Pretending that there is no problem doesn’t mean that there is actually no problem
So, George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union speech in Congress on Tuesday. This year his speech was waited impatiently for: people wanted to know what the president has to say about a war against Iraq. And when the speech was delivered, it turned out that nothing new was said. The Iraqi problem is already so trite that it is highly unlikely that America’s president may say anything new on the problem. The way how George W. Bush plans to settle another crisis, the crisis about North Korea, is more interesting in fact.
However, observers felt disappointment even in connection with this problem. The American president decided not to focus attention on relations with Pyongyang at all. The reason is quite understandable: North Korea is not Iraq, there is no oil in the country, why should the USA waste much effort and nerves on it? Let it threaten with its nuclear program, this is not the problem to concentrate much attention on right now.
In his speech, George W. Bush said that the USA together with Russia, Japan, China and South Korea were searching for peaceful settlement of the North Korean crisis. At the same time, the American president once again emphasized that America and the whole of the world wouldn’t fall under blackmail. In the words of George W. Bush, the North Korean regime will regain respect of the world and will guarantee revival of the North Korean people only when it gives up its nuclear ambitions. On the whole, George W. Bush repeated the same what American officials and diplomats have been talking about within several months already. Thus, a conclusion can be drawn: the USA is reluctant to demonstrate that it can settle the problem with Pyongyang diplomatically. By the way, Pyongyang still insists that talks are to be held directly with the USA. South Korea Presidential Special Envoy Lim Dong-won got back from Pyongyang today; he says that North Korean authorities asked him to appeal to the USA for initiation of direct negotiations with North Korea. But it was not Kim Jong-il who asked Lim Dong-won to deliver the appeal. The South Korean diplomat failed to meet with the North Korean president during his visit to Pyongyang as the latter was away, in some other part of the country.
It is highly likely that it is just a lame excuse. Probably, Kim Jong-il refused to meet with the special envoy for an obvious reason: he stressed once again that North Korea insists on direct negotiations with the USA that are to be held on the top level without any mediators. But it is so much incredible that George W. Bush will go to Pyongyang or Kim Jong-il will visit Washington for this purpose.
However that may be, it is unlikely that the North Korean crisis will be successfully settled in the nearest time. Strategists in Washington are preoccupied with quite different problems right now. As for Pyongyang, it has already made its manoeuvre and still hopes that it will return some interest. It seems to be a mutual nervous strain. There is no other way out but to wait whose nerves will be stronger.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: https://www.pravda.ru/world/35276-korkrisis/