Tag Archives: North Korea

Fizzle Or Pop?

North Korea shot a missile into the air, it fell to water in the Pacific Ocean. No one knows if the missile did what the North Koreans wanted or was it simply a ploy to get the entire world upset and willing to talk with the men of the north? The North Koreans say they shot the missile into the air in order to experiment with some satellite communication. Or is the failure simply an opportunity for North Korean leaders to proclaim to their people what went wrong actually went right?

Who knows what lurks in the hearts of the inscrutable men of the North. Sometimes, one wonders if it is all a gamel and they are having a ball getting the world terrified at their weapons. What if there were no weapons of mass destruction and it was all a farce?

North Korea And Missiles- What Next?

North Korea announced plans to fire a rocket which it claims is carrying a satellite and there are no weapons connected with it. A senior American military official says there is nothing to doubt the accuracy of the North Korean claim about their space launch. However, there is genuine concern and President Obama discussed the issue with President Medvedev of Russia and supposedly both agreed they did not want North Korea to be sending missiles into the air. Even the Chinese who are close to North Korea have some concerns. The issue is whether to have the Security Council impose sanctions on North Korea if it pursues its missile program. The flip side is would China support sanctions against an ally even if it does not agree completly with the the idea of satellites.

Hopefully, after the years of Bush confusion President Obama will work with Russia and China to develop an intelligent foreign policy program that reassures North Korea while working for peace and stability in Asia.

North Korea Continues Its Mysterious Ways

The ever mysterious machinations of North Korean leaders at times come across as simply a desire to keep the world confused concerning exactly what is going on up north. The Japanese newspaper, Sankei Shimbun reveals North Korea will launch a satellite into orbit with the assistance of a team of experts from Iran. American and South Korean Intelligence sources believe the North Koreans are going to launch a middle range ballistic missile. It is assumed the missile will be a veiled warning to the United Nations and anyone else that North Korean will not accept sanctions and intends to do as it pleases.

The presence of Iranian missile experts is only bound to increase tension both in the Middle East and in Asia. At some point, the world has to engage Iran in meaningful dialogue concerning the need to reduce missiles and nuclear development. All too often these days the road to peace lies through Tehran.

Japan Struggles To Define Relationship With Obama

Prime Minister Taro Aso indicated he seeks to establish solid working relationships with the new Obama adminsitration, but he will have problems in achieving that goal. The Japanese prime minister had close working connections with Bush and is unclear as to whether Obama’s policies in Asia will be in line with his goals. Obama needs to focus on rebuilding the American economy, and Japan has enough of its own financial crisis to be of much assistance. Japan is still very much concerned about the kidnapping by North Korea of its citizens, but there is little likelihood this will be of much concern to the Obama administration. Obama wants to end North Korean nuclear programs and will undoubtedly make that his priority, which means he will regard lesser issues of no importance and will avoid dealing with them if they hamper achieving the goal of ending nuclear weapons in North Korea.

The Japanese government has displayed an inept approach to many issues such as the manner in which the history of WWII is taught in its schools which has resulted in anger by Chinese and Korean officials. It is time for Japan to confront issues of the past, put them to rest, and move ahead to focus on contemporary issues. Aso’s buddy, George Bush is history, so begin making history with Obama

Does US Have Contingency Plans For North Korea?

Reports that North Korean dictator, Kim Jong il may have suffered a stroke and currently is under care in a hospital have aroused concern among many nations in Asia as to what would happen if he died. US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is discussing with American military leaders about what might be done if Kim Jong il dies. The United States and South Korean Combined Forces of Command currently have a conceptual contingency plan–code named CONPLAN 5029. The plan supposedly deals with scenarios such as an outflow of thousands of refugees from North Korea or the outbreak of civil war as competing factions in the North Korean army struggle over power.

Gates is concerned about the need to update the plan and is seeking to meet with South Korean officials to discuss future possible actions. There are rumors a new design known as OPLAN 5029 is being prepared. North Korea recently reached an agreement concerning nuclear development with the United States and there is fear if Kim Jong il dies, the next leader might not wish to follow through with the agreement.

Is Something Happening In North Korea?

Any attempt to determine what is happening at the government level in North Korea is an adventure in speculation and mystery. There are reports that some sort of “an announcement of important information will be made on October 20.” Rumors concerning the meaning of the announcement range anywhere from the illness of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to a possible military coup to take over the government. Or, it can be nothing more than an announcement about Kim Jong-il visiting a flower plant. North Korean diplomats reportedly have been told not to leave their posts and await news from the homeland.

Kim Jong-il has not been seen much in public the past few months which adds to stories concerning an illness. Then again, the man lives in a completely different world than the rest of humanity and who knows what he considers to be something “important?”

Bush Policy To North Korea In Shambles

Perhaps, an historian in the coming years will be able to decipher the Bush policy toward North Korea and explain it in terms that make sense of what Bush has or has not been doing. Initially, the president indicated he would not pursue the Clinton initiative towards the North Korean government, but after a few years of deadlock and no progress, Bush switched and said he would negotiate with the Pyongyang government. However, despite agreement by North Korea to allow UN inspectors into investigate and their promise to dismantle nuclear weapon programs, Bush refused to take the name of North Korea off the terrorist regime list.

A few weeks ago, the North Koreans announced they would cease dismantling nuclear weapons and they wanted UN inspectors out of their country. Yesterday, President Bush told the world that North Korea was off the terrorist list. Within hours, the North Korean government said it would resume dismantling nuclear weapons and their foreign ministry made clear, “we welcome the US’s decision to honor its commitment to remove us from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.”

Naturally, this latest mess of confusion could have been avoided if Bush simply had agreed to do what he initially said–remove their names from the terrorist list for agreeing to dismantle nuclear weapons and allow inspection. Why does it always take Bush five mistakes before he does the logical thing?

US Removes DPRK Off Terrorist List

The United States has told Japan that it will remove the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(DPRK) from its terrorist blacklist this month. US envoy Christopher Hill has made clear that the United States would not make verification of Pyongyang’s uranium program of proliferation activities a condition of delisting. The United States has also agreed to continue its policy of providing food and other humanitarian aid to the North Korean government. Hill urged Japan to join in efforts to get food to the people of North Korea but there is no indication that Japan will agree to further food aid.

The DPRK yesterday barred UN monitoring at the Yongbyon nuclear complex. Monitors were told they no longer would have access to any facilities at the nuclear complex. The Bush administration refused to go along with the Clinton program of trying to work with North Korea. After a few years, Bush decided to reach out to North Korea. The entire process is now in a shambles and no one knows what is going on in North Korea.

North Korea Darkness Prevails-Is He Dead Or Alive?

The lingering mystery as to the status of North Korean leader, Kim Jong il continues to confuse foreign policy experts. South Korean Intelligence sources believe the North Korean boss is recovering from surgery or a serious illness but there is no sign he lacks the ability to exert his control. The South Korean National Intelligence Service(NIS) told National Assembly sources there is no power vacuum. Unlike his father, Kim Jong il has not prepared any of his three sons to assume power in case of his death. Most likely, some form of military coalition leadership would assume control of the country and this most likely will result in not being able to engage in meaningful dialogue with the outside world for months to come.

The good news is South Korean military officials have not noticed any sign of movement by opposing North Korean soldiers and the border is calm. It is one of those wait and watch situations. Frankly, no one really knows what will happen.

North Korea Wants Out Of Nuclear Agreement!

The North Korean government said it will halt efforts to disable it nuclear facilities and consider restoring the Yongbyon reactor that can make material for atomic bombs. It charges the United States with violating a disarmament deal. “We have decided to immediately suspend disabling our nuclear facilities,” the KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry official as saying. According to Lee Dong-bok, of the CSIS think tank, “this is a last-ditch effort trying to somehow influence U.S. presidential politics.” The announcement came days after China’s President Hu Jintao left South Korea where he promised to get tough with the North if it did not move toward giving up its nuclear weapons.

As usual, President Bush’s “get tough policy” of threatening other nations unless they fulfill his requirements played a role in the North Korean decision. Instead of offering support and encouragement to North Korea for its actions in working toward nuclear disarmament, he made clear that nation’s name would not be removed from the list of terrorist enemies. Professor Koh Yu-hwan, of Seoul’s Dongguk University believes it is “another card at the negotiation table to urge the U.S. to remove it from the terrorism blacklist as soon as possible.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged nations to remain calm and continue effort to work for nuclear disarmament.

In June, North Korea toppled the cooling tower at its plutonium producing reactor in a symbolic gesture to show its commitment to the nuclear deal. The Bush reaction was not to respond with a symbolic gesture such as removing North Korea from the terrorist list. Instead, he made known the U.S. would play tough. Isn’t this always the Bush approach?