Korea: Diffusing A Ticking Bomb
Since North Korean
action to agitate the standing nuclear controls agreements, the
DMZ of just 2.5 miles in width and 156 miles in length has attracted
renewed global concern. The DMZ separates one million North Korean
troops and about 37,000 U.S. troops. Each day, highly trained troops
from each side stand a mere 35 feet from each other. But although
that may be routine, the extraordinary steps that civilized countries
are taking to communicate with North Korea are critical, since in
recent years North Korean missile tests have threatened Japan, and
the DPRK’ s instability–along with advanced nuclear power–threatens
neighbors near and far.
Korean Christians pray during a mass anti-North Korean rally
in front of Seoul city hall. Tens of thousands Christians
held a devotional service to criticize North Korea’s recent
withdrawal from a nuclear arms pact and to support the presence
of U.S. troops in South Korea
Dong-Min / REUTERS
Korea’s apparent anger seems to coincide with the presence of
UN inspectors inside Iraq and military building up in the Persian
Gulf, North Korea has set it’s blame for unhappiness on the United
The U.S. and
other leaders have been trying to foster understanding and a harmonious
solution to secure stability, yet the Korean News of DPRK (North
Korea) on Sunday said "the U.S., the assailant, is taking
such a high-handed and menacing attitude towards the DPRK, the
victim, just like a thief crying "stop the thief", blustering
that it would bring the nuclear issue of the DPRK to the UNSC
and take sanctions against the DPRK. This is the height of shamelessness."
Also on Sunday,
U.S. Secretary of State Powell had said that the nuclear issue
of North Korea should be brought to the United Nations, and "concrete
countermeasures including economic sanctions would be seriously
In the evening,
Powell met with Foreign Minister Tang of China, Foreign Minister
de Villepin of France, and Foreign Secretary Derbez of Mexico,
where State department spokesman Richard Boucher said he’d "generally
characterize the discussions as recognition by all that Korea’s
nuclearization has created an international problem, and .. how
the international community can respond, including looking towards
a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors soon to probably refer
the matter to the United Nations, as the Secretary mentioned this
morning on one of the shows."
The DPRK state
run news agency, Korean News, responded to Secretary Powell, saying
he "fully represented the hostile intention of the Bush administration
to shift responsibility for the nuclear issue."
And in concluding
this statement, the DPRK seems to be issuing an ultimatum. Such
as, either allow them [DPRK] to break their nuclear agreement
and do as they wish with the nuclear programs, or if
the US sides with Powell’s "countermeasures" to effect
a peaceful resolution, the DPRK says they "will be left with
no option but to counter it with the toughest stance".
President-elect Roh Moo Hyun is preparing to send special envoys
to China and Russia as part of discussions in seeking a peaceful
solution to the nuclear agitation from North Korea.. Adding to
the efforts, according to Kyodo News, Russian President
Vladamir Putin may be providing a package solution via special
envoy to North Korean Vice Premier Jo Chang Dok.
The U.S. has
met with both North and South Korean officials, and U.S. Secretary
of Defense Rumsfeld capsulized the U.S. position to ABC this weekend:
"The current [U.S.] policy is, as I’ve stated, that we’re
on a diplomatic track."
In New York
on Monday, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov met with Secretary
Powell and took part in UN Security Council meetings involving
Iraq and North Korea. Ivanov told RIA Novosti that meetings
were to address "anti-terror problems."
in the threat posed by North Korea to the region is Russian official
Dmitri Rogozin, President of the Unification, Foreign Affairs
and Foreign Trade Parliamentary Committee of the Republic of Korea.
He told told RIA Novosti that "from the point of
view of our Korean colleagues, this declaration [of withdrawal
from the treaty] is extremely dangerous because, alongside the
complication of the situation on the Korea peninsula, it also
destabilizes the situation in neighboring countries which have
no nuclear weapons but now may, with reference to the Pyongyang
declaration, try to get hold of them".