Skip to comments.Defiant N. Korea Vows to Confront U.S.
Posted on 01/01/2003 8:20:50 AM PST by Momaw Nadon
SEOUL, South Korea - Showing no willingness to ease tensions over its nuclear weapons program, North Korea vowed Wednesday to build an army-based "powerful nation" and defy pressure from the United States.
North Korea said it fears a possible U.S. military attack, but President Bush said he was confident the North's nuclear issue can be resolved through diplomacy.
"This is not a military showdown. This is a diplomatic showdown," Bush said Tuesday.
North Korea, in its New Year's Day message, called on its people to unite under "the banner of the army-based policy" and build a "powerful nation" to counter a possible U.S. invasion. The reality is that North Korea is impoverished and dependent on outside food aid, much of it supplied by the United States via the U.N. World Food Program.
"The United States is now becoming all the more frantic in its moves to stifle (North Korea), openly clamoring about a preemptive nuclear attack on it," said the message, carried on the country's foreign news outlet, Korean Central News Agency.
The English-language message did not mention rising international concern over Pyongyang's decision to reactivate its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, but stressed the importance of uniting around the country's military.
In an apparent effort to take advantage of an upsurge in anti-U.S. sentiment in South Korea, the message urged "all the Koreans in the North and the South and abroad" to join in confronting the United States.
"It can be said that there exists on the Korean Peninsula at present only confrontation between the Koreans in the North and the South and the United States," it said.
U.S. and South Korean officials say their alliance is strong, though North Korea often has tried to drive a wedge between them.
Some South Koreans worry that the nuclear dispute could trigger armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the world's last Cold War frontier. More than 2 million troops are massed on both sides of the Korean border, while about 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.
South Korean President-elect Roh Moo-hyun, who won a Dec. 19 vote partly because of surging anti-U.S. sentiment among his people, on Tuesday warned against "blindly following U.S. policy."
"The United States should consult fully with South Korea, rather than making a decision unilaterally and then expecting South Korea to follow it," said Roh, who begins a five-year term in February.
Roh supports outgoing President Kim Dae-jung's "sunshine" policy of engaging North Korea. They believe dialogue is the only viable way to resolve the North's nuclear issue peacefully.
South Korea sent a senior diplomat to Beijing on Wednesday to try to win Chinese support in persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. Lee Tae-sik, South Korea's deputy foreign minister, will meet Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Thursday, South Korean officials said.
U.S. and South Korean deny a rift is developing between the two close allies over the nuclear dispute.
But in the past two days, both Roh and Kim have expressed concern that Washington might impose heavy economic pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions, and this could backfire and harden the North's stance.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker said, "I don't think anybody has suggested at this point imposing sanctions."
Anti-U.S. sentiment was evident on the streets of Seoul on New Year's Eve, when about 22,000 South Koreans gathered near the U.S. Embassy to protest the deaths of two teenage girls accidentally killed in June by a U.S. military vehicle.
Two U.S. soldiers whose vehicle killed the girls were cleared of negligent homicide charges in U.S. military courts last month.
Some protesters shouted for an end to the U.S. military presence in South Korea.
Tensions over North Korea's nuclear ambitions intensified Tuesday when Pyongyang expelled two U.N. inspectors monitoring its nuclear facilities and signaled it might pull out of the global nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
North Korea's ambassador to Moscow, Pak Ui Chun, told Russian news media Tuesday that his country intends to free itself from its last legal obligations under the international nuclear nonproliferation treaty, which seeks to confine nuclear weapons to the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China.
In recent weeks, North Korea removed monitoring seals and cameras from nuclear facilities at Yongbyon that were frozen under a 1994 deal with the United States. It says it is willing to resolve concerns over its nuclear program if the United States signs a nonaggression treaty, but Washington rules out any talks before the North changes course.
Happy New Year!
That's what they've been doing for the past 50-odd years isn't it, except without the "powerful" part? They're an economic basket case. All resources go the military while the people starve.
North Korea's best days, such as they were, are behind her. It's all downhill from here.
I say pull our guys out.
The N. Korean government is much more tricky to take out than that of Iraq, and we'll be in a better position to focus on it once we have secured Iraq. N. Korea's selected now to distract us from that.
I think Bush's public statements favoring a diplomatic solution are as sincere as his statements that Islam is a peaceful religion, and both are intended to divide his opposition. How can Bush be a war-mongering cowboy when he's promoting diplomacy in N. Korea?
What of course is more interesting to me than their tired rhetoric that now borders on humor, is what is going on underground and on the ground. Much more interesting.
Thanks for the post.
The loudmouths get all the attention. I for one think the spector of anti Americanism has now somewhat peaked. It was mostly a carnival atmosphere anyway, led by communist students and more than like agents of the North Korean state security apparatus that had infiltrated the south's educational and press system.
While neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your assertion, I am interested to know why you believe your point of view to be superior to others. Indeed, the exaggerated pride in your own opinion is eye-opening in the absence of explanation...
This academic exercise of 'economic embargo' that the Administration is thinking about is only doomed to failure, IMHO. It will be as porous as the slices of Swiss cheese I snacked on earlier today. But let's let them try it for awhile at least until we can judge the results and move on to the next options....
The only things that will work w/ North Korea and Gen. Kim Jong il probably are as follows:
--Assassination/Coup d'etat and regime change by purely internal elements but supported to external forces
--A stream of N. Korean refugees into China into UNHCR refugee camps causing internal collapse in Pyongyang
--A propaganda campaign of hijacked N. Korea TV/Radio frequencies and balloon drops with leaflets/food to reach the people directly
--And finally, a strategic strike on N. Korean nuke plants and missile production/launch facilities, with probably a larger invasion war.
Actually, the only people making statements about the ease of rebuilding Iraq are the anti-globalist naysayer fringe who repeat it in order to argue against it.
We may be tied down there for a generation, but it wont be a safe haven for our enemy. And the heart of our military will be free to engage in the next battle.
What facts do I have? Well...let's see. What are the perils to "securing" Iraq? First, Iraq is an artificial mess, created out of the remnants of the Ottomen Empire. The Iraq people are a multi-religious/ethnic stew who hate each other and have no common tradition.
Second, Iraq has *no* democratic tradition to build on. At least, the folks in Japan and Germany had relatively recent democratic memories. Third, Bush has promised not to "walk away" once Saddam is toppled....thus nation-building, courtesy of already overextended American troops and taxpayers, is almost inevitable.
Finally, the U.S. has a poor recent record in nation building and "securing" democracy e.g. the abject failures in Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo and Somalia. We have not even come close to finishing the job of "securing" Afghanistan, better described as Kabulistan. Outside of the capital the warlords (now busily restoring Sharia) continue to rule and guerrilla forces are launching new attacks against U.S. troops. Perhaps before we start having delusions of grandeur in Iraq, we should clean up the mess up in Afghanistan first!
Better yet, let's concentrate on something that is manageable: "securing" building up the defense of the U.S. rather than overextending ourselves in futile and expensive world policing.
Wow. Wake up. It's already here! ;-)
I agree with this 100%. IMHO this is what will be the ongoing problem.
Iraq has *no* democratic tradition to build on
IMHO this will have little to do with anything. Why would it?
Third, Bush has promised not to "walk away" once Saddam is toppled....thus nation-building, courtesy of already overextended American troops and taxpayers, is almost inevitable.
Where to start....why is "not walking away" nation building? You omitted that part.
Nevertheless, I agree that the infighting in Iraq will cause great grief- not nearly to the extent you predicted ("decades long quagmire" or something)- but far more than is being predicted by the admin.
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