Tuesday, October 10, 2006

North Korea Raises the Stakes

N. Korea Threatens to Fire Nuclear Missile if U.S. Won't Commit to Talks

Fox News: SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea stepped up its threats aimed at Washington, saying it could fire a nuclear-tipped missile unless the United States acts to resolve its standoff with Pyongyang, the Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday from Beijing.

Even if Pyongyang is confirmed to have nuclear weapons, experts say it's unlikely the North has a bomb design small and light enough to be mounted atop a missile. Their long-range missile capability also remains in question, after a test rocket in July apparently fizzled out shortly after takeoff.

"We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes," Yonhap quoted an unidentified North Korean official as saying. "That depends on how the U.S. will act."

Even if this is an empty threat, N. Korea has proven itself willing to continually raise the stakes with their nuclear threats. How far are they willing to go?

China caught in the middle

Unlike times in the past, China has come out in favor of UN actions against North Korea including economic sanctions. It has ruled out military action claiming it to be "unimaginable" but China was embarrassed when N. Korea went ahead and test fired a nuclear device despite China's strong objections.

BBC: A North Korean nuclear test has long been a nightmare scenario for China.

Beijing is one of the North's few remaining allies, and a major supplier of energy and financial aid to the secretive regime in Pyongyang.

China wants stability on the Korean peninsula; the last thing it wanted was an international crisis right on its doorstep.

It has condemned the claimed test on Monday, saying it resolutely opposes North Korea's actions, and that the test has damaged relations between the two countries.

That anger is also mixed with embarrassment, because Beijing repeatedly urged the
North Koreans to abandon their plans for a test.

The fact that the North went ahead regardless appears to be an indication that there are limits to the influence that China's leaders have in Pyongyang.

Balancing act

But the situation is more complex than that. China fears that if it uses what leverage it does have, by stopping aid to North Korea, the regime in Pyongyang might collapse.

That could send a flood of refugees over the border into China - something that Beijing wants to avoid at all costs.

Is Iran studying North Korea's nuclear moves?

North Korea may be going into uncharted waters but Iran is carefully watching events unfold as they prepares their own playbook.

For each of the besieged regimes, experts say, an underlying goal is to establish a level of international respect, especially in relations with Washington. To help achieve this, these experts say, the powers of Tehran are no doubt studying the more experienced Kim Jong Il for dos and don'ts, and vice versa.

"Not only do they watch each other, but they may indeed compare notes," says Jonathan Pollack, a North Korea expert at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Noting that North Korea has supplied Iran with missiles and other technology, he adds, "The North Koreans do have certain on again, off again relations with Iran, so they may do more than just study each other's experiences."

I wouldn't be surprised if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other hard-liners in the regime say, "Why do we back down at the last minute, when you look at the North Koreans and see that they make a threat and carry through - and on the whole that has not been a losing approach for them?"


At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I want to alert you to a ham handed attempt to blackmail me at Freedomnow's site. Apparently Gert thinks I can be blackmailed but he has picked the wrong person.

If you get a chance read the whole thread. It is obvious that this person is an antisemite.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

I imagine Iran is studying N. Korea's moves, and I also believe N. Korea will be very happy to sell it's technology to Iran.

"It's unlikely the North has a bomb design small and light enough to be muonted atop a missile." Excuse me, but "unlikely" somehow just isn't good enough for me!

At 9:01 AM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

American Crusader, thanks for dropping by. I just don't get North Korea spending billions on nukes when their people are starving to death. Life there seems the same as it was 50 yrs ago.

China is doing the right thing imho...inviting North Korean delegates to visit all the best that China has to offer its citizens, basically saying to N Korea "you too can have this"

China long ago abadoned any sort of pretence about being a marxist-leninist economy and capitalism is alive and well there.

The people in China, unlike their North Korean neighbours, are actually eating (well, doing much better than just having enough food to eat)

At 9:02 AM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

Good article:

"...I must wonder what those rail-thin young soldiers boarding the buses each day think, as they come face to face with hundreds of South Koreans, whose round smiling faces and vivid, fashionable clothing convey prosperity. Maybe they will start to ask themselves: Why is there only one fat man in this land, yet so many from the South?"

At 9:30 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

freecyprus said...
"Maybe they will start to ask themselves: Why is there only one fat man in this land, yet so many from the South?"

Kim keeps his people so separate from the outside world, I doubt many are even aware of the differences. He has filled their heads with so much anti-American propaganda, that they believe anything he says about us.

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How far are they willing to go?" You said, in reference to the North Koreans.

My question is, how far are WE willing to go, by allowing this to continue?

At 11:28 AM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Should we be supplyin our allies with nukes then?

At 1:44 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Steve...I'm not sure how far Bush is prepared to take this. I think that's why North Korea continues to push the envelope. They see indecisiveness as weakness.

Angel...if I were in Japan, I know I would want my government to have the same capabilities as our greatest enemies. I wouldn't want to depend on another country for our defense.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

The fact that North Korea is a Cause Celebre for the radical Left and Islamists is forgotten at times like this...

At 3:36 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

The average N. Korean is now shorter than 10 years ago due to malnutrition... And Kimmie is fat as a cow!

I hope that we stop this! Threatening S.Korea if we don't do what they want is hostage-taking, and it cannot be tolerated!

At 4:03 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

North Koreans are actually shorter because of malnutrition?
That's an amazing statistic.
Kim certainly hasn't missed many meals. I hear he loves Japanese prostitutes.
freedomnow...it is no coincidence that North Korea is friendly with countries such as Iran and Syria.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger David Schantz said...

North Korea would sell the technology to any government or organization that could come up with the money. And not one dime of that money would be used to help the people.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.


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