In the News – N.Korea’s Nuclear Obsession Is Self-Defeating

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In the News – N.Korea’s Nuclear Obsession Is Self-Defeating

North Korea revised its constitution to state that the accomplishments of former leader Kim Jong-il turned it into a “nuclear power and invincible military superpower.” There is no other country in the world that identifies itself as a nuclear-armed state in its constitution.

A closer look shows that the North Korean constitution is a joke. A country’s constitution sets out the rules for government and guarantees the basic rights of its people. But the North Korean constitution stipulates in its preface that it is a means of legitimizing the ideology of nation founder Kim Il-sung. It therefore represents neither the country nor its people but is merely a tool to support the power of its dictator. The revision merely changes some references to include his son Kim Jong-il.

It hails Kim Il-sung as the great state founder, progenitor of socialism in the country and eternal creator of the regime’s “juche” ideology of self-reliance. It now also exaggerates the accomplishments of Kim Jong-il.

Nothing will change simply because North Korea claims in its constitution to have nuclear weapons. The North has been making that claim since its first nuclear test in 2006. By doing this, it simply admits that it violated an inter-Korean agreement reached in 1990 to  denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, as well as the joint statement signed on Sept. 19, 2005 where it agreed to scrap its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has habitually scrapped any concession it made and raised new demands while pretending to seek progress in nuclear disarmament talks, sending the whole process back to square one. This has resulted in a complete loss of trust and in isolation from the international community. But Pyongyang is flaunting its nuclear program as it was some sort of major accomplishment when it is the overriding cause of all its problems. New leader Kim Jong-un may believe this is necessary to consolidate his grip on power, but the people of the North will soon find out how absurd that strategy is.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – U.S. House passes bill recommending tactical nukes in S. Korea

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In the News – U.S. House passes bill recommending tactical nukes in S. Korea

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Yonhap) — The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the 2013 national defense authorization bill that recommends the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

The non-binding amendment approved by the House reflects the Republican Party’s push to get the incumbent Obama administration to take a firmer stance against North Korea’s nuclear weapons threat.

The Republicans who control the House have also hinted that the redeployment of short-range, low yield nukes in South Korea and other parts of Northeast Asia could help nudge China into pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. Conservative lawmakers in Washington have been frustrated by China’s reluctance to push North Korea on the nuclear issue.

Despite the passage of the amendment, both the U.S. State and Defense departments said Washington is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The White House also said it could veto the bill, while Seoul officially said any deployment of nuclear weapons would run counter to the 1992 inter-Korean declaration on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s military added that such a move would work against ongoing efforts to get North Korea to give up its own nuclear weapons program.

Before the early 1990s, the U.S. stockpiled tactical nukes, such as the very short range Honest John surface-to-surface missile, nuclear artillery rounds, and bombs that could be dropped from attack aircraft, in the South to deter North Korean aggression.

The passage of the bill in the House follows the motion being approved by the House Armed Services Committee on May 9.

Congressional sources said another amendment that opposed recommending the redeployment of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula forwarded by a Democratic lawmaker was rejected.

Original article can be found here.

After Kim Jong-Il: America and the Two Koreas

Recently while listening to the National Public Radio (NPR) in the car I came across this program, made by “America Abroad,” about predictions on the future of North Korea and its relations with America. I found the nearly hour-long program at the “America Abroad” website and thought it would be helpful to show others this fairly comprehensive study of the past of Korean relations and to highlight its main points for those who don’t have a free hour to listen to the entire program. The program ended with a quote on the current state of relations; “The 65 million dollar question is… are we going to be ready if this succession doesn’t work.” This question colored the discussion on predictions for the future and unification through the hour. Continue reading

In the News – Seoul nuke summit expected to touch on N. Korea issue: Ban

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In the News – Seoul nuke summit expected to touch on N. Korea issue: Ban

NEW YORK, March 13 (Yonhap) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he expects global leaders will discuss the North Korean nuclear issue when they meet in Seoul later this month for a summit on nuclear safety and security.

South Korea is scheduled to host the second Nuclear Security Summit from March 26-27 in which the heads of state from more than 50 nations and leaders of international organizations including Ban will take part.

The biennial summit does not have the North’s nuclear problem as a formal agenda since it is not designed to deal with nonproliferation issue of a specific nation, Ban said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at his office in New York.

“I think discussions (on the matter) are possible on the sidelines such as through bilateral consultations, since leaders of the world’s major countries participate (in the summit),” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to Yonhap News Agency in an interview at his office on March 13. (Yonhap)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to Yonhap News Agency in an interview at his office on March 13. (Yonhap)

Ban, formerly a South Korean foreign minister, said participants will be able to express support for the six-way nuclear talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which will eventually contribute to global efforts to bolster nuclear security.

He was skeptical of the possibility that Pyongyang will join the Seoul session, citing the communist nation’s internal situation and its responses to the South’s invitation.

Ban said, meanwhile, the U.N. will put forward several action plans to beef up the multilateral nuclear security and safety.

He said toughening financial sanctions are necessary to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear terrorism.

Above all, Ban stressed, it is important to tackle the production and transfer of highly enriched uranium (HEU), plutonium and other fissile materials.

On South Korea, he said he was proud that his motherland will host the Nuclear Security Summit, the highest-level forum on international security, after the G-20 summit was held in Seoul.

“The summit this time is meaningful in that the stature of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been recognized not only in economy but also in the international security field,” Ban said. “I think South Korea’s national brand will be upgraded by one notch through the success of the summit this time.”

Original article can be found here