North Korea talks to Selig Harrison
The Financial Times reports that North Korea has told Selig Harrison — a North Korea expert who has acted as a conduit for North Korean diplomatic proposals in the past — that it has no plans to sell its nuclear material to Al Qaeda: North Korea, probably the world’s most secretive and isolated nation, has ...
The Financial Times reports that North Korea has told Selig Harrison -- a North Korea expert who has acted as a conduit for North Korean diplomatic proposals in the past -- that it has no plans to sell its nuclear material to Al Qaeda:
The Financial Times reports that North Korea has told Selig Harrison — a North Korea expert who has acted as a conduit for North Korean diplomatic proposals in the past — that it has no plans to sell its nuclear material to Al Qaeda:
North Korea, probably the world’s most secretive and isolated nation, has offered an olive branch to the US by promising never to sell nuclear materials to terrorists, calling for Washington’s friendship and saying it does not want to suffer the fate of Iraq. Senior members of the communist regime have spelt out proposals for solving the simmering crisis over their nuclear weapons programmes in an unusually frank series of interviews with Selig Harrison, the Washington-based Korean expert…. Kim Yong-nam, deputy to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, said in a two-hour interview: “We’re entitled to sell missiles to earn foreign exchange. “But in regard to nuclear material our policy past, present and future is that we would never allow such transfers to al-Qaeda or anyone else. Never.” Paik Nam-soon, foreign minister, denounced al-Qaeda and other terrorists and said George W. Bush, US president, was using the shock of the September 11 attacks to turn Americans against North Korea. But he said: ” The truth is that we want and need your friendship.” Mr Kim rejected the notion that North Korea would never give up nuclear weapons. He argued that Pyongyang – branded by Mr Bush as part of the “axis of evil” – was developing nuclear weapons purely to deter a US attack. “We don’t want to suffer the fate of Iraq,” he told Mr Harrison…. Mr Kim told Mr Harrison he thought Mr Bush was delaying resolution of the North Korean issue because of the war in Iraq and the US presidential election later this year. But he said: “Time is not on his side. We are going to use this time 100 per cent effectively to strengthen our nuclear deterrent both quantitatively and qualitatively. Why doesn’t he accept our proposal to dismantle our programme completely and verifiably through simultaneous steps by both sides?”
The problem with these kind of dimplomatic messages is that they merely confirm the predispositions of the different elements of the Bush administration. To
Powell the pragmatists, this is evidence that North Korea’s government is willing to strike a bargain in return for its continued existence. To Cheney the conservatives, North Korea’s prior duplicity means that the government cannot be trusted under any circumstances. Overtures like these are merely evidence that the regime is close to cracking. I’m betting that Bush will side with the conservatives on this one.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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