North Korea is Playing the Game of Threats and Bribery - 19 October, 2002

A North Korean top official has recently announced that N.Korea was continuing its work on the nuclear weapon. This statement  was a very threatening one to make. However, the policy of threats was preceded with the policy of bribery.

It seems that Pyongyang has pushed the USA’s Iraqi issue into the background. The Washington Post, CNN, other leading American media are overfilled with indignation concerning the North Korean guile. Pyongyang has actually  acknowledged the fact that it had a secret A-bomb at its disposal. This acknowledgement was made in a very defiant form.

The story of the scandal tells a lot. An American senior official visited Pyongyang on October 3-5. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly’s visit to North Korea was the first of its kind  during George W.Bush’s  presidency.

The American press believed that James Kelly was not paid the worthy attention to: the Korean leader Kim Jong-il  did not welcome him. Korean media outlets reported that James Kelly was rather impudent in his behavior. It was written in Korean newspapers that Kelly's mission was basically about bringing charges, including  the ones pertaining to the production and sales of missiles and the development of the nuclear weapon.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of North Korea stated that the Bush’s administration adhered to the policy of hostility against  North Korea instead of the policy of a dialogue. It was added that the USA was trying to force North Korea on its keens.

After that there was a statement released from Kang Sok Ju, first Deputy Foreign Minister.  North Korea admitted the development  of both nuclear and even more threatening kinds of weapons.

The world is at a loss. No one can get to the point of that statement in light of Pyongyang’s fine recent gestures. North Korea agreed upon the mine clearing of the border between the two Koreas,  the countries also approved the cross-border railway project. Pyongyang sent its athletes to the Asian Games in Pusan, it had a meeting with the Japanese prime minister, delivered five Japanese citizens to Japan (they were kidnapped by North Korean  special services). At the end of the day Pyongyang declared to the whole world that it had a nuclear program.

American congressmen, diplomats, columnists compete in the display of their anger. They all try to guess, what is there behind that statement.  However, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi  might have unraveled it all now.  They believe that Pyongyang’s confession was its wish to start negotiations and solve the issue in a political way.

As a matter of fact, North Korea experimented with the development of a nuke  in the middle of the 1990s.  This was the first step of this country to get out of the tough international isolation. Then the country refused from nuclear tests and got the mitigation of the international blockade in return. It was promised to Pyongyang to assist in the solution of its energetic problems, but President Bush refused from that promise later.

It is not ruled out that the nuclear program acknowledgement was something like a deliberate “leakage of information.” Maybe, the N.Korean deputy foreign minister deliberately exaggerated  his words?

Pyongyang is probably playing the game of threats and bribery. It is a hard and risky game, but it might be the only way out to survive against the background of the current geopolitical situation. It seems that South Korea, Japan and China understand it.

Andrey Krushinsky

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka