South Korea: More NK Nuke Tests 'Certain'
As US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lands in Beijing to hold talks on North Korea, its nuclear program and enforcing the UN sanctions imposed on it, a top Chinese delegation is set for return from Pyongyang. China’s mission in Pyongyang was to convince the North Korean regime to stand down its nuclear threats and exhibitions, either by threatening their food and fuel supplies heading into another typically harsh North Korean winter or by enticing them back to the six-party talks or even bi-lateral talks directly with the United States.
While the success of China’s attempts remain unknown, South Korean Parliament intelligence committee member Chung Hyung-keun said that intelligence from multiple countries indicated that “it is certain the North will conduct three or four additional nuclear tests in the future.” He gave no timeframe.
In an interview with ABC News, a North Korean general said that war with the United States “will be inevitable” if the US does not tone down its threats against the communist regime. He said that President Bush expects North Korea to “kneel” and that the North Koreans will sooner go to war.
Quickly, White House spokesman Tony Snow said that this is not at all the case. Said Snow, “Let me make clear to the people of North Korea and the entire world — not only do we not want North Korea to kneel down, … what we are trying to do is offer them a better deal.”
But one thing the United States is certainly trying to do is get nations – including signatory nations – to actively enforce the UN Security Council resolutions imposed on the Kim Jong Il regime, with acute attention to the prevention of proliferation through authorized cargo inspections. The reluctance of Russia and China in particular have been troubling enough. But news out of Seoul is that South Korea will continue economic cooperation with the North Korean regime, including the continued joint construction of a tourist resort in the North.
This decision is indicative of the nature of the conflict: One that is clearly between North Korea and the United States, and not China, Russia or even their South Korean neighbors. There were talks earlier in the week to convince the South Koreans to enforce the counter-proliferation cargo inspections near its own shores.
Even as a United Nations report Thursday indicated a North Korean practice of rounding up the disabled and placing them in segregated camps far from Kim’s capital city, reluctance is abound regardless. North Korean defectors detailed how certain disabilities are kept together in common space, described in the report as ‘inhumane,’ and not allowed to have children.
America is finding it hard to enforce the agreed-to sanctions without the participation of North Korea’s closest geographic neighbors.