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Pyongyang’s Confession: A Chance or a Crisis?

South Korea believes that North Korea is willing to negotiate

The news that North Korea possesses its own nuclear weapons program (most likely, it already has a nuke or two) caused hysteria amid the American and European media. Foreign diplomats have launched a barrage of various ultimatums. Yet, South Korea was rather quiet about Pyongyang’s confession.

It stands to reason that American “hawks” in South Korea will attack South Korean leader Kim Dae-jung’s policy. However, the South Korean president preferred to interpret the confession of his northern neighbor as a token for negotiations.

South Korea's largest newspaper, the Korea Herald published an article yesterday highlighting the nuclear program scandal. In the article, the newspaper indirectly acknowledged the logic that North Korea is trying to create a weapon to cause considerable damage to a potential aggressor: “We understand the North might think a couple of atomic bombs would help guarantee the regime's security. However, a much better way is to come clean on weapons of mass destruction and show it is sincere in feeding its people and rebuilding its tattered economy through peaceful and democratic means. Washington could promise support in proportion to Pyongyang's progress on this issue. Seoul needs to play the role of a patient arbitrator, if not the overall coordinator. The inter-Korean cabinet-level talks in Pyongyang today will be a good starting point to turn the crisis into an opportunity.”

The same Korean newspaper gave a positive estimation of Washington’s promise not to strike North Korea and not to equate Pyongyang with Baghdad. Yet, the newspaper pointed out a significant difference in the approaches to this issue on the part of the Bush Administration and on the part of South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung.

Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld stand for a political solution of the North Korean nuclear problem. On the other hand, American senior officials believe that any negotiations must be preceded with the liquidation of these programs by Pyongyang.

The position of the South Korean government is as follows: South Korea intents to accept Pyongyang's token to start negotiations, which will eventually result in the elimination of its nuclear program. This unravels the difference between Washington’s obstinacy and Seoul’s flexibility. It also shows the calculation of Pyongyang’s politicians. They timed their confession to the moment when the U.S. was completely focused on preparation of its aggression against Iraq. It is inconvenient for America to launch another “anti-terrorist action” in another part of the world. The intention of the North Korean leadership under an extremely difficult geopolitical situation is as follows. North Korea stops its nuclear development in order to gain as many concessions as possible from South Korea, the U.S., and China. North Korea also hopes for a guarantee of its own security as well.

Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov