Talks in Korea: Nuclear Queston Remains

It is unbelievable, but it’s true: the communiquй on the 8th talks held between South Korea and North Korea mentions the A-bomb just in passing.

Much is currently being said about Pyongyang’s “scandalous confession” regarding its nuclear programs; the world’s politicians and mass media are pondering over the questions of how many A-bombs North Korea has and where it got them from. However, high ranking officials from both countries held four-day negotiations in Pyongyang’s hotel Koryo, where they talked only about mutual aid in the reconstruction of highways and railways connecting the two countries; about prospective passenger and freight transportation; about the construction of an industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong; and about fishery and navigation and contacts between separated Korean families. There is only one paragraph in the communiquй that mentions the subject causing “universal ado.” It is said that both parties that concluded the document will take joint efforts to guarantee peace and security to the Korean peninsula in the spirit of the Joint Declaration concluded by both leaders in 2000; they will actively cooperate in the solutions to different problems (including the nuclear one) by establishing a constructive dialogue.

The world’s politicians and the press suggested several conjectures, and the truth can be seen among them as well. It is even reported that Pyongyang holds a couple of A-bombs (it is said that the bombs are made either on the basis of plutonium, or enriched uranium). There are even rumors that North Korea received the technology, including the gas whizzer, from Pakistan at the end of the 1990s in exchange for its missile technologies. Some say that Pyongyang obtained the technologies from China or Russia. It is quite natural that Islamabad, Beijing, and Moscow deny this information.

However, it is more important to find out not how the missile technologies arrived to North Korea, but why the information about North Korea having these technologies had been published at all. PRAVDA.Ru already suggested that the North Korean leadership has probably decided that it might give up the missile technologies, which North Korea already admitted, in exchange for important concessions made by South Korea and the USA, including security guarantees to the country.

Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rica have once again demonstrated their inclination to put the cart in front of the horse: they declared their support to a political settlement of the problem, but added that before any talks in the sphere, Pyongyang should give up its nuclear program (which means that they want North Korea to disarm first, and only then will it be ready for negotiations). In this connection, the decision made by South Korea President Kim Dae Jung to send representatives to Pyongyang (the decision was made in accordance with a previously achieved agreement) was a rather brave act and a kind of a protest against the US diplomacy. As is seen from the negotiations’ results mentioned in the communiquй, his decision proved correct and effective. The parties confirmed their adherence to cooperation and said they are ready to create conditions for cardinal solutions.

It is quite natural that the final communiquй on the talks contains no promises made by Pyongyang concerning its nuclear missile disarmament, as the problem cannot be solved on the ministerial level. Pyongyang needs guarantees by the USA, not South Korean ministers. And if the USA is ready to settle the problem by political means, it is to be some official of a higher rank than US Secretary of State James Kelly (who visited Pyongyang at beginning of October) who is to participate in the problem’s settlement; this is to be an official with whom North Korean leader Kim Jong-il can meet.

Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing China

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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