U.S./North Korea Relationship Troubles
"Failed promises and bold tactics"
We are pleased to bring you this analysis of U.S./North Korea relations, made available by http://www.YellowTimes.org
by Ash PulciferLet's get something straight. When it comes to North Korea, the U.S. government is as guilty as they come. The Bush administration has spun North Korea's admission of enriching uranium into an unexpected and ghastly act. For anyone familiar with the United States' dealings with North Korea, it is surprising Pyongyang hasn't made such a move earlier.
December 10, 2002
In 1994, the United States and North Korea entered into the U.S. - DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Agreed Framework, a monumental agreement whereby North Korea accepted a proposal to scrap its creation of plutonium-based nuclear energy facilities in exchange for two light water reactors (LWR). The United States agreed to manage the construction of the LWRs. The reason LWRs were chosen is that the waste they produce is more difficult to convert into weapons-grade material.
As long as North Korea stayed within the framework of the agreement, the U.S. promised the reactors would be built by 2003. But promises made by the United States often fall through, especially with an administration that has reneged on a variety of previous treaties and agreements. So, now, as we enter 2003, progress on the reactors is virtually non-existent. The first reactor won't be built by 2008, if that. The second reactor may be scrapped altogether, as the Bush administration consistently expresses its distaste for the 1994 agreement negotiated by the former Clinton administration.
Even more inflammatory to the North Koreans was the Bush administration request for new nuclear inspections in North Korea. Pyongyang was obviously upset, considering that as part of the Agreed Framework, it did not have to allow inspectors into the country until a "significant portion of the [light-water reactor] project is completed." All parties agree that a "significant portion" of the project hasn't been completed, let alone barely started. Asking to inspect North Korea barely after starting the construction of one reactor was like throwing mud into the faces of the North Korean government.
North Korea, on the other hand, is not about to walk away from the agreement without a fight. The country had abided by the provisions of the framework even though it saw no progress on the LWR construction. Feeling duped, it was only a matter of time before the government launched another complex PR stunt, this time admitting to enriching uranium -- an act that would force the Bush administration to focus on the beleaguered nation due to the overblown rhetoric by the administration of the danger of weapons of mass destruction.
This policy of taking drastic actions to force the United States to the negotiating table also took place in 1998 when North Korea test fired a Taepo-Dong-1 missile. Once again, the U.S. labeled this action as some fanatical move by the North Korean government. Not mentioned, of course, was that North Korea was asserting itself again to force the United States to live up to its promises. In 1993, before the Agreed Framework was drafted, the United States asked North Korea to halt further long-range missile tests for five years in exchange for crude oil and food supplies, and, more importantly, to give the U.S. time to manage funds and get production of the LWRs underway.
Five years later, in 1998, nothing significant had been accomplished with the LWR project, and North Korea engaged the missile test right after the agreement with the U.S. expired. So now we're dealing with the same failed promises by Washington and the same bold tactics by Pyongyang. Let us also not forget the most ridiculous aspect of this scratched record: U.S. government spin artists claiming that this new admission by North Korea is justification for labeling Pyongyang as being part of the infamous "Axis of Evil."
Hardly. This spin is just another policy attempt by the U.S. to delay action on North Korea. Analysts at the Power and Interest News Report (PINR) claim that the United States is merely keeping North Korea as a credible threat for the time being in order to justify the creation of a missile defense shield that will keep the rapidly modernizing China in check. Whatever the reason, the world should not be surprised by the recent actions of the North Korean government.
Ash Pulcifer, a lifelong activist for international human rights, lives in the United States. Ash finds it unacceptable that the world often turns its back to those less fortunate members of our species who are forced to endure poverty and civil strife.
Also see this analysis on U.S. mishandling of North Korea:
A Fool and his Foreign Policy are Soon Parted
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