North Korea

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North Korea is one of the six outposts of tyranny around the world identified by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January 2005, hinting "at the direction of future US foreign policy," according to the UK's BBC. [1]


Regime Change

On June 13, 2005, 37-year-old North Korean refugee Kang Chol-hwan, who has become in South Korea a "representative of the community of Dappokusha, or 'those who have fled the North', ... was invited to the White House because [President] Bush had just read his book, co-authored with Pierre Rigoulet, The Aquariums of Pyongyang - Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag (New York, Basic Books, 2001)." [2]

Following his meeting with the President, Kang expressed the view on Japanese television that priority in US policy on North Korea "should be given to human rights over nuclear matters since, he said, that was what the people of North Korea most cared about." [3]

Gavan McCormack wrote July 17, 2005, in Japan Focus that "Kang's call for a hardline approach to North Korea was featured in the Wall Street Journal and a major conference on the subject of North Korean human rights opened in Washington just one week before the scheduled re-convening of the Beijing conference, which start[ed] on July 26.

"It was in itself a trivial episode," McCormack said, "but it suggested that when the Beijing six-party talks on North Korea resume, any simple 'deal' to exchange North Korean nuclear weapons for guarantees of security and diplomatic and economic normalization will be difficult to negotiate." [4]

McCormack also commented that "The president's enthusiasm for Kang's message suggests he wants not merely to disarm North Korea, but to transform it by the introduction of democracy and human rights; in short his ultimate goal, as he put it in his state of the union address in February, is 'ending tyranny in our world'," ... which could be interpreted as regime change ahead for North Korea. [5]

Nuclear Weapons Program 2004

The January 2, 2004, edition of Australia's ABC News reports that, according to USA Today, "North Korea is reported to have authorised a US delegation, including a top nuclear scientist, to visit its Yongbyon nuclear complex next week. ... [The visit] has been approved by the Bush administration." This will be the "first foreign visit to North Korea's controversial nuclear facilities since United Nations inspectors were expelled" in 2002.

"North Korea is believed to be running a nuclear weapons program at Yongbyon. The United States is trying to persuade the North to give up its nuclear program in return for aid and better ties with the outside world. ... North Korea demands that the United States provide it with economic aid and security assurances in return for dismantling its nuclear weapons program. Washington wants Pyongyang to abandon its program first. ... The nuclear standoff flared in October 2002 when U.S. officials said Pyongyang admitted having a secret nuclear program in violation of a 1994 pact.

"North Korea has said it is willing to hold a second round of six-nation talks early this year on ending the crisis. The first round ended in August without agreement or a date for a new meeting. Russia, China, South Korea and Japan also are taking part. ... Also Friday, South Korea vowed to intensify diplomatic efforts to end the standoff." [6]

According to the Associated Press, "USA Today reported that Washington approved the trip and it was scheduled for Jan. 6-10. The newspaper said the U.S. delegation would include Sig Hecker, director [1985 to 1997] of the Los Alamos National Laboratory... which produced the first U.S. nuclear bomb [and will also include] a China expert from Stanford University, two Senate foreign policy aides who have previously visited Pyongyang and a former State Department official who has negotiated with North Korea."[7]

The January 4, 2004, edition of the New York Times reports, however, that "Bush administration officials said the delegation did not have any official government blessing and would not carry any message to North Korea" and had, in fact, "expressed concern that the trip might complicate the administration's own delicate diplomacy with North Korea."

The private "delegation of Americans going to North Korea, first reported in USA Today on Friday, will be led by John W. Lewis, a professor emeritus of international relations at Stanford University and a former director of the university's Center for International Security and Cooperation, a group that encourages dialogue on security matters.

"Accompanying Professor Lewis will be Dr. Sigfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos laboratory and an expert on nuclear weapons. Also traveling with the group will be Jack Pritchard, a former staff member of President Bush's National Security Council who has favored a more flexible approach to North Korea than the one adopted by the administration.

"The trip grew out of discussions Professor Lewis held over the last year in visits to North Korea. Members of the group are leaving as early as this weekend for Beijing and will travel from China to North Korea."

"Separately, two senior staff aides of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, both of whom have traveled to North Korea in the past, are to be there at the same time as the private group. Officials for the committee said the two aides might join the group led by Professor Lewis, but that their itinerary was also unclear.

"The two Senate committee staff members are Keith Luse, an aide to Senator Richard G. Lugar, chairman of the foreign relations panel, and Frank Jannuzi, an aide to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the committee's ranking Democrat. ... The committee officials said Mr. Luse and Mr. Jannuzi had planned their trip separately to study issues like food distribution and the political situation in North Korea."

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Background

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Reports

Articles & Commentary

2004

  • San-Hun Choe, "N. Korea to Let U.S. Experts See Nuke Site," Associated Press, January 2, 2004.
  • "If Anne Frank Only Knew ...," CBS News' 60 Minutes, February 26, 2004: "If you want to hear 'hate' coming out of the mouths of school kids, go to the schools of North Korea, as a Dutch television crew did, and you'll hear hate from that country's teenagers directed at the United States. ... Western television reporters rarely get into North Korea, but remarkably they let a Dutch television crew in to see how they're using Holland's most famous book, 'The Diary of Anne Frank.'"

2005

2006