July 25, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has indicated its interest in holding direct talks with the United States, a news report said, after the two sides traded barbs over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programs at a security forum.
“We are not against a dialogue. We are not against any negotiation for the issues of common concern,” Japan’s Kyodo news agency quoted North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Sin Son Ho as saying Friday.
But the ambassador, speaking in New York, dismissed the possibility of a return to stalled nuclear negotiations involving the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia, saying “the six-party talks are gone forever.”
The U.S. has offered to hold talks with the North within the six-nation process if it returns to the negotiating table and takes irreversible steps for denuclearization.
Last weekend, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Kurt Campbell indicated that the chances for direct talks between North Korea and the U.S. were slim. “Our bilateral negotiations are between the U.S. and South Korea about our collective approach” to the North, Campbell told reporters in Seoul. …
North Korea quit the nuclear talks in April to protest a U.N. statement condemning a rocket launch. North Korea insisted it sent a satellite into orbit, while the U.S. and its allies said it was actually a long-range missile test.
The U.S. and North Korea engaged in a sharp war of words earlier this week over U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent comment likening the regime in Pyongyang to “small children” demanding attention.
At a regional security conference in Thailand, Clinton also said the North “has no friends left.”
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry described her Thursday as “a funny lady” who sometimes “looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”
Axis of insults (MSNBC, July 23, 2009) – Rachel Maddow reports on some stories that didn’t make the front page, including the war of words between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives of North Korea. (07:17)
By Glenn Kessler
July 24, 2009
PHUKET, Thailand — The war of words between North Korea and the United States escalated Thursday, with North Korea’s Foreign Ministry lashing out at Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in unusually personal terms for “vulgar remarks” that it said demonstrated “she is by no means intelligent.”
Clinton, who this week likened North Korea to an unruly child, has rallied international isolation of North Korea at a 27-member regional security forum here. She met with her Russian, Chinese, South Korean and Japanese counterparts — the other key partners in suspended six-nation disarmament talks on North Korea — and won strong statements of support from many delegations. …
“There is no place to go for North Korea,” Clinton told reporters after reading a nearly seven-minute statement outlining U.S. policy on North Korea. “They have no friends left.”
North Korean officials also are attending the conference hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on this resort island. In a comical scene, North Korean officials showed up at a news conference venue that had been set up for Clinton, who as usual was running late. Although the North Koreans had booked the space, they retreated to a nearby hallway to meet with reporters and denounce the United States.
“The six-party talks are over,” spokesman Ri Hung Sik said, because of the “deep-rooted anti-North Korean policy” of the United States. North Korea rarely holds media events, so the decision to speak to reporters was significant. [AP video: N. Korea says nuclear talks are 'over']
Clinton and other U.S. officials said the North Korean delegation made similar belligerent statements at the conference. “In their presentation today, they evinced no willingness to pursue the path of denuclearization, and that was troubling,” Clinton said.
The Foreign Ministry statement attacking Clinton also amply demonstrated the North Korean mood.
“We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said, according to North Korean media. “Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”
The fit of pique was apparently inspired by an interview Clinton gave ABC News while visiting New Delhi this week.
“What we’ve seen is this constant demand for attention,” Clinton said. “And maybe it’s the mother in me or the experience that I’ve had with small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention — don’t give it to them, they don’t deserve it, they are acting out.”
The Obama administration came into office with hopes that it could restart the talks that broke down in the final days of the Bush administration. President George W. Bush, who had originally taken a hard line, made substantial concessions to Pyongyang after it first tested a nuclear weapon in 2006. Last year, he removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, but the talks faltered nonetheless.
President Obama appointed a special envoy for negotiations with the hope of rebuilding the process. But after North Korea tested ballistic missiles and a nuclear weapon, the Obama team shifted course, viewing North Korea as a test case to demonstrate that substantial sanctions could be imposed on nuclear rogues while still holding out the promise of a better relationship. The administration even resurrected a demand for “irreversible” steps on denuclearization, language that had been banned by the State Department toward the end of Bush’s term. …
Michael J. Green, the former top Asia adviser to Bush, said Clinton’s statement was “a comprehensive and well-balanced statement of North Korea strategy,” noting that she also highlighted human rights abuses by North Korea and said she would name a special human rights envoy for North Korea. “The inclusion of human rights issues is important and striking, given some of the administration’s recent hesitation about raising these issues around the world,” he said. …
The Obama administration, however, insists it will not drop the sanctions, as Bush did, to win Pyongyang’s cooperation.
“We are open to talks with North Korea. But we are not interested in half-measures,” Clinton said. “We do not intend to reward the North just for returning to the table.”
Related report: Well, better barbs than bombs, eh
North Korea halts nuclear program (MSNBC “NewsNation,” March 1, 2012) – Skepticism surrounds North Korea’s agreement to halt uranium enrichment and long-range missile tests, in exchange for U.S. food aid. Author Gordon Chang discusses with Tamron Hall, noting the agreement was negotiated before the death of Kim Jong-il. (03:03)
The Associated Press and Reuters via MSNBC.com
February 29, 2012
WASHINGTON — North Korea agreed on Wednesday to stop nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches and to allow nuclear inspectors to visit its Yongbyon nuclear complex to verify the moratorium has been enforced.
The announcement, made simultaneously by the U.S. State Department and North Korea’s official news agency, paves the way for the possible resumption of six-party disarmament negotiations with Pyongyang and follows talks between U.S. and North Korean diplomats in Beijing last week.
It also marks a significant policy shift by North Korea’s reclusive leadership following the death in December of veteran leader Kim Jong-il. [Note: The agreement, in fact, was negotiated before the death of Kim Jong-il.]
Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate hearing that North Korea’s suspension of nuclear activities a “modest first step” but also “a reminder that the world is transforming around us.” …
The surprise announcement was a step forward for Washington’s campaign to rein in renegade nuclear programs around the world and comes as the Obama administration steps up pressure on Iran over its atomic ambitions, which western governments fear are aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
Since 2006 North Korea has tested missiles, staged two nuclear tests and unveiled a uranium enrichment program that could give it a second route to manufacture nuclear weapons, in addition to its existing plutonium-based program. At low levels, uranium can be used in power reactors, but at higher levels it can be used in nuclear bombs.
Political Psychological Profile of Kim Jong-Il
Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D.
A remote psychological assessment of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was conducted. … In summary, Kim Jong-Il may be characterized as fraudulent, self-indulgent, and conflict averse – preferring guile, craft, and cunning rather than force or confrontation in extracting or extorting from others what he considers his due; he is not a “malignant narcissist.”
The major political implications of the study are the following: First, although North Korea’s military capability undeniably poses a legitimate threat to regional stability, any claim by Kim Jong-Il with regard to his military capabilities are not to be taken at face value, but should be called into question and verified; second, Kim is relatively conflict averse and unlikely to employ military force without provocation; and third, Kim is relatively open to influence by carefully crafted diplomatic and economic means subjectively perceived as bolstering his self-serving ambitions.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — July 26, 2008
One year ago today, on the 12th day of my 2008 campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I traveled to Minneapolis to tape an interview with Ken Avidor for The UpTake, focusing on my background, my reasons for running, and my core issues of national security, law enforcement/public safety, and border security/illegal migration.
In discussing national security, I remarked on lost opportunities after 9/11, specifically the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq, which turned a country that had been militarily contained and led by a dictator hostile to Iran and to Islamic fundamentalism — both Shi’ite extremism and al-Qaida’s brand of radical Islam — into a foreign policy nightmare that has consumed our domestic political agenda and squandered our finite resources for more than five years.
I added, on my campaign blog, that whatever happens in Iraq, the incoming administration in Washington would face a situation in Iraq more fraught with danger in 2009 than did the Bush administration when it took office in January 2001.
I lamented that for the foreseeable future the American people would see hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars pumped into the rebuilding and restabilization of Iraq.
I also noted that al-Qaida — which had no significant presence in Iraq prior to the March 2003 U.S. invasion — would continue to pose a threat in post-Saddam Iraq, though not as lethal as it was before the “Sunni Awakening,” the 2007 troop buildup, and the successful counterinsurgency strategy instituted by Gen. David Petraeus.
Finally, I expressed concern that the anti-American Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would bide his time until the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, with the intent of turning Iraq into a Shi’ite fundamentalist theocracy along Iranian lines after the U.S. leaves Iraq.
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