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U.S. Gets Warning From North Korea
New York Times ^ | Wednesday, December 25, 2002 | By HOWARD W. FRENCH

Posted on 12/25/2002 8:19:45 AM PST by JohnHuang2

December 25, 2002

U.S. Gets Warning From North Korea

By HOWARD W. FRENCH

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 24 ? North Korea warned today of an "uncontrollable catastrophe" unless the United States agrees to a negotiated solution to a tense standoff over its nuclear energy and weapons programs.

The statement, made amid mounting tensions with the United States, came as a stiff pre-emptive rebuff to a conciliation-minded newly elected president in South Korea, and a warning to other countries that their efforts to mediate the crisis will be futile.

"There is no need for any third party to meddle in the nuclear issue on the peninsula," said North Korea's ruling-party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun. Referring to the North Korean government by its Korean initials, the paper said: "The issue should be settled between the DPRK and the U.S., the parties responsible for it. If the U.S. persistently tries to internationalize the pending issue between the DPRK and the U.S. in a bid to flee from its responsibility, it will push the situation to an uncontrollable catastrophe."

The North Korean defense minister, Kim Il Chol, went further, warning of "merciless punishment" to the United States if it pursued a confrontational approach to the emerging nuclear crisis.

"The U.S. hawks are arrogant enough to groundlessly claim that North Korea has pushed ahead with a `nuclear program,' bringing its hostile policy toward the DPRK to an extremely dangerous phase," the state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted Mr. Kim as saying.

Some analysts here saw the defense minister's statement as a defiant response to comments by his American counterpart, Donald H. Rumsfeld, who said on Monday that the United States had enough military power to prevail over North Korea even if such a conflict occurred during a war with Iraq.

The North's incendiary comments came as Pyongyang accelerated its takeover of nuclear fuel and reactors placed under international surveillance under a 1994 agreement with the United States. That pact, known as the Agreed Framework, was forged after a standoff remarkably similar to the current one.

Today, South Korean officials said North Korea had begun taking steps to reactivate a five-megawatt nuclear reactor that had been mothballed under the agreement. North Korea completed the removal of the last International Atomic Energy Agency seals and disabling surveillance cameras at a fuel fabrication plant in Yongbyon, South Korean officials said on Tuesday.

The facility is known technically as a "research reactor," but Western arms control experts say its true purpose is to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

"There are varying estimates on how long it would take them to reprocess the spent fuel, but they probably have plans to do it a lot faster than outsiders imagine ? and will do so if their equipment works," said an American official who has studied North Korea's nuclear programs for years.

"Here are a few of the ugly signposts we might whiz past: asking the inspectors to leave, starting up the reprocessing line, finalizing their withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty and declaring themselves a nuclear power with a `Korean bomb' intended to protect the whole of the Korean people by keeping the Americans from starting a war."

Reflecting the sharp increase in distrust between the United States and South Korea amid a series of major demonstrations against the presence of 37,000 American troops in the country, the official added, "This will cause some secret shivers of pride amongst some in the South."

Both South Korea's outgoing president, Kim Dae Jung, and the man who will succeed him in February, Roh Moo Hyun, spent most of the day struggling to contain the crisis, which threatens to nullify the engagement policies they embrace.

"South Korea, the United States, Japan, China, Russia and the European Union are all strongly calling on North Korea to abandon the nuclear program, but the North is not listening now," Mr. Kim said during a cabinet meeting.

Amid concerns over tensions between Washington and Seoul, Mr. Kim appeared to draw closer to the American position on the North, saying there could be no major cooperation between the two countries unless Pyongyang agreed to international controls on its weapons of mass destruction. "We can never join hands in the development of nuclear weapons, missiles and other weapons," Mr. Kim said.

The new president, Mr. Roh, meanwhile, spent much of the day meeting with ambassadors of countries that have been involved in the region's crisis. "The president-elect requested cooperation from those concerned countries to help resolve the North's nuclear issue peacefully," said Mr. Roh's spokesman, Lee Nak Hyun.

Mr. Roh also spoke by telephone to the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi. The two leaders "agreed to continue close cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea to bring about a peaceful solution to nuclear and other security issues regarding North Korea," a ministry statement said.

In Washington, the State Department said it was following developments closely. "Again, we urge North Korea not to restart any of its frozen nuclear facilities," said Tara Rigler, a department spokeswoman. Ms. Rigler said the State Department's stance was unchanged since Monday, when the department's spokesman, Philip Reeker, said that there could be no negotiations while North Korea is pursuing its nuclear program, and that the United States "will not give in to blackmail."

President Bush was said to be monitoring developments from the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., where he is spending the Christmas holiday with his family.

Ms. Rigler reiterated the administration's position that the spent fuel rods are "of particular concern because they could be processed to recover plutonium for nuclear weapons."

"They have no relevance for the generation of electricity," she said.

Recently, China, which has been North Korea's closest ally since the two countries fought the United States during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, also expressed concern over the reported pursuit of nuclear weapons. Today, Beijing urged Washington and Pyongyang to negotiate a solution of the crisis that would leave the Korean peninsula free from nuclear weapons.

"We hope relevant sides can proceed in the overall interest of safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and reach a resolution to the issue through dialogue," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Quote of the Day by demosthenes by Jonathon Spectre

1 posted on 12/25/2002 8:19:45 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
"Uncontrollable catastrophe" They must be speaking about themselves.
2 posted on 12/25/2002 8:34:54 AM PST by demlosers
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To: JohnHuang2
Krazy Kim needs to be brought to heel.

This means that a war plan needs to put together that allows for his capture alive...

Which allows for him to be tried, by us, for his crimes against the Korean people and hung at a gala event sometime when the weather's good.

3 posted on 12/25/2002 8:35:18 AM PST by DWSUWF
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To: JohnHuang2
Just how many of these "loose ends" Clinton left out there will Bush and the American people need to deal with?
4 posted on 12/25/2002 8:40:05 AM PST by JZoback
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To: JohnHuang2
"The North's incendiary comments came as Pyongyang accelerated its takeover of nuclear fuel and reactors placed under international surveillance under a 1994 agreement with the United States."

Where are all the pin-heads that chastised Bush for including NK in the "axis of evil?" Seems like they are awfully quiet right now.

I suppose they think we should elect another democRAT president who will now give them our plans for the more sophisticated nuclear bombs, since they already have our satellite codes for missile guidance courtesy of the 'toon. (/sarc.)

5 posted on 12/25/2002 8:47:56 AM PST by nightdriver
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To: JohnHuang2
This is an extremely dangerous situation, and there is no obvious solution. Unlike Iraq, which can launch a few relatively ineffective scuds at neighboring countries, and use WMD against invading troops, North Korea can quickly inflict unacceptable damage to South Korea.

North Korea now has at least two nukes, so a pre-emptive strike is very risky. An invasion would be extremely difficult.

If it were just a matter of learning to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea, that would be one thing. But these folks are certifiably nuts. Not only could they use these weapons in an unprovoked surprise attack, but they're crazy enough to sell them to other rogue states or even al-Qaida.

We don't have a lot of good or easy options.

6 posted on 12/25/2002 8:48:39 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: JohnHuang2
North Korea's brazen megalomania means that they refuse to dialogue with the inferior South, but instead want to compare themselves to the United States. The French do that too, but on a more feminine tone so far, by the way. That said, the personal consumption and final solution cleansing tones that are taken by NK are monstrous, to say the least. When life is in the way of NK dogs, life must fight back.
7 posted on 12/25/2002 8:50:35 AM PST by lavaroise
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To: Dog Gone
This is an extremely dangerous situation, and there is no obvious solution.

Mind you, the NK have their final solution. So, yes, there is a solution against such things.

8 posted on 12/25/2002 8:51:13 AM PST by lavaroise
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To: JohnHuang2
Schedule a 'missile test' from Vandenburg that uses a Minuteman III - like a test of NMD - but use a live nuclear warhead (or MIRVs) and take out the nuclear facilities in North Korea. No one - not even the ChiComs will shed too many tears.
9 posted on 12/25/2002 8:51:52 AM PST by 11B3
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To: JohnHuang2
I see. An "uncontrollable catastrophe," as opposed to a "controlable catastrophe?"
10 posted on 12/25/2002 8:57:40 AM PST by pabianice
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To: Dog Gone
You've summed the situation up exactly. I see the standoff, despite the bluster from NK, ultimately defused diplomatically -- on our terms. That's my hunch, FWIW.
11 posted on 12/25/2002 8:57:57 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
A diplomatic solution necessarily requires help from the Chinese. They can't be terribly thrilled about the developments in NK, and this is right in their back yard.

We haven't had the greatest relations with the Chinese, although they haven't given us half the crap on Iraq that the Russians or French have. We need to be burning up the phone lines to Beijing working to force a diplomatic solution in concert with them.

12 posted on 12/25/2002 9:22:53 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: JohnHuang2
Things are going to get real "interesting."

A guy I work with retired from the Army last June, from Camp Page. He has a theory that the unification of the peninsula could be brought about by a North Korean attack on Japan, which would be applauded and supported by the majority of people in the ROK. Hatred of the Japanese is the great unifying factor, and would make a US response against the North launched from US bases in the ROK impossible.

When I was in Korea back 20 years ago Korean antipathy for Japan was understood, but muted. Have Korean-Japanese relations deteriorated significantly in the last several years?

US Forces in Korea cannot function without Host Nation Support; I'd venture to say that most American installations have more Koreans on them than Americans. If the NKs lobbed a nuke at Tokyo and the ROKs thought that was just fine with them, 2ID could wake up one morning surrounded, disarmed and interned, and there wouldn't be a heck of a lot they could do about it. Same with the Air Bases. Kinda makes ya think about our whole West Pac/Far East strategy.

Read Proud Legions by John Antal for a damn good account of what land warfare in Korea could be like this go around. It ain't 1950 anymore. This book assumes the ROKs are on our side.

13 posted on 12/25/2002 9:23:10 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
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To: Dog Gone
Couldn't agree with you more, amigo.
14 posted on 12/25/2002 9:25:29 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: Dog Gone
Chinese, although they haven't given us half the crap on Iraq that the Russians or French have

I'm no expert on foreign affairs, but perhaps PRC's open embrace of resolution 1441 prompted Russia and France to get on board. Traditionally, PRC obstains from such votes, as they did in 1990.

15 posted on 12/25/2002 9:30:41 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: 11B3
Maybe we need to have another above ground nuclear test using one our biggest and most powerful bombs. Invite the press from all over the world and remind the world just what kind of "joke" nuclear weapons are. I think people have forgotten and they have forgotten what was US policy if it or its allies were ever attacked.
16 posted on 12/25/2002 9:44:30 AM PST by virgil
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To: JohnHuang2
The comments of North Korea amount to nothing more or less than "Give me your wallet or I'll shoot". That's all this is, a bunch of thugs who are demanding that the American taxpayer feed them, clothe them, and give them fuel or they are going to nuke the world.

They are playing with fire and don't even realize it.

17 posted on 12/25/2002 10:23:32 AM PST by McGavin999
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To: JohnHuang2
"The issue should be settled between the DPRK and the U.S., the parties responsible for it. If the U.S. persistently tries to internationalize the pending issue between the DPRK and the U.S. in a bid to flee from its responsibility, it will push the situation to an uncontrollable catastrophe."

Okay, so we CAN'T go into Iraq without UN approval, and we CAN'T seek UN approval to go into North Korea. Would these insipid dictators make up their minds already!

18 posted on 12/25/2002 10:32:08 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: McGavin999
I seem to recall we already bought this pony when Carter and then again when the Clintons were running things. Truth be told, the NK's are terrified of the US. They saw the tapes of our pin-point hits on Iraq ten years ago and can figure out our technology has improved since then. So...they've got two nuclear bombs ?
19 posted on 12/25/2002 10:37:42 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
So... they've got two nuclear bombs. Lets help them out and give them about six. that not even half of a sub load, tell Kim to bend over and kiss it good bye....
20 posted on 12/25/2002 10:51:15 AM PST by org.whodat
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To: JohnHuang2
We get signal.

Someone set us up the bomb.

21 posted on 12/25/2002 10:56:58 AM PST by boris
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To: McGavin999
Assassination of Kim Jong il through co-opting of remote family members who have been screwed over, or dispondent elements of the Korean People's Army, with Western covert support, may be the best first start as opposed to an all out assault at this time. Regime change through destablilization, a coup de etat with promises of Western aid to the ringleaders, or the establishment of UNHCR refugee camps along the Chinese border followed by a US propaganda leaflet and pirate broadcast campaign, all might work at this time. We would need some support for the plan from S. Korean and Japan. It might only be a start, but something clearly has to be done within the next 12 months IMHO.
22 posted on 12/25/2002 11:04:37 AM PST by AmericanInTokyo
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To: AmericanInTokyo
My version of the US response to NK....."Duck" then a brilliant flash of light and a perfectly shaped mushroom cloud directly over their nuke facility.
23 posted on 12/25/2002 11:18:51 AM PST by Dutch Boy
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To: JohnHuang2






24 posted on 12/25/2002 11:21:15 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: AmericanInTokyo
I think that's a well thought out and workable plan. The big problem is the recent anti-Americanism in both South Korea and somewhat less in Japan.
25 posted on 12/25/2002 11:23:52 AM PST by McGavin999
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To: JohnHuang2
It's definitely time to rethink the Korean policy. Sitting on the DMZ doesn't look so smart when the other side has a couple (and probably soon to be half dozen) nukes that can blow holes through the DMZ.

Fact is, if they nuked the DMZ and the capital of South Korea, what the heck would we do? Kinda hard to nuke back anything of value in North Korea. Plus their whole army would be in South Korea by the time we decided how to respond - so we wouldn't be able to nuke anything of military value in North Korea by then.

Maybe under the circumstance we should treat them like Pakistan. The South Koreans have kind of been jerks toward us recently anyway, so who the heck are we protecting? Maybe we should just move our current DMZ troops out of the Korean DMZ and park them on the Southern border of the US. That would stop our illegal immigration problem!

26 posted on 12/25/2002 12:55:46 PM PST by dark_lord
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To: Dog Gone
Agreed. Not only is the NK leadership loco but they will sell this technology to anyone with cash. It is an incredibly serious problem. NK would readily sell nuclear bombs and missiles to anyone with the ability to pay hard currency. Another gift from Clintonius Caligu Maximus.

Barring sudden sanity taking over the NK leadership and the fact that an embargo could not be leakproof. I am afraid military action is the only realistic option. Hopefully we can take out the nuke plants without NK trying to nuke Seoul or our 30K troops in the DMZ and SK.
27 posted on 12/25/2002 1:07:00 PM PST by Maynerd
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To: JohnHuang2
SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 24. North Korea warned today of an "uncontrollable catastrophe" unless the United States agrees to a negotiated solution to a tense standoff over its nuclear energy and weapons programs.

Two words...

"Neutron F***in' Bomb"! (nod to Dennis Leary).

No more pussy-footin with these cheap dictators! If it brings on calamity, then it does so.

These dictators have been building towards this day for FAR too long, and we have had too many Socialist/Liberals running the State Department and hand-wringing over "US Imperialism".

No longer. The Giant has been awakened, and heaven help the ones who awakened it, because WE won't!

Remember...

"The Avalanche has already started. It is too late for the PEBBLES to vote!"

28 posted on 12/25/2002 1:40:02 PM PST by Itzlzha
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To: Maynerd
Hopefully we can take out the nuke plants without NK trying to nuke Seoul or our 30K troops in the DMZ and SK.

I don't know if that is a good assumption or not. The whole South Korean situation really complicates matters for us. We really can't do anything militarily against NK without getting approval from South Korea. It is their country which is most vulnerable to NK retaliation, of course. And given their pacifist tendencies, it seems unlikely that they would approve of military action.

We could do it unilaterally, but do we really want to gamble the lives of all the citizens in Seoul? There is at least some possibility of destroying South Korea in an effort to protect it.

We might simply choose to do nothing. After all, NK is not an imminent threat to the US. Their missile program is advanced, but it's not ICBM quality, and we will have deployed missile defense before they deploy ICBMs.

But that leaves open the risks we've already discussed.

The only feasible military operation that would minimize risk to South Korea is an overwhelming surprise attack by us, probably using nuclear weapons to obliterate these weapon sites and nuclear facilities. We'd also have to decapitate NK leadership, essentially destroying the country in a few minutes.

We have the firepower to do it, but I don't know if we're prepared to accept the geopolitical consequences of that. I suspect we aren't.

29 posted on 12/25/2002 1:45:23 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
"We don't have a lot of good or easy options"

No, we don't. But we do know what these options are and we should do what is necessary to eliminate any future threats to us or our allies.
30 posted on 12/25/2002 2:17:17 PM PST by Constitutional Patriot
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
"When I was in Korea back 20 years ago Korean antipathy for Japan was understood, but muted. Have Korean-Japanese relations deteriorated significantly in the last several years? "

This isn't the case anymore. The Yen is pretty strong with the Won and most Korean cities cater more the the Japanese then any other people. They speak good Japanese and know the power of money. The younger generation doesn't have the distrust of the Japanese that the older generations do.

31 posted on 12/25/2002 4:32:41 PM PST by Crossbow Eel
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To: JohnHuang2
'Warning?' The Old Gray Whore strikes again. In my day we called that a threat.
32 posted on 12/25/2002 4:44:47 PM PST by Petronski
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To: JohnHuang2
Sorta like getting a warning from Paul Reubens.


33 posted on 12/25/2002 4:56:56 PM PST by Bars4Bill
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To: JohnHuang2

Who do these people think they are? Their little no-dong (aptly named) missles won't even reach the continental United States.

I say we take "merciless punishment" for $200

34 posted on 12/25/2002 5:12:28 PM PST by Jhoffa_
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To: Dog Gone

I would think all bet's are off when those putz's start threatening to "blow up the earth"

Sure, they can destroy their neighbors.. But someone needs to remind them that once they let this genie out of the bottle, and the damage is either imminent or already done, there's nothing that will save them. And I wonder what Pootie-poot's going to do about this? After all, they are in his backyard.

35 posted on 12/25/2002 5:18:18 PM PST by Jhoffa_
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To: JohnHuang2
The fact that the ChiComs seem to be in favor of nonproliferation bodes well for a peaceful settlement.

Without China's support, North Korea is basically isolated in the international community.
36 posted on 12/25/2002 6:00:30 PM PST by jobloss_recovery
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To: Dog Gone
"The only feasible military operation that would minimize risk to South Korea is an overwhelming surprise attack by us, probably using nuclear weapons to obliterate these weapon sites and nuclear facilities. We'd also have to decapitate NK leadership, essentially destroying the country in a few minutes. "

Given political realities in the US, as well as the real threat of tremendous US casualties within 24 hours of the start of any conflict, I would assume nothing will be done until NK is caught selling nuclear material/weapons. If they aren't, I assume there are works already in progress for destabilization ideas, but given the opponent in question, I doubt their efficacy. I would assume that NK gets some level of chinese material support, which might increase to offset the oil-blackmail discontinuance. This is a real pickle for the US. As you note, the potential geopolitical consequences of a first strike by the US are staggering in virtually all permutations.

I wonder what chicom perception is of the value of a minor ally causing the US so much inconvenience versus the possibility that the weapons of that same ally will be used to threaten them by a buyer one day? I assume they opt for the advantages of the former. I doubt NK pays attention to russia at all now, as they are likely receiving no support from them.
37 posted on 12/25/2002 6:54:57 PM PST by WoofDog123
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To: WoofDog123
I'm not familiar enough with the current status of Chinese/NK relations to offer an educated guess as to how much influence the Chinese have. I suspect it's less than we'd prefer right now, given a couple of realities.

The Chinese aren't communists anymore, despite the name of their "party." North Korea, though, remains more Stalinist than even Stalin was, so they're not seeing eye to eye on many matters. And, the leadership of NK is seriously wacko and unpredictable.

It might be the case that China can do precious little to defuse the situation even if they would be so inclined.

Nevertheless, it's important to stress to China that they need to step up here and take a role, and even some risk, in containing North Korea. So far, I haven't heard any Chinese comment on this matter at all.

38 posted on 12/25/2002 7:14:12 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: JZoback
Just how many of these "loose ends" Clinton left out there will Bush and the American people need to deal with?

Well since the miniaturization of Nuclear weapons was traded for campaign funds to China, suddenly Korea has gone ballistic. Funny that the Islamic trade partners of NKorea are also doing the same. I suspect that Clinton had made a legacy after all.

World War III and the incineration of a large percentage of the worlds population. Sometimes I wonder if Clintons real name adds up to 666.

39 posted on 12/25/2002 10:41:29 PM PST by American in Israel
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To: jobloss_recovery
The fact that the ChiComs seem to be in favor of nonproliferation bodes well for a peaceful settlement.

Of course they are for non-proliferation. It doubles the ammount of cash they can get under the table reselling the M86 warhead designs to every tinpot dictator in the world. N Korea is a sock puppet on Chinas hand and they have their middle finger raised to operate this dictators mouth. China is getting filthy rich selling nukes and their delivery systems using the N Koreans as their screen. The buyers are Lybia, Syria, Yemen and through them, to Sadam.

The forces of Sauruman are collecting...

40 posted on 12/25/2002 10:53:03 PM PST by American in Israel
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