The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

A se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told re­porters this week that North Korea’s lat­est over­ture on re­sum­ing nu­clear talks is be­ing viewed cau­tiously by White House na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cials. The main worry is that the North Kore­ans will en­gage in nu­clear talks solely as a means of re­duc­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “max­i­mum pres­sure” cam­paign against Py­ongyang.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush made con­ces­sions in a bid to coax the North Kore­ans into de­nu­cle­ariz­ing, in­clud­ing lift­ing some sanc­tions and re­mov­ing North Korea from the list of state spon­sors of ter­ror­ism.

The North Kore­ans pock­eted the con­ces­sions and even­tu­ally walked away from the talks — all the while build­ing up its nu­clear war­heads and mis­siles.

“The pres­i­dent’s pol­icy, all along, since the ear­li­est days of this ad­min­is­tra­tion, has been one of pur­su­ing max­i­mum pres­sure against North Korea in or­der to change their cal­cu­lus and help them un­der­stand that de­nu­cle­ariza­tion is the only path to a bet­ter out­come for North Korea,” the of­fi­cial said, adding that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­ways kept the door open for talks.

In the past, North Korea has at­tached “non­starter con­di­tions” for talks, such as liq­ui­dat­ing the U.S. al­liance with South Korea and re­mov­ing troops from the penin­sula.

“What we are look­ing for is con­crete steps to­ward de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, not a re­hash­ing of old po­si­tions that did not lead to that out­come,” the of­fi­cial said.

On North Korea’s of­fer to halt mis­sile tests in ex­change for new talks, the of­fi­cial sug­gested that would not be enough.

“Even if North Korea were to re­frain from test-launch­ing mis­siles, they still have an enor­mous in­dus­try that is pro­ceed­ing apace with build­ing, to bor­row the words of their leader, mass-pro­duc­ing nu­clear war­heads and mis­siles,” the of­fi­cial said.

“That could con­tinue in the ab­sence of them not do­ing test launches,” the of­fi­cial added.

If North Korea wants to hold nu­clear talks to buy time for fur­ther weapons de­vel­op­ment, then “the talks are not go­ing to get far,” the of­fi­cial said.

“We’ve seen that movie be­fore, we’ve seen it sev­eral times, and we’re not about to make the lat­est se­quel in a movie with a very bad end­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.