"Israel went nuclear under Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (in the 1950s) because of the Holocaust," said Avner Cohen, author of the seminal study "Israel and the Bomb". "But to prevent another Holocaust, Israel must be in a position to threaten a nuclear holocaust. There are many ironies here." From: Israelis Divided on Invoking Holocaust Against Iran, Reuters Oct 10, 06.

December 22, 2006

US Strategy Continued: North Korea Talks End in Impasse

The DPRK 4000 ton freighter Pong Su in better days. She was impounded under fraudulent charges by the Australian police on April 20, 2003 and used for target practice and sunk by the Australian Air Force on March 23, 2006.

n Thursday night, December 21st I submitted the following comment to the China People's Daily regarding the Fourth Round of the Beijing talks on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula:

The US' target in the 6P talks is China. Its goal is to push China into hostility to the DPRK and thus to facilitate China's entry in the US' hegemonial orbit. Until China's opportunistic pro-US faction prevails the talks must go on. This explains the sinking of the [DPRK's merchant vessel] Pong Su and pressuring Banco Delta Asia to halt its financial relationship with the DPRK.

The next day, the NY Times printed an Associated Press story, which is appended, that this round of the talks, just as the previous three, had failed. Given the accuracy of the prediction, it seems worthwhile to explain how I arrived at the theory underlying it. The following time line is relevant:

Royal Australian Air Force
The Australian Air Force uses the DPRK freighter Pong Su for target practice, March 23, 2006

The third round of the talks, held from September 16-19, 2005, was the most successful since it resulted in a set of principles agreed to by all parties. On September 15, the US Treasury Secretary announced he would seek severe banking restrictions against the DPRK. These restrictions were subsequently put in place and on March 23, 2006, the Royal Australian Air Force used the DPRK merchant vessel Pong Su they had seized on April 20, 2003 for target practice.

Now, it seems to me that no rational person, or government, seeking to reach an agreement with a negotiating partner would allow these hostile acts to take place. Conclusion: The US is not trying to reach an agreement with the DPRK on the nuclear issue.

If the US is not negotiating with the DPRK, then why engage in the talks?

Clues 2 and 3 represent China's vulnerability and Clue 1 shows that the US recognizes it as such. The Six Power Talks exacerbate the dispute between the dominant, opportunistic, faction and the minority anti-US hardliners in the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The objective of the US' China policy is to destroy the latter. The success of this policy would bring China into the US' hegemonial orbit in a position similar to that of the US' former enemy, Germany.

The prediction of this model is that the US will simultaneously continue to prolong the Six Power Talks in Beijing and further bait the trap until it achieves its objective or until it receives a decisive signal to the contrary from China. Evidence of the former would be a lockdown of China-Korea trade and, for example, cancellation of landing rights of DPRK aircraft in China. Evidence of the latter would be a joint declaration by China and the DPRK canceling the talks with responsibility being clearly attributed to US intransigence.

Both predictions were confirmed within the past ten days. Last week China crowed proudly about the record-breaking size and bureaucratic weight of a US Treasury delegation, headed by Secretary Paulsen, that was in Beijing for negotiations. This morning the Associated Press announced the failure of Round Four of the Beijing nuclear talks.


December 22, 2006

North Korea Talks End in Impasse

China Photos/Getty Images
North Korean negotiator Kim Kye-Gwan, center, arrives at a press conference at the Diaoyutai Hotel, after six-party talks ended in deadlock on today in Beijing, China


Filed at 9:40 a.m. ET

BEIJING (AP) -- The first talks on North Korea's nuclear program since the communist nation tested an atomic device ended Friday without an agreement on disarmament or a date for further negotiations.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy to the talks, said negotiations would resume in ''weeks, not months.''

During five days of meetings in Beijing, negotiators said Pyongyang refused to talk about its nuclear weapons program, and instead stuck to its demand that the U.S. remove financial restrictions it has imposed on the regime.

Hill said it appeared North Korea had not given its negotiators any authority to discuss anything but the financial issue.

''Clearly, negotiators ought to come armed with some instructions to negotiate,'' he said Friday evening.

Hill insisted the talks would not be left in limbo for another 13 months, and that Washington remained committed to resolving the issue in the six-nation format.

''We have to make progress -- we should have made that progress this week,'' he said.

North Korea's envoy said the communist nation would bolster its atomic arsenal in response to U.S. pressure.

''The U.S. is taking a tactic of both dialogue and pressure, and carrots and sticks,'' Kim Kye Gwan told reporters. ''We are responding with dialogue and a shield, and by a shield we are saying we will further improve our deterrent.''

After five days of negotiations, the delegates merely reaffirmed a September 2005 joint statement -- the only one ever reached at the talks -- in which the North pledged to disarm in exchange for security guarantees and aid, Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said.

The North had ended its 13-month boycott of the talks -- which include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea -- after the U.S. agreed to discuss its campaign to isolate the communist nation from the international financial system for alleged financial crimes, including counterfeiting and money laundering.

Separate talks this week on that issue in Beijing failed to bridge differences between the sides.

''We have requested the U.S. to release the sanctions first and then go into a discussion on substantive issues for the implementation'' of the September 2005 agreement, Kim said.

''How can (North Korea) go into such an important discussion on halting the nuclear facilities and also giving up the deterrent which is aimed at safeguarding our sovereignty under such pressure from the United States?'' Kim asked.

Even when it takes up the nuclear issue, Kim said the North would not yet talk about dismantling the bombs it has already made. But he promised the North would not launch a nuclear attack or sell its technology.

''Since we are already a proud nuclear state, we have already announced that we will not threaten other countries with nuclear (weapons) and fully live up to our responsibility of preventing proliferation,'' Kim said.

China's Wu said the six countries agreed to meet again ''at the earliest opportunity.''

''North Korea lost a very important opportunity,'' said Japanese envoy Kenichiro Sasae. ''We find the North Korean attitude extremely regrettable.''

Sasae said Pyongyang risked further isolation from the international community if it did not change its stance.


Associated Press reporters Audra Ang, Burt Herman and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.