Yevgeny Antonov / Russian Media Monitoring Agency. – 2004-09-18 10:58:28
North Korea ‘planning more blasts’
VEDOMOSTI (September 15, 2004) WPS Summary — There was a powerful explosion in North Korea last Thursday; many people saw its mushroom cloud. The North Korean administration and the US State Department say the blast was not linked with the nuclear program. But there are reports of strange activities near North Korean nuclear facilities.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev said after talks with his South Korean counterpart that “a scheduled round of international talks on the North Korean nuclear program will not be held in late September, due to a range of reasons.”
The dispute began in 1993. The Communist government of North Korea said it intended to test a nuclear bomb. Washington convinced Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear program. In exchange North Korea received economic aid and a promise to build two light-water reactors. The supply of humanitarian aid was stable but the KEDO international consortium failed to cope with its mission to build the reactors.
Bush Responsible for Korea Crisis
The North Korean crisis developed under the new US president. George W. Bush ranked North Korea among countries of the “axis of evil.” US Deputy Secretary of State James Kelly said in autumn 2002 that the Communist regime continued its nuclear program.
North Korea reproached the US for failure to implement previous agreements, and Washington suspended supplied of black oil to Pyongyang. The latter refused to let international observers inspect its nuclear centers and unilaterally invalidated the nonproliferation agreement.
Negotiations with North Korea reached a deadlock: the main requirements of Pyongyang is to make the US resume a dialogue and give security guarantees to North Korea. The US refuses to do this.
There was a powerful explosion in North Korea last Thursday; many people saw its mushroom cloud. The North Korean administration and representatives of the US State Department say the blast was not linked with the nuclear program.
Clinton Offered Aid; Bush Invites Confrontation
Meanwhile, the US special services report strange activities near North Korean nuclear facilities. US officials do not rule out that Pyongyang intends to test nuclear weapons before the presidential election in November, thus showing the failure of George W. Bush’s policy in Asia and increasing John Kerry’s election chances.
Ivan Safranchuk, director of the Russian office of the Center for Defense Information, said: “North Korea misses Clinton’s policy. I think that they hope that Kerry will continue Clinton’s line.” However, Safranchuk noted that this does not mean North Korea will detonate a nuclear bomb. He said: “North Korea is an advantageous situation: no one knows for sure if it has a nuclear bomb. Pyongyang behaves as if it has one, and everyone believes it. If North Korea tests nuclear weapons it would become a nuclear power, and it will be very difficult to exchange this status for economic aid.”
Experts agree that a nuclear test would damage Pyongyang’s reputation. Alexei Arbatov from the Carnegie Moscow Center said: “North Korea would be in international isolation.”
Meanwhile, Vladimir Orlov (PIR center of political surveys) said that the North Korean leadership may venture to test nuclear weapons regardless of such prospects. Orlov said: “It was a very difficult task for Pakistan to test nuclear weapons. But North Korea is used to a blockade.”
Arbatov said that if Pyongyang dares to test nuclear weapons this would have very serious consequences for the region. He noted: “Nuclear nonproliferation will be undermined. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would probably consider the prospect of building nuclear weapons.”
Russian Media Monitoring Agency. All Rights Reserved.
Translated by Alexander Dubovoi
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