Posted by: bklunk | March 25, 2007

A Bump in the Road?

As Ringo Starr said, “It Don’t Come Easy.”


As of last Thursday nuclear disarmament talks concerning North Korea came to a screeching halt. In 2005 the United States made moves against Banco Delta Asia, which the US claimed was laundering money for North Korea. Until recently North Korea’s holdings in foreign banks have been frozen. This week the United States attempted to deposit an amount of the holdings into the Bank of China. To this the Chinese governments responded very negatively and have so far stifled the transaction from occurring, after this China has also stopped the six way disarmament talks. Both the United States and other participating countries hope that this dispute can be settled quickly and hope that the talks will resume shortly.

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  1. Eric Jorgensen
    Blog Response #7

    This dispute — which is only one of many recent problems concerning these talks — will probably be resolved; my question is, should it be?

    Let me explain further. I have had just about enough of this North Korean regime and the paralyzing hold that it has on the great powers of the world. Kim Jong Il has starved, deprived, and terrorized his people for years. Yet, we keep dealing with him! Sure, a nuclear-armed North Korea is a rather frightening prospect, but does it really make good sense to reward Mr. Kim’s behavior with financial goodies? I think not.

    We have seen many examples in which states do not seem to be acting in their own best self-interest. Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait is an example of this. Mr. Kim’s attempts to produce nuclear weapons, however, are perfectly rational when one considers how the rest of the world has responded.

    The United States has long maintained trade sanctions against North Korea. In 1993, North Korea threatened to pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proflieration Treaty, probably to give the impression that it had begun a nuclear program. U.N. inspectors weren’t sure, since the North Koreans hadn’t allowed them proper access to certain facilities.

    The next year, frightened by the situation, the United States sought negotiations with Mr. Kim’s government and eventually signed the “Agreed Framework,” which exchanged aid — both financial and otherwise — for North Korea’s assurance that it would abandon its nuclear program. In my opinion, the die was cast at the point: it was made crystal clear to Kim Jong Il that his threats would be rewarded with the financial resources desperately needed by his depressed and isolated state.

    Today’s situation is little different. At the end of last year, North Korea announced that it had successfully tested a nuclear weapon. The United Nations Security Council passed sanctions in response, but neither China nor Russia would support the strict sanctions desired by the United States.

    And what has been the result? North Korea is being rewarded with diplomatic talks once again! It seems crazy to me that we are so willing to reward this kind of “rogue” behavior with financial resources. And, beyond the North Korean situation, our response sends a troubling message to other states around the world interested in nuclear weapons: if you threaten to use them, we will pat you on the head and give you a loan. It is poor policy, in my opinion.

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