withheld aid shipments and rejected a Northern request for military talks. At the same time it is planning Cabinet-level meetings with the communist country next week.

Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok said Seoul would hold off sending 500,000 tons of rice and 100,000 tons of fertilizer to North Korea.

Associated Press reporter Kana Inagaki in Tokyo contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

July 9th, 2006, 04:28 AM
I am pretty ignorant about N. Korea.. Can anyone tell me how on earth they got the nuclear techology to begin with... Where did the money come from?.. They seem to have no economy to bring any money in.. Do they have some kind of natural resources that I'm not aware of?.. Yes, we have to deal with them but how did it start?

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 9th, 2006, 05:32 AM
I am pretty ignorant about N. Korea.. Can anyone tell me how on earth they got the nuclear techology to begin with... Where did the money come from?.. They seem to have no economy to bring any money in.. Do they have some kind of natural resources that I'm not aware of?.. Yes, we have to deal with them but how did it start?
Google something about

1. Japans Occupation of Korea after its decisive victory over Russia in 1905 (battles fought in and around Korea) - actually this is a very important historical event because us Europeans never believed that an asiatic nation could actually win a war against us - remember - Japan was a mediaeval society in 1860 - only took 50 years for them to develop to that point

2. Japans Industrialisation of Korean Peninsula from 1905 - 1945 (Koreans eat meat - bigger - made good workers for the Japanese and were a market for their goods - think of how Britain used the pre-independence US Colonies, Australia, Canada etc)

3. Korean War - important but forgotten - hey - half of our astronauts were combat pilots there - including John Glenn who was also a WWII pacific war ace - read particularly about how the Soviets sold/tested their technology and how the Chinese were there in force

4. Then read about North Korea from about 1953 - 1980 - you will get some idea of how they got their atomic and then hydrogen nuclear program

Good luck!

July 9th, 2006, 11:07 AM
Dogs of War and Ignorance

Seattle Weekly (http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/0309/news-berger.php)
By Knute Berger (http://www.seattleweekly.com/authors/knuteberger/)

The issue of defending the Pacific Coastand Seattle from a North Korean missile attack has taken a creepy turn in recent weeks, something that suggests that when you "unleash the dogs of war," at least one of those dogs creates chaos and spreads incompetence.

Since I last wrote about the North Korean threat (see Mossback, "No Shelter (http://www.seattleweekly.com/features/0302/news-berger.php), Jan. 8), there have been some amazing developments on that front. Earlier this month, CIA director George Tenent confirmed that the North Koreans have the capability to hit the U.S. mainland with their still untested Taepodong II missile. At least that's the unclassified answer. The classified answer may be that they cannot, but, for the time being, it suits U.S. purposes to acknowledge a worst-case North Korean capability, and it also may well be true. The Taepodong II, if constructed properly, could have the range; if light enough, it could carry a nuclear payload (not just a chemical or biological one). No one is vouching for the missile's accuracy, but somehow I am not relieved to know that a possibly highly non-accurate missile might be pointed our way. I don't think targeting is the point anyway. It's the leverage the possibilities give you.

As Colin Powell ventured into the region this week, he was greeted by a North Korean missile test that launched a smaller missile into the Japan Sea just to make sure everyone noticed. North Korea seems to wear its "Axis of Evil" label as a badge of honor. Certainly, by conducting such missile tests, they are reminding both the U.S. and the rest of the world that if you fail to develop nuclear missile capabilities, you are likely to be attacked (see Iraq); and that if you successfully develop them, you are taken seriously and given the courtesy of diplomatic treatment. It also helps if you are adjacent to other nuclear powers and important U.S. allies. But one can't help but wonder at the lesson being taught to every nation: Power no longer grows out of the barrel of a gun, but on the tip of a warhead. Who wouldn't want to go nuclear if that was the path to getting respect?

This week also brought some other important developments. Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Bush administration has requested in its 2004 budget that the missile defense system it is seeking to deploy to meet the North Korean threat be exempted from operational testing. According to the Times, such an exemption "would be the first time a major weapons system was formally exempted from the testing requirement." The Missile Defense Agency already has unprecedented latitude to get a system up and running, including not having to adhere to standard management and procurement procedures. In other words, the missile defense overlords can spend any amount and do whatever it takes virtually without any oversight.

And, if this provision is approved, they won't even have to deploy a system that actually works. It's a recipe for billions of dollars in waste and has the potential to completely corrupt the system of Pentagon procurement, which, as we know, is so free of corruption.

And don't look to the courts for help in holding the Pentagon or its contractors to account. At the same time the L.A. Times was revealing the Bush request, the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles was dismissing a lawsuit brought by Nira Schwartz, a whistle-blowing former employee of defense contractor TRW Inc., who had alleged that the company falsified test results of the missile defense software that is about to be deployed with the new system. Her allegations have been supported by a General Accounting Office report, and while the FBI found no evidence of fraudcalling the dispute a scientific issuenevertheless, there are serious questions about the viability of the system.

Government attorneys argued that documents requested in the Schwartz case would jeopardize national security. Apparently, going ahead with a faulty multibillion-dollar missile defense system free from scientific verification is no threat to national security whatsoever. What's troubling about this decision, which will be appealed, is that the veil of national security can be used to cover up anything a rogue Pentagon department wants to hide. The suit was supported by members of Congress from both parties who insisted that no military secrets would be revealed, according to an account in the Times. No matter.

Certainly Donald Rumsfeld can make a case that in light of current threats, we have little choice but to deploy first and work out the kinks later. But given the missile defense system's history of failure and probable cover-up; given the system's massive cost, which includes not only tax dollars but trashed treaties, like ABM; given its potential for altering, and perhaps escalating, the international arms race, Americans have a right to be secure in the knowledge that their dollars are being well spent and that actual science is prevailing over political and corporate agendas. We do not need a new Maginot Line made of faulty missiles and a false sense of security.

Copyright © 1998-2006 by Seattle Weekly Media

July 9th, 2006, 05:25 PM
Failure Can Be Successful (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/weekinreview/09broad.html)

Mainichi Shimbun/Associated Press

BLAST OFF North Korea produced this poster to celebrate
its Taepodong 1 missile.

The caption at the bottom reads:

"First sound of gunfire from big power."Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

July 9th, 2006, 09:57 PM
North Korea poses a direct threat to the United States. A direct threat. We need to eliminate the threat. Period.

July 9th, 2006, 11:44 PM
How does one go about doing that ^^^ ???

North Korea has the 4th largest standing army in the world.

P'yŏngyang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyongyang) is ~ 500 miles from Beijing.

South Korea has nearly 50,000,000 citizens; Seoul -- with ~ 17,500,000 citizens -- is less than 50 miles from the border with the North.

Japan is just across the Sea of Japan, with many cities within ~ 500 miles.



July 10th, 2006, 12:57 AM
Good point, lofter1. The best thing we can do so far is just talks between NK and the US. Also, China, Japan, and Russia would have to be in it, too. The last thing we need to do is start a military conflict with the north, that's my biggest fear. If that happens, it would not be pretty at all..... (not to say war it pretty to begin with).

July 10th, 2006, 01:10 AM
Bush Message to all nations of the Earth: If you don't want the rogue United States to invade your country and rape and kill your people, you better hurry up and get a nuclear weapon.

July 10th, 2006, 08:30 AM
^ That's about it, sad to say.

July 10th, 2006, 08:45 AM
How do we go about eliminating the threat? Simple: eliminate it. I don't mean a politically correct war. I'm talking about absolute annihilation of the North Korean military machine. Overwhelming annihilation of anything and everything there that even looks military.

July 10th, 2006, 09:06 AM
^ Can't do it fast enough to keep them from annihilating Seoul. Or is that what you call collateral damage?

July 10th, 2006, 10:05 AM
Simple: eliminate it...absolute annihilation of the North Korean military machine.

Overwhelming annihilation of anything and everything there that even looks military.

It seems you're saying that we should make a nuclear strike on North Korea.

Of course that would have to be multiple missles strategically placed.

But would not NK see them coming and send off whatever missles they have (most likely towards S. Korea / Japan) ?

And then there are the problems that would arise after the bombs / explosions -- fall-out, etc.

Could you outline your scenario for "overwhelming annihilation" ?

July 10th, 2006, 10:09 AM
^ We're in a pickle. A global pickle. But then, global warming is another one of those. And the Muslim problem. Have we ever been in so much trouble?

And Bozo's at the helm. No wait, that's probably why we're in so much trouble.

July 10th, 2006, 07:40 PM
ditto ^^^^

October 10th, 2006, 09:23 PM
North Korea suspected of 2nd nuke test

Tokyo (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061011/ap_on_re_as/koreas_nuclear_test;_ylt=Amz8k6GORni0OjGFVL05u6qCs cEA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl) - The Japanese government suspects North Korea has conducted a second nuclear test and was trying to confirm it, a government official said Wednesday.

But a South Korean official said seismic monitors did not detect any tremors that could indicate possible second North Korea nuclear test.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with ministry policy, did not indicate why Japan suspected a second test may have taken place.

North Korea drew harsh global condemnation after claiming Monday that it had successfully tested a nuclear device for the first time.

October 10th, 2006, 09:30 PM
China ready to slap sanctions on N. Korea over nuclear test

by Gerard Aziakou

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061010/wl_asia_afp/nkoreanuclearweapons_061010233610;_ylt=Aqx9T5kaih. j6EsdmZPCHyuCscEA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVR PUCUl) - China signaled readiness to join other major UN powers in slapping sanctions on neighboring North Korea over its nuclear test as a defiant Pyongyang reportedly threatened to fire a nuclear-armed missile unless it secures US concessions.

"I think there has to be some punitive actions but also these actions have to be appropriate," Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya told reporters.

The key question is how far China and Russia, which despite their traditional close ties with Pyongyang have condemned the nuclear test, will be willing to go in backing tough sanctions pushed by the United States and Japan in a draft resolution invoking Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.

Chapter Seven, invoked in cases "of threat to international peace and security" authorizes tough sanctions or even as a last resort the use of force to ensure compliance with Security Council resolutions.

"We want to see some elements from Chapter Seven," Wang told reporters after a second round of private consultations with his British, French, Japanese, Russian and US counterparts.

US Ambassador John Bolton described Wang's comment as "significant" although he conceded that "We don't have complete agreement on this."
Beijing is by far the most important provider of aid and trade to the cash-strapped regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice voiced confidence that China would back tough action, noting that Beijing had used unusually harsh rhetoric in calling North Korea's announced nuclear test "brazen" -- a term she said Beijing had used diplomatically "only four or five times in decades."

Envoys of the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Japan met twice privately Tuesday to try to narrow differences on the sanctions and agreed to meet again Wednesday.

Experts of the 15-member council also met Tuesday and were to meet again Wednesday to craft an acceptable draft resolution.

The draft is based on US proposals for a raft of punitive measures under Chapter Seven, including international inspection of all cargo to and from North Korea, new financial curbs targeting Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, and restrictions on exports of goods with military uses and sales of luxury items.

Japan put forward even tougher measures such as bans on North Korean ships and aircraft from entering or landing in member states' territories and on all North Korean products as well as a travel ban targeting senior North Korean government officials.

But a defiant North Korea threatened to fire a nuclear-tipped missile unless the United States makes concessions in the standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

"We hope the situation will be settled before an unhappy incident of us firing a nuclear missile occurs," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified North Korean official in Beijing as saying.

The Stalinist state has repeatedly argued it needs nuclear weapons to deter any attack from the United States, which it fears will try to topple one of the last pure Communist regimes in the world.

Pyongyang said it was willing to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks it has boycotted since last November, but "only if the United States takes corresponding measures." No further details were given.

In Washington, Rice warned Pyongyang that launching a nuclear-armed missile "would not be good for North Korea's security".

"The North Koreans are not confused about what would happen," she said.
South Korea, which is not a Security Council member, made it clear it opposed any UN resolution involving military action.

"We support a UN resolution, but our position is that the resolution must not include any military measures because of its possible impact on the Korean peninsula," South Korean Prime Minister Han Myung-Sook told parliament.

Rice also reaffirmed that Washington was not considering military action against North Korea, a possibility the communist regime has frequently cited as a justification for its nuclear arms program.

In Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Pyongyang had now become the "de facto" ninth world nuclear power and had dealt a "colossal blow" to non-proliferation efforts.

Japan said Tuesday that its monitoring aircraft had detected no unusual radiation levels in dust samples collected over the major Japanese islands of Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido.

"It is hard to say," if there has been a successful nuclear test, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in parliament.
White House spokesman Tony Snow also said the United States did not have confirmation of a nuclear test. "There is a remote possibility that we'll never be able to determine fully," Snow said.

October 11th, 2006, 03:18 AM
How many countries will have nuclear weapon in 2050 ?

Gregory Tenenbaum
October 11th, 2006, 07:58 AM
As a student of modern (and ancient) east Asian history I have to lend my views here. And immediately it comes to my mind that there is one thing that will prevent North Korea from doing anything.


The reality is that Japan, while boasting a constitution forbidding armed forces, does actually have a great technical and military capability, discipline, manpower and money.

Recall that in 1905 the Japanese beat a world power, Russia, having been a mediaevel society 40 years earlier! From swords to top quality optics and weapons, cannon, battleships (they had the very best naval technology by 1914) a modern democracy and a willingness to do what it takes (night fighting, kamikaze attacks, disciplined and trained military).

For centuries the Mongols, Chinese, Coreans and others have been trying to invade the Japanese homeland. If there is any country on the face of this planet more obsessed about its home territory - its Japan. The US Government appreciated this point in 1945; hence the decision to use the A Bomb - a tough decision at the time.


I suppose that now all I can say is that I am certain they have their engineers and scientists on red alert to develop

"FRIKKIN LASER BEAMS" from satellites or whatever else it takes to stop the menace.

I mean look at their robotic and electronics technology - China and even South Korea just lag behind.


That of itself is amazing. They could develop a nuclear weapon in a week if they wanted to.

There are a lot of people much closer than we are who have greater cause for concern - and we should never ever underestimate the Japanese.

October 11th, 2006, 10:26 AM
Recall that in 1905 the Japanese beat a world power, Russia, having been a mediaevel society 40 years earlier!

But if else recall that 1905 in Russia has occurred a first revolution, that all become quite obvious ..

For centuries the Mongols, Chinese, Coreans and others have been trying to invade the Japanese homeland.

Probably by that japanese explained that to 1939 they have destroyed more than 10 million inhabitants of China and Mongolia.

I suppose that now all I can say is that I am certain they have their engineers and scientists on red alert to develop
"FRIKKIN LASER BEAMS" from satellites or whatever else it takes to stop the menace.

Yep, ! I like science fiction too. :-)
eg „Star Wars” was my favourite one as a teenager,but it’s a bit less clear-cut for me these days..

They could develop a nuclear weapon in a week if they wanted to.

I think that they already have it, simply is not flaunted

October 11th, 2006, 01:18 PM
The real reason Japan may deter N. Korea is that Japan has made a strategic decision many years ago to build a specific type of nuclear reactor capable of producing weapons grade nuclear materials.

This was done in order to assure a relatively short time requiered for construction of a bomb. There is a number of countries with such a capability such as Germany and Poland, who also not only posses the means of really quick material production but also have building schematics for these weapons. The Japanese navy consists of the same class destroyers as the US fleet, they are state-of-the-art and pack quite a lot of firepower,

Japan may not have a nuke at this point, it could have one if it wanted, and probably nobody would care if they did. I don't think the DPRK is actually stupid enough to assure its own destruction by attacking Japan, who I believe the US would defend by any means necessary.

On the other hand I find S. Korea to be at a high risk at this point as a weapon can be delivered to Seoul using any of DPRK's missles. The fact that the DMZ is mined to hell is a positive but clearing minefield is one of the uses of low yield nukes. One has to wonder if that's the plan, nuke the DMZ, then march on Seoul?

October 11th, 2006, 01:30 PM
Why would they bother? They could raid, but the very thing they are looking for, financial stability, would be at risk with an invasion or military takeover.

Same goes with areas like Hong Kong in relation to China. China has attached the leash, but has not pulled because it does not want to kill the dog in the process. That dog brings in a lot of $$.

SK is a good hostage. If they hurt their hostage, they will not have much more to leverage with.

October 11th, 2006, 03:39 PM
You guys seem to have overlooked one important thing.

The North Korean guy's a nutcase!

All logic and reasoning goes out the door.

Gregory Tenenbaum
October 11th, 2006, 03:44 PM
I heard on NPR All Things Considered an expert talking about this today. Essentially he said the following:

North Korea is potentially under China's thumb as a future puppet satellite state. All of the NK middle class have fled to China where they are being groomed.. China is propping up the NK economy and projects there.

So why is China angry? It wants to make NK its friend and keep it as a buffer state like Tibet or HK with the outside world.

What has that got to do with the test?

Well, by NK having the bomb, it wants to engage in bilateral talks with the US - and that means only the US - not with anyone else at the table (or in the room listening in).

If it gains this, then it can confront China with greater confidence, as a member of the club of those who can get the US' attention and command bilateral negotiations. Therefore, less hegemony from China. They also have their very own nuclear programme.

Maybe more logic than we all think.

Never underestimate anyone.

October 12th, 2006, 12:26 AM
How many countries will have nuclear weapon in 2050 ?

I don't think we'll have to worry about that.. The Earth will probably be destroyed by then...

October 17th, 2006, 10:52 PM
Vive La Resistance (http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/10/vive_la_resista_1.html)

Andrew Sullivan
17 Oct 2006

Irwin Stelzer has a must-read piece (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/829wydga.asp) in the Weekly Standard. It's about how the Bush administration's fiscal policy has left the U.S. so indebted to China that we have no leverage over North Korea. Money quote:

It is indeed true that the Bush tax cuts were key to ending the recession the Republicans inherited from the Clinton administration. And it is also true that some of the tax cuts have proved to be revenue generators for the Treasury. That has enabled the administration to gloat over a 22 percent reduction of the budget deficit from last year's $319 billion. But in a booming economy, a continued deficit of $248 billion is hardly chopped liver, as the analysts in New York's delis say. And when those deficits result in stacks of IOUs held by China, America's diplomats are forced to walk softly, lest they antagonize so large a creditor.
It is this fiscal situation, this unwillingness to rein in spending so that the boom in tax receipts can be used to provide support for American diplomacy, that has made it impossible for America to have an effective foreign policy. Indeed, it is arguable that George W. Bush has presided over the largest decline in America's ability to influence world events since, well, since the 1920s, when we decided it was in the nation's interests to let the world take care of itself while we partied at that era's equivalents of today's discos - the jazz joints and speakeasies that offered solace to the Wall Street crowd after a hard day of share-price manipulation.Copyright © 2006 Time Inc.

November 5th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Pentagon targets Kim’s nuclear sites

timesonline.uk (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2437937,00.html)
Sarah Baxter, Washington
November 5, 2006

http://images.thetimes.co.uk/images/trans.gifTHE Pentagon is speeding up plans for possible military strikes on North Korea’s nuclear programme as concern mounts that Arab states are also looking to acquire nuclear technology.

US defence officials said detailed planning was under way for precision strikes on nuclear facilities such as the North Korean plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon. The plant is thought to have supplied the plutonium fuel used in an underground nuclear test carried out by Kim Jong-il’s pariah regime on October 9.

A Pentagon official said “various military options” for halting North Korea’s nuclear programme were under consideration. “Other than nuclear strikes, which are considered excessive, there are several options now in place. Planning has been accelerated,” the official told The Washington Times.

According to defence sources, one option includes strikes on Yongbyon by Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from submarines or ships. Precision-guided bombs and missiles could also be delivered by B-52 or B-2 stealth bombers.

Navy Seals and other commandos would be deployed inside North Korea to help blow up facilities such as Yongbyon. It is believed such an operation could set back Kim’s nuclear programme by 10 years.

The plans emerged as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia are seeking to join the nuclear club of nations. Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates were also said to have expressed interest.

The Arab countries claim to be interested in developing civilian nuclear power, which they are entitled to do under international law. But Iran and North Korea have increased concern that assistance with peaceful nuclear know-how can be used to boost covert nuclear weapons programmes.

Michael Rubin, an expert on the Middle East at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said: “Iran and North Korea have shown that non-compliance equals reward.”

The United Nations Security Council is still wrangling over Russian opposition to mild sanctions against Iran, even though President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is defiantly proceeding with Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme.

The threat of a nuclear- armed Iran is encouraging apprehensive Arab states to reverse their support for a nuclear-free Middle East and develop atomic technology. In oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, the benefits of a civilian nuclear power programme may be hard to fathom.

David Albright, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, said: “With Iran moving forward with its nuclear programme, it is difficult for the IAEA to say to other nations, ‘No, you can’t have it’, and the United States is not able to stop it.”

According to Rubin, America is partly responsible for the rush to acquire civilian nuclear energy. The US has been encouraging developing nations to embrace nuclear power under the global nuclear energy partnership (GNEP), launched by the State Department in February.

Robert Joseph, US undersecretary for arms control and international security, said the GNEP aimed to promote clean, renewable energy while maintaining strict controls on non-proliferation. “We think that would help us to envision a future where we can bring the benefits of nuclear power to the developing world,” he said.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said last week that America had no objection to Egypt’s nuclear programme. And President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen also recently announced plans to generate nuclear power in co-operation with America.

But Rubin warned: “The idea that we can keep making concessions to nuclear proliferation and that it won’t spread is a fantasy. If you cannot answer the question, ‘Who is going to be in charge of these countries in 10 years’ time?’ it is idiotic to help them develop these programmes.”

Once a country acquires nuclear weapons, it becomes difficult to threaten militarily. McCormack said of North Korea “In terms of the military and the Pentagon, planners plan. But the president has made very, very clear that we are committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the current issues before us.” North Korea agreed last week to return to international disarmament negotiations under pressure from China and UN sanctions. But it also called Japanese officials “political imbeciles” for claiming they would not allow Pyongyang to remain a nuclear power.

A senior US defence official said America was committed to protecting South Korea and Japan from North Korean aggression, if necessary by using US nuclear weapons. “We will resort to whatever force levels we need to have,” the official said. “That nuclear deterrence is in place.”

Copyright 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.

February 12th, 2007, 10:56 PM
February 12, 2007

Draft Accord Reached in North Korea Nuclear Talks


BEIJING, Tuesday, Feb. 13 — Negotiators for the six nations in the North Korean nuclear disarmament talks are poised to announce a new agreement on Tuesday, but they are first awaiting approval of the draft accord from their respective governments, the chief American negotiator said early Tuesday morning in Beijing.

The American envoy, Christopher R. Hill, said diplomatic teams from the United States, North Korea and the other four participating countries — China, Japan, South Korea and Russia — pushed negotiations past a self-imposed Monday deadline into early Tuesday before finally agreeing on a final text. The six chief envoys are scheduled to reconvene at 10:30 a.m. in Beijing (9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Monday) to learn if each nation has approved the deal.

The agreement is expected to include some significant concessions by the North Koreans, although they did not agree to give up their existing nuclear weapons.

Mr. Hill declined to offer any specifics about the new accord until approval was assured. But he suggested that the pending agreement was essentially the same as the draft proposal that has been under discussion for the past five days — except for revisions in a single paragraph. That paragraph presumably has focused on the question of energy assistance for North Korea. The North Koreans’ demand for huge, upfront shipments of fuel oil and electricity had threatened to scuttle the talks.

“Everybody had to make some changes to try to narrow the differences,” Mr. Hill told reporters as he returned to his hotel at 2:41 a.m. local time on Tuesday. He added: “One would hope that we can all agree on this.”

Mr. Hill said he had been in frequent contact with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the late-night negotiations and signaled that the United States was satisfied with the tentative deal.

“We feel it is an excellent draft,” he said. “I don’t think we are the problem.”

Qin Gang, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said early Tuesday morning that “active progress” had been made in the negotiations and confirmed that an agreement had been circulated to the national capitals.

The fate of the deal appears to rest with the North Korean delegation’s winning approval from the country’s authoritarian leader, Kim Jong-il. The deal is expected to require North Korea to close and seal its main nuclear reactor within six weeks and also allow international nuclear inspectors into the country for the first time in more than four years. North Korea would receive energy and economic assistance, as well as security guarantees, but the timetable for these rewards remained unclear.

North Korea had nearly scuttled the negotiations by insisting on a huge energy aid package, including front-loaded temporary shipments of fuel oil. Various reports suggested that North Korea had demanded two million tons of heavy fuel oil and two million kilowatts of electricity in exchange for its approval of any new agreement.

The agreement, if approved, would give fresh momentum to a diplomatic process that on Sunday had teetered near collapse. But it also leaves many of the most difficult objectives yet to be achieved. North Korea still has not agreed to turn over its existing nuclear weapons or weapons fuel, a critical step that is the subject of future negotiations.

The closure of the country’s main reactor at Yongbyon could serve to block the country from developing any more new weapons. The agreement also is expected to establish working groups to address further efforts to shut down North Korea’s nuclear program, normalization of diplomatic relations, energy and economic assistance and a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. The United States and North Korea never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War ended with cease-fire in 1953 and still are without full diplomatic relations.

Diplomats described a frenzied day of meetings as negotiators raced to beat the Monday deadline. The United States and North Korea, after meeting privately on Sunday, held another meeting on Monday. Japan and North Korea also held bilateral talks. The two countries have been bitterly at odds over the North’s past abductions of Japanese citizens. . Kenichiro Sesae, the chief Japanese envoy, told North Korea that Japan would not pay for any of the North’s aid package until progress was made on the abduction issue, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo.

In Washington, hard-liners in the Bush administration have been deeply suspicious of taking a diplomatic approach and have argued that North Korea has no intention of abandoning its nuclear weapons. Mr. Hill, who has spent much of the past two months traveling the world to resuscitate the talks, has described the objective as a step-by-step process that would dismantle the North’s nuclear arsenal rather than freeze it.

Pending approval, Mr. Hill said the new working groups could be quickly established while chief negotiators would likely reconvene in Beijing as soon as next month. He said the tentative agreement would create a succession of deadlines that would need to be met as a precondition of the deal.

“This is only one phase of denuclearization,” he said. “We’re not done.”

Indeed, the task of forcing North Korea to agree to a schedule and process for turning over its existing nuclear weapons and fuel has not yet been addressed.

International nuclear inspectors would be expected to return to North Korea by this spring. In 2002, North Korea expelled inspectors and withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty after the Bush administration accused North Korea of violating its 1994 disarmament deal with the Clinton administration.

The Bush administration has criticized the 1994 agreement because it called for a “freeze” of North Korea’s nuclear activities, and Mr. Hill has repeatedly sought to differentiate the current framework from that earlier agreement. He has described a step-by-step process that is steadily moving toward denuclearization as opposed to freezing the status quo.

The talks began last Thursday with a sense of rare optimism in a diplomatic process that had enjoyed precious little success after more than three years of negotiations. The starting point was the September 2005 accord signed in Beijing in which North Korea agreed in principle to end its nuclear weapons program in exchange for a package of energy and economic assistance, as well as promises that Japan and the United States would work toward normalizing relations with the isolated, Stalinist country.

But that accord essentially represented a goal, and negotiations had foundered over the specifics of how denuclearization would be carried out. The stalemate in diplomacy only deepened after the United States froze $24 million in North Korean assets and accused the North of laundering counterfeit dollars. North Korea’s nuclear test last October brought United Nations sanctions and raised questions about whether the diplomatic effort should be ended.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

February 12th, 2007, 11:19 PM
This will be chalked up to diplomacy, but to me it looks like the threatened military actions bore fruit on this occasion.

February 13th, 2007, 08:53 AM
N. Korea agrees to nuclear disarmament

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070213/capt.tok20702131100.aptopix_koreas_nuclear_tok207. jpg
Negotiators pose for press photographers before the closing ceremony of the six-party talks on
North Korea's nuclear program in Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Tuesday, Feb. 13 2007.
From left: Kenichiro Sasae of Japan, Chun Yung-woo of South Korea, Kim Kye Gwan of North Korea, Wu Dawei of China,
Christopher Hill of the United States and Alexander Losyukov of Russia.
(AP Photo/Michael Reynolds, POOL)

By BURT HERMAN, Associated Press Writer
January 13, 2007

BEIJING - North Korea (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=North+Korea) agreed Tuesday after arduous talks to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program, just four months after the communist state shocked the world by testing a nuclear bomb.

The deal marks the first concrete plan for disarmament in more than three years of six-nation negotiations, and could potentially herald a new era of cooperation in the region with the North's longtime foes — the United States and Japan — also agreeing to discuss normalizing relations with Pyongyang.

Under the deal, the North will receive initial aid equal to 50,000 tons heavy fuel oil within 60 days for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor and related facilities at Yongbyon, north of the capital, to be confirmed by international inspectors.

For irreversibly disabling the reactor and declaring all nuclear programs, the North will eventually receive another 950,000 tons in aid.

The agreement was read to all delegates in a conference room at a Chinese state guesthouse and Chinese envoy Wu Dawei asked if there were any objections. When none were made, the officials all stood and applauded.

The main U.S. nuclear envoy said Washington was satisfied with an agreement on initial steps for North Korea to disarm but called it just the start of the process.

"Obviously we have a long way to go, but we're very pleased with this agreement," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters. "It's a very solid step forward."

North Korea and United States also will embark on talks aimed at resolving disputes and restarting diplomatic relations, Wu said. The Korean peninsula has technically remained in a state of war for more than a half-century since the Korean War ended in a 1953 cease-fire.

The United States will begin the process of removing North Korea from its designation as a terror-sponsoring state and also on ending U.S. trade sanctions, but no deadlines was set, according to the agreement.

Hill said that Washington also had pledged to resolve financial restrictions against a bank where North Korea held accounts within a month.

Washington's blacklisting of a Macau bank in September 2005 had been an obstacle to nuclear talks, leading the North to a more-than-yearlong boycott during which it tested its first nuclear bomb.

Japan and North Korea also will seek to normalize relations. But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo that his country would not yet join in giving aid to the North. Japan has said it wants to resolve the issue of abductions of its citizens that Pyongyang has admitted to but not addressed to Tokyo's satisfaction.

If Pyongyang follows through with its promises, they would be the first moves the communist nation has made to scale back its atomic development after more than three years of six-nation negotiations marked by delays, deadlock and the North's first nuclear test explosion in October.

Making sure that Pyongyang declares all its nuclear facilities and shuts them down is likely to prove arduous, nuclear experts have said.

North Korea has sidestepped previous agreements, allegedly running a uranium-based weapons program even as it froze a plutonium-based one — sparking the latest nuclear crisis in late 2002. The country is believed to have countless mountainside tunnels in which to hide projects.

Already before its adoption, the deal drew strong criticism from John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., who urged President Bush (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=President+Bush) to reject it.

"I am very disturbed by this deal," Bolton told CNN. "It sends exactly the wrong signal to would-be proliferators around the world: 'If we hold out long enough, wear down the State Department negotiators, eventually you get rewarded,' in this case with massive shipments of heavy fuel oil for doing only partially what needs to be done."

The deal requires the North to state all its nuclear programs — including plutonium it has already extracted from the Yongbyon reactor, the agreement says.

After the initial 60 days, a joint meeting will be convened of foreign ministers from all countries at the talks — China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas.

Under the agreement, five working groups are to meet within 30 days: denuclearization, normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations, normalization of North Korea-Japan relations, economy and energy cooperation, and peace and security in northeast Asia.

Another meeting of the nuclear envoys was scheduled March 19 to check on the groups' progress.

Hill said the North Koreans had insisted that the specific amount of aid they were to receive in the agreement was spelled out during the six-nation negotiations — and not left to a later working group to address — as the U.S. had wanted.

In return, Hill said the negotiators moved to also discuss the next step in disarmament, the actual disabling of the North's programs so they could not easily be restarted.

"We took what was essentially a sticking point and used it as a way to make further progress on the road to denuclearization," he said.

In September 2005, North Korea was promised energy aid and security guarantees in exchange for pledging to abandon its nuclear programs. But talks on implementing that agreement repeatedly stalled on other issues.


Who are the people who most deserve the credit for this agreement?

February 13th, 2007, 09:38 AM
Who are the people who most deserve the credit for this agreement?
Dunno, but their next stop should be Teheran.

February 13th, 2007, 09:48 AM
The North Korea problem was on a road to resolution when Bush took office. The Axis of Evil remark closed that road.

The biggest failing in US foreign policy over the last six years has been a refusal to engage in dialogue with enemies.

Although at each others throats, the US and USSR talked.

February 13th, 2007, 10:51 AM

But doesn't itlook like they are going to start singing or something? ;)

Oh, as was said from the very beginning, all NK wanted was aid, and they were cut off from it via the Bush WH. So, they protested, complained and got nothnig.

Then they pulled two aces they had been reserving. Nuclear research and ICBM development. That IMMEDIATELY got our attension at a time that KJI knew we did not have the military resources to do much about it.

KJI got his aid, 6 years late, and we are back to square 11, wherever that was.

February 13th, 2007, 11:28 AM
... Already before its adoption, the deal drew strong criticism from John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., who urged President Bush (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=President+Bush) to reject it.

"I am very disturbed by this deal," Bolton told CNN. "It sends exactly the wrong signal to would-be proliferators around the world: 'If we hold out long enough, wear down the State Department negotiators, eventually you get rewarded,' in this case with massive shipments of heavy fuel oil for doing only partially what needs to be done."

It may not be a perfect deal, but ...

it's a good thing this idiot Bolton is gone.

His approach got us nowhere.

February 13th, 2007, 01:51 PM
Before the square dancing begins, please remember this is North Korea we're talking about.

February 13th, 2007, 02:32 PM
Now Now, Bob.

We could have avoided all this years ago by inviting Kim Jong to the US. Maybe a side trip to Las Vegas with a couple of sportin' gals (not too tall), and a complimentary case of hair pomade.


February 13th, 2007, 04:02 PM
The North is going to disarm? Yeah, right...

February 13th, 2007, 04:06 PM
Seems to me, a way to be sure the USA doesn't invade one's country is to GET nuclear weapons, ASAP. Not the other way around.:rolleyes: At least that's the message we send.

February 16th, 2007, 07:33 AM
New York Times Editorial
February 14, 2007

The Lesson of North Korea

It is welcome news that North Korea has agreed to move toward dismantling its nuclear weapons program in exchange for fuel oil and international acceptance — including the hope of eventual recognition by the United States. When dealing with Pyongyang (and for that matter, the Bush administration), a lot can slip betwixt the cup and the lip. But if all goes as agreed, the world will be safer.

The obvious question to ask is: What took so long? And even more important: Will President Bush learn from this belated success? Will he finally allow his diplomats to try negotiation and even compromise with other bad and undeniably dangerous governments?

Mr. Bush could probably have gotten this deal years ago, except that he decided he didn’t have to talk to anyone he didn’t like. So long as the White House refused to talk, North Korea churned out plutonium. And once American negotiators were finally allowed to mix their sanctions with sanity and seriously negotiate, they struck a deal.

We’ll overlook the irony of this administration, which considers the word multilateral an epithet, insisting yesterday that Mr. Bush had not compromised on anything because the Chinese, Japanese, South Koreans and Russians were also involved.

There are still a lot of negotiations to come before North Korea disarms — and no guarantees. If the past is prelude, it will try to reopen the bidding or try to squirrel away a few nuclear weapons or their makings. Its closest neighbors, China and South Korea, which have been enabling Pyongyang for years, will try to excuse any backsliding. So the Bush administration will have to be the deal’s lead enforcer. For that, its behavior needs to be above reproach. Mr. Bush should start by ordering his aides (and his vice president) to embrace the triumph of diplomacy, no matter how much it pains them.

As for the lessons to be learned, there are a lot of other bad actors out there with whom Mr. Bush is still refusing to speak. Iran is resisting the White House’s saber rattling and bullying. Mr. Bush could test Tehran by including it in a regional conference to discuss how to contain Iraq’s chaos. And it would certainly enliven the discussion on Iran’s nuclear program if the White House suggested that it would drop its plans for regime change once and for all and move toward diplomatic recognition if Tehran would control its nuclear appetites.

And there are others, like Syria, which might — with the right incentives — be persuaded to rethink its ill-begotten friendships with Hezbollah and Tehran. Or Cuba, preferably before Castro goes and the Cuban people decide their only choices are violence or remaining frozen in Communist amber for another generation. We are not saying that all of these governments will respond, even to a cold calculation of their own interests. But this administration has not tried to find out.

There will be a lot of talk in Washington about Mr. Bush salvaging a failing presidency. We don’t want to take away from the glow. But there are a lot of other dangers out there. And we hope that Mr. Bush learns the most basic lesson of this week’s deal: sometimes you really do have to talk to your enemies, even if you have to grit your teeth.


February 16th, 2007, 02:02 PM
This is what I wonder: Can NK really be trusted?

February 18th, 2007, 02:33 PM
Not sure, but can we??
I remember a couple of years ago when Condi asserted that multinational talks with NK would not be effective, that the Bush administration opposed the idea. This is the most incapable, hypocritical, corrupt regime in the history of the United States.

March 1st, 2007, 09:38 PM
U.S. Had Doubts on North Korean Uranium Drive

Susan Walsh/Associated Press
Christopher R. Hill, an assistant secretary of state who brokered the nuclear deal, said it would be unwise for North Korea to “pretend to disarm.”

By DAVID E. SANGER (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/david_e_sanger/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and WILLIAM J. BROAD (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/william_j_broad/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
March 1, 2007

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 — Last October, the North Koreans tested their first nuclear device, the fruition of decades of work to make a weapon out of plutonium.

For nearly five years, though, the Bush administration, based on intelligence estimates, has accused North Korea (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/northkorea/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) of also pursuing a secret, parallel path to a bomb, using enriched uranium. That accusation, first leveled in the fall of 2002, resulted in the rupture of an already tense relationship: The United States cut off oil supplies, and the North Koreans responded by throwing out international inspectors, building up their plutonium arsenal and, ultimately, producing that first plutonium bomb.

But now, American intelligence officials are publicly softening their position, admitting to doubts about how much progress the uranium enrichment program has actually made. The result has been new questions about the Bush administration’s decision to confront North Korea in 2002.

“The question now is whether we would be in the position of having to get the North Koreans to give up a sizable arsenal if this had been handled differently,” a senior administration official said this week.

The disclosure underscores broader questions about the ability of intelligence agencies to discern the precise status of foreign weapons programs. The original assessment about North Korea came during the same period that the administration was building its case about Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs, which turned out to be based on flawed intelligence. And the new North Korea assessment comes amid debate over intelligence about Iran’s weapons.

The public revelation of the intelligence agencies’ doubts, which have been brewing for some time, came almost by happenstance. In a little-noticed exchange on Tuesday at a hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joseph DeTrani, a longtime intelligence official, told Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island that “we still have confidence that the program is in existence — at the mid-confidence level.” Under the intelligence agencies’ own definitions, that level “means the information is interpreted in various ways, we have alternative views” or it is not fully corroborated.

“The administration appears to have made a very costly decision that has resulted in a fourfold increase in the nuclear weapons of North Korea,” Senator Reed said in an interview on Wednesday. “If that was based in part on mixing up North Korea’s ambitions with their accomplishments, it’s important.”

Two administration officials, who declined to be identified, suggested that if the administration harbored the same doubts in 2002 that it harbored now, the negotiating strategy for dealing with North Korea might have been different — and the tit-for-tat actions that led to October’s nuclear test could, conceivably, have been avoided.

The strongest evidence for the original assessment was Pakistan’s sale to North Korea of upwards of 20 centrifuges, machines that spin fast to convert uranium gas into highly enriched uranium, a main fuel for atom bombs. Officials feared that the North Koreans would use those centrifuges as models to build a vast enrichment complex. But in interviews this week, experts inside and outside the government said that since then, little or no evidence of Korean procurements had emerged to back up those fears.

The continuing doubts prompted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday to declassify a portion of the most recent, one-page update circulated to top national security officials about the status of North Korea’s uranium program. The assessment, read by two senior intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity in a joint interview, said the intelligence community still had “high confidence that North Korea has pursued a uranium enrichment capability, which we assess is for a weapon.”

It added, they said, that all the government’s intelligence agencies “judge — most with moderate confidence — that this effort continues. The degree of progress towards producing enriched uranium remains unknown, however.”

In other words, while the agencies were certain of the initial purchases, confidence in the program’s overall existence appears to have dropped over the years — apparently from high to moderate.

It is unclear why the new assessment is being disclosed now. But some officials suggested that the timing could be linked to North Korea’s recent agreement to reopen its doors to international arms inspectors. As a result, these officials have said, the intelligence agencies are facing the possibility that their assessments will once again be compared to what is actually found on the ground. “This may be preventative,” one American diplomat said.

American intelligence agencies had long known of North Korea’s nuclear program employing plutonium, which can make compact weapons but requires large, easily detected reactors. By contrast, uranium warheads tend to be larger, but the technology for enriching uranium is much smaller and easier to hide.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/condoleezza_rice/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, declined to discuss the decisions to confront North Korea in 2002 or the quality of the intelligence behind that decision, though both have noted previously that North Korea purchased equipment from Pakistan that could only have been intended for use in producing weapons fuel. One former official said that it was Ms. Rice, in a meeting at the C.I.A. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in 2004, who encouraged intelligence officials to soften their assessments of how quickly the North Koreans could produce weapons-usable uranium.

“She asked, how did we know about the timing, and they didn’t have answers,” said the former official. “Did they have Russians and Chinese helping them? No one was sure. It was really a guesstimate about timing.”

Different players in the 2002 debate have different memories. John R. Bolton (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/john_r_bolton/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the former American ambassador to the United Nations (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org), who headed the State Department’s proliferation office at the time of the 2002 declaration, said in an interview on Wednesday evening that “there was no dissent at the time, because in the face of the evidence the disputes evaporated.” Mr. Bolton, one of the most hawkish voices in the administration and a vocal critic of its recent deal with North Korea, recalled that even the State Department’s own intelligence arm, which was the most skeptical of the Iraq evidence, “agreed with the consensus opinion.”

But David A. Kay (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/david_kay/index.html?inline=nyt-per), a nuclear expert and former official who in 2003 and 2004 led the American hunt for unconventional arms in Iraq, said he had found the administration’s claims about the North Korean uranium program unpersuasive. “They were driving it way further than the evidence indicated it should go,” he said in an interview. The leap of logic, Dr. Kay added, turned evidence of equipment purchases into “a significant production capability.”

But the doubts were on full display on Wednesday, when Christopher R. Hill, the chief American negotiator with North Korea, testified on Capitol Hill. “If we determine that there is a program, it’s got to go,” Mr. Hill said, words that were far more tentative than American policy makers have used about the program in the past. Expressing his resolve to get to the bottom of the mystery, he added: “We cannot have a situation where we — you know, they pretend to disarm and we pretend to believe them. We need to run this into the ground.” He said that while there was no doubt that North Korea had bought centrifuges from Abdul Qadeer Khan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/abdul_qadeer_khan/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the rogue Pakistani engineer, there was doubt about “how far they’ve gotten.”

John E. McLaughlin, a former director of central intelligence and the deputy C.I.A. director in 2002, defended the initial North Korean findings as accurate. “At the time we reported this, we had confidence that they were acquiring materials that could give them the capability to do this down the road,” he said in an interview. But no one, he added, “said they had anything up and running. We also made clear that we did not have a confident understanding of how far along they were.”

That confidence has dropped further because inspectors have been banned from North Korea for four years, nearly as long as they were out of Iraq before their readmittance just before the 2003 invasion. In Iraq’s case, intelligence analysts extrapolated from the last information they had to assess what kind of weapons Iraq might be producing.

Outside experts, including David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear arms, have suggested in recent days that something similar happened in North Korea’s case. “The evidence doesn’t support the extrapolation” to the judgment that North Korea was making crucial strides in its uranium program, Mr. Albright said in an interview. “The extrapolation went too far.”

He said administration analysts were right in thinking that Dr. Khan had sold North Korea about 20 centrifuges. Gen. Pervez Musharraf (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/pervez_musharraf/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the Pakistani president, confirmed that in a memoir published last year. But, Mr. Albright said, intelligence agencies overstated whether North Korea had used those few machines as models to construct row upon row of carbon copies.

His report zeroed in on thousands of aluminum tubes that the North Koreans bought and tried to buy in the early 2000s. The C.I.A. and the Bush administration, the report said, pointed to these tubes as the “smoking gun” for construction of a large-scale North Korean plant for the enriching of uranium. It was assessments about the purpose of aluminum tubes that were at the center of the flawed Iraq intelligence.

In the North Korea case, intelligence analysts saw the tubes as ideal for centrifuges. But Mr. Albright said the relatively weak aluminum tubes were suitable only for stationary outer casings — not central rotors, which have to be very strong to keep from flying apart while spinning at tremendous speeds.

Moreover, he added, the aluminum tubes were “very easy to get and not controlled” by global export authorities because of their potentially harmless nature. So that purchase, by itself, Mr. Albright added, was “not an indicator” of clandestine use for nuclear arms.

David E. Sanger reported from Washington, and William J. Broad from New York.


March 1st, 2007, 10:50 PM
It all really makes me want to throw up my hands and just go to sleep until January '09 ...

Gregory Tenenbaum
March 2nd, 2007, 05:25 AM
I don't know what to say.

I agree that this is very depressing. At the same time, I am reminded of what Israel did in 1981 to the Iraqui nuclear plant.


I don't think that the Japanese would hesitate if they truly believed that they were in any danger. But that of course, could spark a war.

March 2nd, 2007, 05:58 AM
I seem to be posting a "round robin" of articles about nuclear capabilities in North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran/Syria.

Sometimes I wish that a WNY member with a genius intellect could rope all these articles together and form one topic that gives us all a higher understanding.

Then I realize that it's quite simple:
George Bush has started a full-blown nuclear arms race.

Breakfast, anyone?

March 2nd, 2007, 11:12 AM
Yes, indeed ... Mr. Bush has done just that ^^^ .

He obviously thinks that he is so all powerful that former arms treaties / agreements mean nothing.

The danger that Bush creates with his reckless acts is dumbfounding.

One can't halp but wonder if a belief that this life on earth is a mere way station on the path to life everlasting in another realm doesn't warp a person's decision making process.

March 5th, 2007, 10:27 AM
U.S. to Offer North Korea Face-Saving Nuclear Plan

By DAVID E. SANGER (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/david_e_sanger/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
The New York Times
March 5, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 4 — In an effort to make the best of newly murky intelligence about North Korea (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/northkorea/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), Bush administration officials say they plan to tell the North’s nuclear negotiators on Monday that Washington’s doubts about how much progress the country has made in enriching uranium gives North Korea a face-saving way to surrender its nuclear equipment.

The new approach to solve a dispute over the existence and extent of a uranium program, which intelligence agencies say could have been developed using equipment that the North Koreans purchased from Pakistan, will come at a meeting with North Korea at the United Nations (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org). It is the first session intended to hammer out a schedule under which North Korea is supposed to disable its main nuclear plant and then account for all its nuclear programs.

Because the agreement includes providing North Korea with a million tons of fuel oil before it turns over its suspected arsenal of nuclear arms and fuel, some of President Bush’s conservative allies have denounced it as a dangerous concession. Mr. Bush has called it a “first step,” though it bears similarities to the kind of deal that the administration rejected in its first term.

On Sunday, Christopher R. Hill, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said that at the meeting he planned to “form an agenda to work on our bilateral relationship — what’s involved in the establishment of diplomatic relations, what’s involved before North Korea can get off the state-sponsor-of-terrorism list, and how to get them off the Trading with the Enemies Act.” He said he would be “pressing for disclosure of all their nuclear programs, including highly enriched uranium.”

Persuading North Korea to address that program will be particularly challenging — both because the North Koreans have denied seeking to enrich uranium and because a top American intelligence official told Congress last week that there was only moderate confidence that the equipment North Korea bought had been used. But that ambiguity, officials say, may give North Korea the chance to turn over its equipment with a vague explanation that an effort to produce energy, rather than a bomb, did not work out.

That is a very different tone than intelligence officials struck in November 2002, just after American officials told the North Koreans that they had discovered evidence of the purchase of centrifuges, the high-speed devices that enrich uranium, from Abdul Qadeer Khan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/abdul_qadeer_khan/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the head of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

In an unclassified, single-page report distributed to members of Congress at the time, top agency officials, headed by George J. Tenet (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/george_j_tenet/index.html?inline=nyt-per), then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org), reported, “We recently learned that the North is constructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational — which could be as soon as mid-decade.”

On Friday, three days after the testimony of Joseph DeTrani, the North Korea coordinator for the director of national intelligence, suggesting doubts about the current state of the program, Senator Carl Levin (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/carl_levin/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Democrat of Michigan and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/condoleezza_rice/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/robert_m_gates/index.html?inline=nyt-per) seeking more answers.

“Is this still the intelligence community’s assessment?” he asked of the 2002 report. “If not, why, and when did the intelligence community revise this assessment? What is the current intelligence community assessment?”

He also asked what underlay the conclusion that an enrichment plant was under construction.


2002 Intelligence Assessment on North Korea Given to Congress (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/international/20070305_KOREA.pdf) (pdf)

March 17th, 2007, 08:43 AM
N.Korea plans to shut down nuke facility

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070317/capt.xkc10303171055.hong_kong_north_korea_frozen_f unds_xkc103.jpg
U.S. Treasury Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Glaser speaks in Hong Kong, Saturday, March 17, 2007.
The senior U.S. Treasury Department official met with Macau officials on Saturday to discuss the investigation of a local bank accused of helping
North Korea launder money and handle counterfeit currency. After meeting behind closed doors for about four hours,
Glaser left the Chinese territory without commenting to reporters.
A news conference was planned later Saturday in nearby Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

By BO-MI LIM, Associated Press Writer
March 17, 2007

North Korea told delegates at international nuclear talks on Saturday that it is preparing to shut down its main nuclear facility, South Korea's chief nuclear envoy said, a key step promised in a landmark pact last month.

North Korea's delegation told a working group meeting that it has "begun preparations to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility," South Korean nuclear envoy Chun Yung-woo told reporters.

North Korea also said it will submit a list of its nuclear programs and will disable its nuclear facility "as soon as the right conditions are created," Chun said, without explaining what the conditions were.

The remarks came hours after North Korea's main negotiator said his country will not stop its nuclear activities unless all of the $25 million of its money frozen in a Macau bank is released.

The U.S. Treasury Department earlier this week ended its investigation of Banco Delta Asia — which had been blacklisted for its alleged complicity in North Korean money laundering — paving the way to unfreeze a portion of the money.

However, the North's Kim Kye Gwan said Pyongyang expected all the funds to be released before it would follow through on a Feb. 13 agreement to close its main nuclear facility and allow U.N. inspectors to visit.

"We will not stop our nuclear activity until our funds frozen in the BDA are fully released," he said, referring to the bank by its initials. "We will not stop the Yongbyon nuclear facility until the United States fully releases our funds frozen in the BDA."

Kim said his government had not heard anything official about the lifting of financial sanctions. He arrived in Beijing Saturday ahead of a new round of six-nation nuclear disarmament talks set to begin Monday. It was the first official response by the North to Washington's decision.

Washington had promised to resolve the issue as part of the implementation of the February agreement under which North Korea agreed to shut down Yongbyon, its main nuclear reactor and processing facility, and allow U.N. inspectors in for verification by April 14.

In return, North Korea would receive energy and economic assistance and a start toward normalizing relations with the U.S. and Japan.

Christopher Hill, the chief American nuclear negotiator, said earlier Saturday that he planned to brief Kim on the issue on Saturday, but did not foresee any complications.

"I don't think BDA will be an obstacle," he said before meeting Kim. "I think we'll work that out."

A senior U.S. Treasury Department official arrived in Macau on Saturday to discuss the results of the investigation with Macanese officials.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Danny Glaser said Saturday that Macau — a semiautonomous Chinese territory — will have to decide whether to release any of the North Korean funds that have been frozen since 2005
"The Macanese authorities have been acting professionally and responsibly through the course of this matter," he told reporters.

"We did discuss the funds. I think it is important to emphasize this was a Macanese action to freeze the funds, and it would be a Macanese process to determine" whether to release them, he said.

The risk assessment carried out by the Treasury Department could be used by Macau authorities to release between $8 million and $12 million of the frozen funds, The Associated Press has reported.

Hill also said the U.S. plans to raise the issue of North Korea's alleged uranium enrichment program during international nuclear talks.

U.S. allegations that North Korea has a uranium enrichment program brought on the nuclear crisis in 2002 that led the country to kick out U.N. inspectors and ultimately contributed to North Korea testing its first nuclear bomb in October.

North Korea has never publicly acknowledged that it has such a program, although Kim indicated the North was willing to discuss the issue with Washington.

"We are willing to cooperate with the United States to address the allegations," Kim said. "We will clarify this when (the U.S.) presents the evidence."

Washington will also discuss benchmarks for progress in Pyongyang's denuclearization efforts, Hill said.

North Korea would be rewarded for meeting those benchmarks with deliveries of heavy fuel oil agreed under the agreement, he said.

Also Saturday, delegates from the six nations involved in the nuclear talks — the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — met for a working group meeting focused on the denuclearization process.

Akio Suda, Japan's ambassador in charge of the North Korea nuclear issue, said discussions focused on the need to get Pyongyang's nuclear programs "abandoned and incapacitated" but didn't give any details.

The meeting will last through Sunday, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, China's top negotiator.
Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to the report.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


April 14th, 2007, 08:34 AM
North Korea nuclear deadline passes without movement
Posted : Sat, 14 Apr 2007 10:06:00GMT Author : DPA

Beijing - A deadline for North Korea to begin dismantling key nuclear facilities passed on Saturday with no sign of movement from Pyongyang and the transfer of frozen North Korean funds apparently still unresolved. US negotiator Christopher Hill said the six-party process for negotiating an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons programme lacked momentum.

"We don't have a lot of momentum right now, that is for sure," Hill told reporters in Beijing before a planned meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei.

Hill repeated US statements urging Pyongyang to make more effort to meet its obligations under a six-party agreement made in February with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

North Korea has demanded the release of 25 million dollars frozen at a Macau bank before it takes any of the agreed "initial steps" towards dismantling its nuclear facilities.

US officials said the Macau Monetary Authority had agreed earlier this week to release the funds from the Banco Delta Asia, and North Korea on Friday said "a financial institution concerned will confirm soon whether the measure is valid.

"But China's Foreign Ministry on Friday again urged all sides to make "constructive efforts" to resolve the issue and promote the six-party talks process.

"China has noticed the recent statements made by the US Treasury Department and that made by the Macau Special Administrative Region government, and we hope these are conducive to properly resolving relevant issues," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

On Thursday, Qin said authorities in mainland China and Macau retained unspecified concerns over the transfer of North Korean funds to the Bank of China, despite US statements saying the issue had been resolved.

Qin said only that the transfer should be "conducive to maintaining financial and social stability in Macau" and also "conducive to the process of the six-party talks."

The Chinese government reacted to last month's decision by the US to cut off the bank from the US financial system by expressing "deep regret that the United States is insisting on using US domestic law to apply a ruling on Banco Delta Asia."

Authorities in Macau and Beijing may be concerned over the fallout for the Banco Delta Asia, and by the implications for the Bank of China if it handles funds that Washington has publicly identified as linked to money laundering, counterfeiting and drug-trafficking.

Officials said last Wednesday that North Korea had assured a US delegation that it would honour its agreement to begin shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which produces weapons-grade plutonium, immediately after it gains access to the frozen funds.

However US broadcaster NBC quoted North Korean negotiator Kim Kye Gwan as saying that Pyongyang would require an extension of at least 30 days to the deadline for shutting down the reactor.

Copyright © 2007 Respective Author

April 15th, 2007, 06:27 AM
Since when has North Korea ever been on time or kept a promise? Their erratic behavior is unpredictable and most of all untrustworthy. Kim Jong Il and his administration is so full of bull, they have become predictable. When I read that North Korea was going to resume talks and disarm the first time, I said ok, we'll give them a chance. Now, after the 15th time, nothings changed. DPRK resumes being completely irresponsible. So you know what I think? I think the world should just give up on Kim Jong Il and his idiotic government. Let's see if he gets stressed enough to beg for help

May 14th, 2007, 02:19 AM
New N. Korea missile can hit Guam


SEOUL--North Korea apparently has a new intermediate-range ballistic missile that is capable of hitting U.S. territory, but it is not clear if the weapon is capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

Sources in the South Korean government said the new missile was unveiled at a military parade held last month in Pyongyang to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army.

Photos of the parade taken by U.S. spy satellites were the clearest indication yet that Pyongyang has expanded its arsenal.

American officials relayed their intelligence to officials in the Japanese and South Korean governments, sources said.

The missiles are believed to have a range of up to about 5,000 kilometers, which would place the U.S. territory of Guam within range.

The actual capability of the missile is still unknown because there has yet to be confirmation by Western intelligence of launch tests.(IHT/Asahi: May 14,2007)


May 14th, 2007, 02:49 AM
*:cool:* North Korea Bomb Jokes *:cool:*

"Apparently North Korea set off a nuclear bomb. Now they say the seismic tests were inconclusive. So basically we have no idea whether they did it or not -- or as the Bush administration calls it, 'a slam dunk.'" --Bill Maher

"Kim Jong-Il said after the test was conducted, he got an e-mail from Congressman Foley telling him he would love him long time." --Jay Leno

"Democrats attacked President Bush for his North Korean policy. And Bush said, 'Gotcha. I don't have a North Korean policy.'" --Jay Leno

"The Republicans finally got some good news over the weekend. The North Koreans set off a nuclear bomb. Thank God. It was so powerful it knocked the Mark Foley story right off the front page. And knocked him off the page he was on, too." --Jay Leno

"This week, President Bush said he has no plans to invade North Korea. Bush said, 'This time, Rumsfeld and I are going to wing it.'" --Conan O'Brien

"President Bush said today we should be patient with North Korea and use diplomacy and not rush into any kind of military actions. You know what that means? No oil over there." --Jay Leno

...And don't forget what Jon Stewart said two months ago: *:cool:*

"Over the weekend, North Korea, seen here in parade form, stunned the world by agreeing to end its nuclear weapons program in exchange for a White House pledge not to invade them. The surprise breakthrough in the talks made banner headlines -- until the next day when unfortunately North Korea backed out and vowed to keep its weapons until Washington gave it a nuclear reactor. Now I understand that Kim Jong Il enjoys Western entertainment, so, on the off chance that he may be watching this program, I would like to take a moment to address the dear leader. ... Listen f---head, you got the Bush administration to promise not to attack you. Don't blow that. Mexico can't even get that. Every day, Canadians check the map to make sure we didn't move the border on them overnight. We're bad-ass, baby!"

Source, and more North Korea jokes:

February 26th, 2008, 10:30 PM
February 27, 2008

Philharmonic Stirs Emotions in North Korea

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Lorin Maazel conducting the New York Philharmonic at the
East Pyongyang Grand Theater in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday.


PYONGYANG, North Korea — As the New York Philharmonic played the opening notes of “Arirang,” a beloved Korean folk song, a murmur rippled through the audience. Many in the audience perched forward in their seats.

The piccolo played a long, plaintive melody. Cymbals crashed, harp runs flew up, the violins soared. And tears began forming in the eyes of the staid audience, row upon row of men in dark suits, women in colorful high-waisted dresses called hanbok and all of them wearing pins with the likeness of Kim Il-sung, the nation’s founder.

And right there, the Philharmonic had them. The full-throated performance of a piece deeply resonant for both North and South Koreans ended the orchestra’s historic concert in this isolated nation on Tuesday in triumph.

The audience applauded for more than five minutes, and orchestra members, some of them crying, waved. People in the seats cheered and waved back, reluctant to let the visiting Americans leave.

“Was that an emotional experience!” said Jon Deak, a bass player, backstage moments after the concert had ended. “It’s an incredible joy and sadness and connection like I’ve never seen. They really opened their hearts to us.”

The “Arirang” rendition also proved moving for the orchestra’s eight members of Korean origin. “It brought tears to my eyes,” said Michelle Kim, a violinist whose parents moved from the North to Seoul, South Korea, during the Korean War.

The piece was part of a program carefully constructed to showcase the orchestra and its tradition. A State Department official who accompanied Zarin Mehta, the orchestra’s president, on a planning trip to Pyongyang, the North’s capital, last year suggested that “Arirang” be played, Mr. Mehta said.

The emotional setting took a turn away from the political theme that had dominated the visit, which began on Monday and ends on Wednesday, when the orchestra flies to Seoul.

It was the first time an American cultural organization had appeared here, and the largest contingent of United States citizens to appear since the Korean War. The trip has been suffused with political importance since North Korea’s invitation came to light last year. It was seen by some as an opening for warmer relations with the United States, which North Korea has long reviled.

The concert brought a “whole new dimension from what we expected,” Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonic’s music director, told reporters afterward. “We just went out and did our thing, and we began to feel this warmth coming back.”

He suggested that there would be a bigger impact. “I think it’s going to do a great deal,” he said. “I was told 200 million people were watching. That’s important for the people who want relations to improve.” The concert was broadcast live in many nations, as well as in North Korea.

“If it does come to be seen in retrospect as a historical moment,” he added, “we will all be very proud.”

Still, there was little indication that the good will generated by the visit would affect a critical issue: North Korea’s nuclear program, and efforts to determine the extent of it.

At a banquet following the concert, a North Korean official sang the orchestra’s praises. “All the members of the New York Philharmonic opened the hearts of the Korean people,” said the vice minister of culture, Song Sok-hwan told the orchestra. He called the concert “an important occasion to open a chapter of mutual understanding between the two countries.”

It did not appear that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-il, was present at the concert. High-ranking officials did attend, including the vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the vice culture minister and the chairman of the Pyongyang People’s Committee, akin to mayor.

In Washington, on Tuesday, the White House played down the significance of the concert, while criticizing the North for failing to meet its commitments to disarm. Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said the performance neither hurt nor helped American diplomatic efforts.

“At the end of the day, we consider this concert to be a concert,” Ms. Perino said, “and it’s not a diplomatic coup.”

At the outset, the sound of the American national anthem at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater was striking. The North Korean anthem came first, and the audience stood for both. The flags of both countries flanked the stage, which was separated from the audience by a bank of flowers. The players moved on to the prelude to Act III of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” and Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony.

Then Mr. Maazel introduced the next work, “American in Paris” by Gershwin. “Someday a composer may write a work titled ‘Americans in Pyongyang,’ ” he said. In Korean, he added, “Enjoy!” The audience, mostly stony-faced until then, grew slightly more animated.

For an encore, Mr. Maazel introduced the overture to “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein, which the orchestra played conductorless, in homage to Bernstein, a former Philharmonic music director.

The concert evoked other orchestra missions to repressive states, like the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1956, followed soon after by a Philharmonic visit, and the Philadelphia Orchestra’s trip to China in 1973.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Mr. Maazel drew a distinction between Tuesday night’s concert and the Philharmonic’s visit to the Soviet Union.

“It showed Soviet citizens that they could have relations with foreign organizations and these organizations could come in the country freely,” he said. “But what the Soviets didn’t realize was this was a two-edged sword, because by doing so they allowed people from outside the country to interact with their own people, and to have an influence. It was so long lasting that eventually the people in power found themselves out of power” in a country that was a “global threat.”

“The Korean Peninsula is a very small area geographically,” Mr. Maazel said, “and has an entirely different role to play in the course of human events.” Drawing a parallel, he added, “would do a disservice to the people who live here and are trying to do their art and make a better world for themselves and all of us.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting from Washington.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

February 27th, 2008, 10:31 AM
February 27, 2008


For One Evening, U.S., North Korea Set Aside Enmity

New York Philharmonic Gets Rousing Ovation; Kim Jong Il Takes a Pass

February 27, 2008; Page A1

PYONGYANG, North Korea -- The New York Philharmonic was betting that its rendition of the Korean folk song "Arirang" would be the emotional climax to its historic concert here last night. Instead, the audience created a climax of its own.

As orchestra members finished the encore and stood to leave the stage, the crowd of 1,400 clapped more and more loudly. A few of them waved. The Philharmonic's trombone and trumpet players did, too.

With that spark, the North Koreans burst into cheering and waving, from the front rows to the top balcony. The ovation continued for another five minutes.

Backstage later, some musicians were in tears. The ovation "sent us into orbit," said music director Lorin Maazel. He said he interpreted the audience as saying, "We understand the gesture of coming here. It could not have been easy for you. We appreciate that you did."

Few diplomats think the tour -- which was sparked by a talk between U.S. and North Korean diplomats last summer and received the support of the State Department -- will lead to a quick rapprochement between the U.S. and North Korea, locked in one of the last great Cold War feuds. But it was an exceptional moment for two nations mired in six decades of mistrust, with political and economic policies in direct opposition.

There were some mutual snubs. Dictator Kim Jong Il didn't attend. "Our general is very busy," said North Korea's culture minister, Kang Nung Su. A foreign diplomat based in Pyongyang told reporters Mr. Kim considered attending until Friday, when it became clear no senior U.S. officials would.

In another sign that North Korea's officials had mixed feelings about the concert, its news media, which are state-run, gave the visit little attention. Rodung Shinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, ran a photo and brief article on page four. Six North Korean musicians who rehearsed with the orchestra in the morning didn't appear for the concert. No explanation was given.

Even if the trip produces no diplomatic breakthroughs, it marked a milestone in an impoverished Stalinist dictatorship whose 22 million people had never been visited by a U.S. group with anything approaching the Philharmonic's prestige. Official propaganda has long taught North Koreans to hate, fear and blame the U.S. for their troubles. "The New York Philharmonic's visit gives us a meaningful omen" for better relations, Mr. Kang said in an interview after the concert.

The U.S. and North Korea are still technically at war. Their latest disagreement is over details of an aid-for-disarmament deal that was reached a year ago with participation from China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. North Korea says the other countries are late in delivery of heavy fuel oil and other help they promised. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its partners want North Korea to deliver a promised inventory of nuclear weapons and weapons-development facilities.

After the concert, North Korea was eager for more cultural exchanges -- Mr. Kang said he's ready to send the North Korean state orchestra to the U.S. -- but Washington is still focused on the nuclear issue. In recent days, American officials made clear they didn't expect a major change in relations unless Mr. Kim more readily accepts a denuclearized North Korea, which he has shown little sign of doing. The State Department helped the Philharmonic in dealings with North Korea and sent a mid-level diplomat to the concert, but she didn't meet officials here.

Oddities are par for the course in this hermit state, and, like the Philharmonic, North Korean officials rolled out some of their old standards for the visitors. They allowed no movement without a North Korean guide and little contact with ordinary North Koreans. The Philharmonic's entourage moved through the city in fast-moving convoys of buses and minivans.

The city's streets were decorated with posters exhorting people to uphold their fighting spirit. One showed a fist smashing into a map of the U.S. and a sprawled out American soldier. "Those who hurt our pride, wherever you are, we will put an end to it," the poster said.

In a puzzling twist, dozens of workers shoveled snow off the greens and tees of a golf course near the Philharmonic's hotel yesterday morning, but no one cleared snow and ice from the stairs of the theater where it played.

Reporters were given a tour of the subway, built deep underground for safety against a nuclear attack. A two-car train arrived, with one car half-full and the other conveniently empty. Reporters were herded onto the empty car for a one-stop trip.

At the Grand People's Study House, North Korea's threadbare answer to the Library of Congress, students said they came from various universities to do research. In one room, dozens of them sat in front of computers. A guide said none of the computers had Internet hookups.

And while the auditorium where the orchestra played was toasty, helped by the heat cast by lights brought in for the television broadcast, the hallway and lobby were nearly as cold as outdoors.

Along with familiar strains, North Korea rolled out some new tunes. The breakfast buffet featured a giant ice sculpture of an eagle and a fish. There were high-speed Internet connections for visiting reporters and organizers. When a reporter began talking to the North Koreans who attended the rehearsal, the guide accompanying him said nothing.

The performance began with the orchestra standing to play the national anthems of North Korea and the U.S. The audience, an elite audience of party officials and others, stood for both pieces, aired live on television.

The Philharmonic played Antonin Dvorak's "New World Symphony" and George Gershwin's "An American in Paris." Introducing the Gershwin piece, Mr. Maazel drew laughter when he said, "Someday a composer may write a work called 'Americans in Pyongyang.'" Today, Mr. Maazel will also rehearse with the North Korea State Symphony, which is planning a tour of its own in September, to the United Kingdom.

The Philharmonic stretched to make the visit happen. It lined up donors who provided funding and transportation. The group flew to Pyongyang in a 747 provided by South Korea's Asiana Airlines that carried both passengers and cargo, a rare instance in which the musicians flew with their instruments and wardrobe. To make that happen, the group's stage crew pulled an all-nighter to pack in both Pyongyang and Beijing before it.

Michelle Kim, a Korean-American violinist whose parents were born in what is now North Korea, said she was overcome with emotion after the concert and the audience's farewell. The performance of "Arirang," a song popular in both halves of the Korean peninsula, "brought back so many memories," she said. "I grew up with it. It's part of my heart."

The performance also made her reflect on the peninsula's continuing divide. "I'm greatly saddened by the fact that people here are so poor," she said. "You look out of the window, there are so many vacant buildings.... I can only imagine what it's like outside of Pyongyang."

Write to Evan Ramstad at evan.ramstad@wsj.com7 and Peter Landers at peter.landers@wsj.com8

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

March 29th, 2008, 08:50 PM
In his 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush referred to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil."

Latest polling shows, at least in the prevailing attitude of Americans, North Korea has dropped out of the top three. I can't imagine what Bush thinks.


March 28, 2008

North Korea Drops Out of Top Three U.S. “Enemies”

Iran and Iraq lead the list, followed by China

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- With the United States and North Korea reaching some major diplomatic agreements over North Korea's nuclear program in the past year, the percentage of Americans citing that country as the United States' greatest enemy has dropped by half, from 18% in February 2007 to 9% today. Iran and Iraq continue to lead the list, while China has moved into third.


No more than 3% of Americans name any other country as the United States' top enemy. The few others mentioned by at least 1% include Afghanistan (3%), Pakistan (2%), Russia (2%), Saudi Arabia (1%), and Venezuela (1%). An additional 3% say the United States is its own greatest enemy.

Trends in Perceived Enemies

Gallup first asked this "greatest enemy" question in the pre-9/11, pre-Iraq war environment at the outset of George W. Bush's presidency in February 2001, at which time Iraq was the clear leader, followed by China and then Iran. Since then, the biggest changes have been a decline in the proportion of Americans naming Iraq, and big increases (at least through 2007) in the percentages naming Iran and North Korea.


The percentage naming Iraq fell from 38% in 2001 to 22% in February 2005, and has remained at about that level in each subsequent year. No doubt the sectarian violence in Iraq and the ongoing U.S. military engagement there has kept Iraq in the top tier of countries Americans perceive as the greatest enemy, although the new Iraqi government is ostensibly an ally of the United States, supporting the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Mentions of Iran and North Korea were only 8% and 2%, respectively, in February 2001. However, with President Bush defining both countries in his 2002 State of the Union address as part of an "axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," more Americans have given each country the top enemy designation. North Korea took a big jump to 22% by February 2005 while mentions of Iran expanded to 31% by February 2006.

All along, between 10% and 14% of Americans have named China, placing it either third or fourth on the list each time. It is unclear whether perceptions of China as an enemy are in the traditional political and military framework, or in economic terms. The same poll finds more Americans naming China rather than the United States as the world's leading economic power, so there is certainly the potential that some Americans view China's economic strength as a hostile threat.

In line with President Bush's current foreign policy worldview, Republicans are most likely to name Iran as the United States' top enemy (39%) -- more than twice the percentage among Democrats (16%). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to mention Iraq (27% vs. 16%), while differences are not as pronounced in mentions of China and North Korea.


Identification of Iraq as the United States' top enemy today -- arguably a misperception held over from attitudes formed during the regime of Saddam Hussein -- is strongly associated with Americans' age and the related factor of self-reported attention to world affairs. Older Americans, and, correspondingly, those who closely follow news about foreign countries, are much less likely to designate Iraq as the United States' top enemy than are younger adults and those who are less attentive to international news.


Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,007 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Feb. 11-14, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


Copyright © 2008 Gallup, Inc.

Just in time for the Olympics.

March 29th, 2008, 10:39 PM
How can Iraq be an enemy exactly? The US is allied with the government are they not?

March 29th, 2008, 11:16 PM
It's not an 'enemy' based on political/military alliances. It's what countries people think are a threat to US security.


An additional 3% say the United States is its own greatest enemy.

March 31st, 2008, 06:09 PM
I am a bit confused as to the appellation of the countries threat to the US.

That many Dems saying Iraq is a threat cannot be along the line of thinking of them as a sovereign nation and HQ for Terrorist Central, I think that they see it is a potential threat now that we removed the despotic damper that we had in place before the war.

On a large scale, I see Iraq as a very small threat to the US at large. China is the biggest threat in many facets, and Iran could cause problems. But even with terrorist attacks, Iran and Iraq would be hard pressed to hurt as many people as China simply changing the prices on its goods or becoming self-reliant enough to place an embargo on us....

June 18th, 2009, 07:43 AM
Report: NKorea may fire
missile toward Hawaii

5 hours ago

TOKYO (AP) — North Korea may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii in early July, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday, amid escalating tensions between the communist country and the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The missile, believed to be a long-range Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers), would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, said the Yomiuri daily, Japan's top-selling newspaper. The report cited an analysis by the Japanese Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.

The Yomiuri said the Taepodong-2 could fly over Japan and toward Hawaii, but that it would not be able to hit the main islands of Hawaii, which lie about 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) from the Korean peninsula.

The missile launch could come between July 4 and 8, the paper said. It noted that North Korea had fired its first Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 2006. Also, July 8 is the anniversary of the 1994 death of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

The Yomiuri report was the latest in mounting media speculation that the communist country could launch a long-range missile soon following its underground nuclear test on May 25.

A spokesman for the Japanese Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report. Officials from South Korea's Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service — the country's main spy agency — said they could not confirm it.

In Washington on Tuesday, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the West Coast of the United States.

North Korea is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs. The regime revealed last week that it is also producing enriched uranium. The two materials are key ingredients for making atomic bombs.

North Korea conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 following its first underground atomic blast in October 2006.

The United Nations last week punished North Korea over the May nuclear test by expanding an arms embargo and authorizing ship searches on the high seas in a bid to derail its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea has claimed its nuclear bombs are a deterrent against the United States and accuses Washington of plotting with Seoul to topple its secretive regime — led by the unpredictable dictator Kim Jong Il who is reportedly preparing to hand over power to his 26-year-old youngest son, Jong Un.

Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

June 22nd, 2009, 04:06 AM
Distraction from domestic issues.

August 4th, 2009, 08:24 PM
North Korea pardons U.S. journalists
as Clinton meets Kim

By Jack Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea ordered the release of two jailed American journalists on Tuesday after former U.S. President Bill Clinton held talks with Kim Jong-il and the reclusive and ailing leader issued what North Korea's KCNA news agency said was a "special pardon" for the pair.

The talks in Pyongyang were the highest-level contact between the United States and North Korea since Clinton was in office nearly a decade ago.

KCNA said Clinton left North Korea shortly after news of the imminent release of the two journalists, Euna Lee, 36, and Laura Ling, 32, who work for Current TV, an American TV outlet co-founded by Clinton's vice president, Al Gore. The agency did not mention the journalists.

The pair were arrested on the North Korea-China border in March while reporting on the trafficking of women and accused of illegal entry.

A North Korean court sentenced them last month to 12 years of hard labor for what it called grave crimes.

"The families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee are overjoyed by the news of their pardon," said a statement posted on a website created to support the two journalists.

The statement expressed gratitude to President Barack Obama and several high officials of his administration as well as thanking Clinton "for taking on such an arduous mission."

But there were immediate questions about what Clinton had discussed with Kim beyond the fate of the two reporters during a visit that gave Kim what he craved -- direct U.S. attention and a visit from a highly placed emissary.

The North Korean news agency insisted Clinton had "courteously conveyed a verbal message of U.S. President Barack Obama expressing profound thanks for this and reflecting views on ways of improving the relations between the two countries."

The White House denied Clinton carried any sort of message from Obama.

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, told MSNBC television that Clinton was on a "private humanitarian mission" and that "I don't think it's related to other issues."

Clinton, husband of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was the highest-level American to visit the reclusive communist state since his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, went there in 2000.

He was received warmly and had what KCNA described as an "exhaustive conversation" over dinner with Kim and his top aides.

The North Koreans immediately sought to put their stamp on the visit.

"Clinton expressed words of sincere apology to Kim Jong Il for the hostile acts committed by the two American journalists against the DPRK after illegally intruding into it. Clinton courteously conveyed to Kim Jong Il an earnest request of the U.S. government to leniently pardon them and send them back home from a humanitarian point of view," KCNA said.

It said the visit would "contribute to deepening the understanding between the DPRK (North Korea), and the U.S. and building the bilateral confidence."


Clinton's trouble-shooting mission coincided with intense speculation over succession in Asia's only communist dynasty. Several reports suggest an increasingly frail-looking Kim, 67, has settled on his third son to take over.

"It's just what they (North Korea's leaders) need," said B.R. Myers, an expert on the North's state ideology at the South's Dongseo University.

Relations between the United States and North Korea have been particularly tense since the North conducted a nuclear test on May 25 and Washington responded by leading an effort to tighten international sanctions against Pyongyang.

The impoverished North has turned its back on negotiations over its nuclear arsenal with regional powers, including the United States and China.

Even so, Clinton's visit may help improve the atmosphere enough to restart talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

Yun Duk-min of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul said the visit held out the possibility of "a dramatic turnaround by North Korea that could lead to a new phase of negotiations."

The Clinton administration was believed to have been close to agreement with the North before he turned over power to George W. Bush in 2001.

Other analysts cautioned that Clinton's visit was rewarding North Korea's "bad behavior" and predicted Pyongyang may try to use it as leverage to wring concessions from Washington.

"I think it's not a good idea," said John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Bush presidency. "I think it expands the risk that North Korea and others will draw the conclusion that they can extract political concessions for holding Americans hostage."

It was the second time a former U.S. president had traveled to North Korea to try to defuse a crisis. Former President Jimmy Carter flew there in 1994 when tensions were running high, again over the North's nuclear weapons program.

He helped broker a deal in which Pyongyang suspended construction of a 50-megawatt plutonium reactor in exchange for heating oil and other energy aid.

(Additional reporting by Yoo Choonsik in Seoul, Lucy Hornby in Beijing, David Morgan and Ross Colvin in Washington; Writing by Christopher Wilson and Steve Holland; Editing by Patricia Wilson and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc.

August 4th, 2009, 10:51 PM
Good news for Bill, Barack, Hillary and the rest of us -- but most of all, great news for Laura & Euna.

August 5th, 2009, 02:40 AM
What's with all these Americans wandering into dangerous territory lately? Obama's got enough on his plate without having to worry about some dopes going and breaking other countries' laws (unwittingly or not).

August 6th, 2009, 09:25 AM
Reaction from the Right

I miss Bush

Bill Clinton rewarding NKorea for bad behavior: Bolton

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is rewarding North Korea for its bad behavior by sending ex-president Bill Clinton to Pyongyang to win the release of two US journalists, the former US ambassador to the UN said Tuesday.

John Bolton, an outspoken hardliner in the previous administration of George W. Bush, told AFP that Clinton's mission to Pyongyang undermines a number of public stands held by his own wife, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"It comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists," Bolton told AFP when asked about Bill Clinton's trip to secure the release of journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

The pair were sentenced in June to 12 years in a labor camp for an illegal border crossing and an unspecified "grave crime," after they were detained by North Korean border guards on March 17 while working on a story.

"I think this is a very bad signal because it does exactly what we always try and avoid doing with terrorists, or with rogue states in general, and that's encouraging their bad behavior," Bolton said.

In a US television interview here on July 26, Secretary Clinton warned North Korea that even its traditional allies had turned against it and that the communist state's rogue behavior will no longer "be rewarded."

Bolton also scoffed the White House's contention that Bill Clinton's visit is "solely a private mission" when he said "this is a former president who is married to the secretary of state. There's nothing private about this."

The visit also undermines Secretary Clinton's public remarks in which she separates the case of the two journalist from efforts to force North Korea to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks, he said.

"Hillary has said she wanted to delink the two but (Bill) Clinton was met at the airport by Kim Kye-Gwan who is the lead and has been for 15 years or more the lead North Korean nuclear negotiator," he added.

He added it "is hard to imagine" that Clinton did not talk about the nuclear issue when he had dinner with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, given the nuclear negotiations that Clinton pursued when he was president in the 1990s.

"If you wanted to divorce the kidnapping, abduction issue of the two reporters from the nuclear issue, you couldn't have picked a less likely envoy than president Clinton," Bolton said.

"I think this is a win-win for North Korea," according to Bolton, who believes all negotiations are useless in trying to force North Korea to abandon its weapons-grade nuclear program.

Copyright © 2009 AFP

Clinton Boosts North Korea

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Was it only a week ago this past Sunday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the North Koreans "unruly children" on "Meet the Press" and said all they wanted was attention and that "we shouldn't give it to them"?

Yes, that was Hillary. The wife of the same Bill Clinton who gave Kim Jung Il 10 years' worth of free good publicity by traveling to North Korea and shining the global spotlight on the "Dear Leader's" generosity in releasing two journalists, whom Jung had illegally seized in the first place. North Korea's last good press was before 1949, but now they shine in the glow of worldwide approval thanks to Bill (and Hillary) Clinton.

Those two nuclear explosions? Hey, so what? Those rockets that can go 4,500 miles and someday hit Hawaii? Lots of countries have them. And haven't the North Koreans proven that they are just plain folks?

History is curiously repeating itself. In 1993, President Clinton was working up the gumption to impose sanctions against North Korea after they were caught enriching uranium, but his momentum -- always difficult to sustain at best -- was derailed when former President Jimmy Carter traveled to Pyongyang to announce a deal with North Korea to stop them from going nuclear. The deal turned out to be nothing more than a green light, but no sanctions were imposed.

Now former President Clinton has upended the world's efforts to isolate and punish North Korea by letting it in from the cold.

Why did he do it? He and Hillary saw a chance for positive publicity. She, newly consigned to the inside pages of the newspaper, and he, entirely absent from them, chaffed at their irrelevance and jumped at the chance to get back into the limelight.

Obama may or may not have initiated the trip, but he knew of it and approved it. Why did Obama OK it? In the upside-down world of Obama's foreign policy, the more a nation is our enemy, the more he feels he has to show it kindness, love, warmth and support. The more it is our ally (Colombia, Israel, Britain, Honduran democracy advocates), the more he must give it the cold shoulder. He calls it engagement. It is really something more than appeasement but, one hopes, less than disloyalty.

But, we suspect, Obama had a more sinister motivation for letting the stunt unfold: He wanted to change the subject from health care. He knows that he is getting clobbered in the national debate. He sees his approval dropping and has been watching as the elderly coalesce against his health care initiative.

So, what better way to drown out his critics of August than to pull off a spectacular hostage release? Obama would gladly punt during August, distract the nation, and then stealthily pass health care in September.

He is terrified of August. August is when legislators discover where their districts are located and go home to get an earful from those they represent. Increasingly, it seems the month will be particularly rocky for Democratic advocates of his health care proposals. He would do anything to change the subject.

But we cannot let him. Please, visit www.dickmorris.com to donate funds to run our TV ads in swing states this month! We need $1 million and we only have $100,000 so far. If you let Obama distract you and change the subject, you will surely lose your health care come this fall!

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network

August 6th, 2009, 11:32 AM
Bolton knows nothing.

The way he was talking on the Daily Show last week saying that the US should have had more of a direct hand in supporting the opposition in Iran just tells me how Continentally myopic Captain Kangaroos bastard brother is.

Sure, I am positive that our support of the resistance (who also does not like us) would have made their job MUCH easier. After all, we are EXPERTS in middle eastern politics and have supported many successful rebellion and resistance groups that have gone on to change the world *cough*OBL*cough*.

I will have to read what he said in this article, but just teh site of this man gets my hackles up.

Ambassador my ass.

August 6th, 2009, 11:43 AM
Bolton prefers to reward bad behavior with bombs.

Look around to see what that philosophy gets us.

August 6th, 2009, 12:40 PM
Jon Steward is my homeboy! (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/06/stewart-slams-cnn-fox-for_n_252658.html):D

August 6th, 2009, 01:59 PM
Charles Krauthammer.

A humorless, dour, unpleasant bastard.

But it's been said that once every year, he lets loose and has some fun.


August 6th, 2009, 03:40 PM
North Korea's last good press was before 1949, but now they shine in the glow of worldwide approval thanks to Bill (and Hillary) Clinton

I must have missed it.

Did you miss it?
Did you miss it?
Some of you people just about missed it!

August 6th, 2009, 03:43 PM

I can't believe that someone actually has the name "Cabbage Hammer".

You would think that SOMEWHERE along the family line, somoene would have gotten up and said "I don't CARE about family pride, WTF am I named Mr. Cabbage Hammer?"