KCNA: Japan Must Quit Six-Party Talks
Comparing Japan to a “mentally deranged fellow,” the Minju Josun, one of several official mouthpieces of the Korea Worker’s Party, called on Japan to “quit” the Six-Party Talks:
Japan had better quit the six-party talks of its own accord, admitting it lacks any political ability to handle such sensitive and crucial issue[sic] as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula (see: KCNA February 19, 2008).
The signed commentary accuses the Japanese of several transgressions including:
The participating countries, except Japan, took relevant actions to fulfil [sic] their commitments as required by the October 3 agreement. It was only Japan that has not taken any move.
These days Japan seems to work hard to torpedo the talks, talking about “triangular cooperative system for pressurizing [sic] north Korea.”
Clear is the aim sought by Japan in its moves to convert the multinational talks into a platform for confrontation… It is its ulterior motive to escalate its policy of pressure upon the DPRK under the pretext of the “abduction issue” and scuttle the above-said talks in case everything goes against its will. (see: KCNA February 19, 2008).
Japan said it wouldn’t contribute any energy aid until the abduction issue is resolved. As for the “triangular cooperative system for pressurizing north Korea,” I believe the KCNA is referring to a joint declaration by the US, South Korean, and Japanese militaries to use their militaries “when necessary, to handle non-security related incidents such as rescue missions.” JongAng Ilbo reports that other countries in the region will be allowed to participate in said mechanism, so as to allay concern:
Participation by Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang will also provide them a chance to clear up their suspicions about the new military cooperation in the region, the attendants agreed.
Of course, Pyongyang has every reason to be suspicious of non-security-related military actions. They themselves used the cover of “non-security-related” training exercises to mobilize their troops just prior to the Korean War.
Meanwhile, Christopher Hill made a surprise visit to the North Korean embassy in Beijing to meet with North Korean negotiator Kim Gye Gwan. According to reports, the pair discussed the North’s disclosure of its nuclear activities. Though Hill called the meeting a “a good substantial discussion,” no agreements resulted. Via the AP, Hill deploys a bit of circular reasoning:
“We had a discussion about what we think needs to be included in that. I think they understand our point of view, but we won’t have a complete and correct declaration until we have a complete and correct declaration…So I am not sure we yet have an understanding on that.”
So, the agreement is only complete until it’s complete, eh? Thanks for clearing that up for us. What Hill actually meant, according to AP, is the following:
Hill said a full declaration should include uranium enrichment and Pyongyang’s relations with Syria, to which it has been accused of providing nuclear assistance.
Update: Pyongyang denies allegations of a uranium enrichment program and it seems Hill is getting frustrated with the constant stonewalling. Said Hill:
“We have a situation where they have purchased some equipment and have been trying to show to us that this equipment is not being used for uranium enrichment…We cannot pretend that activities don’t exist when we know that the activities have existed. (Via Reuters)”
According to the Reuters article cited above, Hill continues to deny that the talks are at a standstill, but only at a “rough patch.” Kim Gye Gwan also denied that the talks were at a standstill, while maintaining that the North was committed to progress in the talks. I’m not sure how they’re defining “standstill,” but by all popular accounts, I’d say the current situation fits the definition quite well.
On the issue of nuclear proliferation, Hill said Kim denied these allegations as well:
“[Kim Gye Gwan] wanted to make very clear that they are not at present having any nuclear cooperation with any other country and they will not in the future have any nuclear cooperation with any other country. (Via Associated Press)”