Today’s NK Dump


Balloons vs. Buffoon: Aerial Propaganda Hits Kim Jong Il:

Balloons vs. Buffoon: Aerial Propaganda Hits Kim Jong Il:

The launches and the threats they provoke do raise concerns. North Korea’s been pretty aggro as it undergoes a leadership transition, shelling a South Korean island near the two countries’ disputed border and showing off a new nuclear weapons facility. Provoking the North with a balloon bombardment during this sensitive time might provide some inspiration to North Koreans — but it might also provoke another showdown with an increasingly itch-trigger-fingered North.

  • North Koreans Hard at Work on New Uranium Reactor:

    The new reactor, or at least the apparent construction of one, may be little more than cover for an extensive uranium enrichment program, since we presumably won’t be able to verify the degree of enrichment. Uranium must be highly enriched before it can be used in a nuclear (but not a radiological) weapon. A new reactor allows the North Koreans to claim that its uranium enrichment program is for the generation of electricity, which is exactly what it said about its plutonium program back in the early 1990’s.

  • Time to Wise Up on North Korea:

    There were, to be sure, a couple of simple requests – nothing that reasonable men couldn’t attend to. There was, for instance, the matter of a “security guarantee”.

    The North Koreans apparently feel the American forces, down to 28,500 from 45,000 when Carter was president in the late 1970s – he had to swallow his pride and keep them there when he wanted to bring every one of them home – are poised to attack. What would be so hard about US President Barack Obama promising to do no such thing? And while they were at it, the Americans should also agree to a formal peace treaty instead of that outmoded armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.

    Carter evinced no sign of having comprehended the advice the quartet received from Daniel Pinkston, head of the International Crisis Group’s Korea office, when he briefed the quartet in Beijing before they took off for Pyongyang.

    “The US is obligated to provide negative security assurance to North Korea,” said Pinkston, but Carter’s remark “seems to imply that the US has not provided negative security assurances”. That, said Pinkston, “is not the case.” Actually, the US has offered the requisite assurance “on several occasions”, he observed.

    But what “would be sufficient in the eyes of the North Korean leadership?” Pinkston asked rhetorically. “If it means things such as renouncing extended deterrence for allies in East Asia and withdrawing US forces,” he responded to his question, “then it’s not going to happen.” And as for “credible commitments and implementation of previous agreements”, he added, North Korea “clearly has reneged on its commitments or failed to implement them”.

  • Armitage: Korea-U.S. Relations ‘Eight and Half’:

    “We don’t have to rush forward every time North Korea barks,” said Armitage. “We want a changed regime, not a regime change.”

  • UN Launching Emergency Food Aid Program in NKorea:

    WFP stressed in a statement that the aid operation in the authoritarian single-party state “will include the highest standards of monitoring and control to ensure that food gets to where it is needed.”

  • Jimmy Carter Gets Hoodwinked by Pyongyang Again:

    Providing food aid to North Korea remains a difficult policy decision. Clearly there is a need since the North Korean populace is suffering from the abysmal conditions imposed by the country’s economic system. Yet North Korea’s track record of belligerency, violation of UN resolutions, diversion of food aid, and resistance to economic reform and monitoring requirements undermine support for providing food assistance. Large-scale aid should not be provided without tangible changes in North Korean policies and behavior.

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Filed under: IGOs, Korea, Link Dumps, WMD Tagged: jimmy carter, kim jong il, north korea, richard armitage, world food program, yongbyon

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