Pyongyang still remembers the offense caused by George Bush. North Korean mass media have been competing with each other for several weeks already in biting insults to the US president. It looks as though the Korean leadership is provoking Washington to make more harsh statements. The US administration is restraining itself so far.
The Democratic Korea newspaper has recently published a list of countries that are in the real axis of evil, as the North Korean authorities understand it. The USA is certainly on the list’s top. The reason is quite evident. Besides the USA, Israel and Japan are on the list as well. Israel appeared on the list because of the continued attacks against the Palestinians, “that prove its aggressor essence." Korea disliked Japan’s launching of a H2A missile last month, which, as Pyongyang thinks, may be used for military purposes. On the whole, Korea’s accusations resemble those of Washington, but other things are also stressed.
It is astonishing, but South Korea, US’s devoted ally in the Far East, is not on the list. South Korea is currently experiencing lots of problems because of the USA. First of all, there was the unfair refereeing at the Salt Lake Olympics and the restriction of steel imports from South Korea. For this very purpose, probably, Seoul was not mentioned as an enemy by Pyongyang. In addition, South Korea is almost the only country for North Korea to appeal to if starvation breaks out once again. At the same time, the USA is also ready to supply foodstuffs to Korea. Will the North Korean leadership accept it? When ideological opposition is meant, even a hungry population is of the slightest importance for the authorities.
In fact, George Bush has done much good for Kim Jong-il. Anger towards the USA is a nice opportunity to draw the people away from everyday domestic problems. One might as well build a monument to the US president in the center of Pyongyang, and an inscription “From the grateful leader of the Korean people” should to be on it as well. The Korean press is going to discuss the problem for a long period of time.
The mutual accusations may seriously damage the Seoul-Pyongyang dialogue. North Korea will hardly resume talks with its southern neighbor soon. Despite the problems and resentment, Seoul will remain the US’s safe partner, partially because of the US troops stationed in the peninsula’s south.
One more way for crisis to be overcome can be suggested.
Can't the USA withdraw from the South-North talks? This would make the talks more successful.
The idea seems to be impracticable, as the USA will hardly give up control over the process of its free will. What about the US’s national interests? If the USA really wants a peaceful settlement on the Korean Peninsula, it should let the Koreans hold talks independently. No partnership should to be imposed on them by the USA.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/06/37962.html