North Korea Won’t Trim Nuclear Program
BY JEYUP S. KWAAK
Wall Street Journal
July 22, 2015
SEOUL—North Korea has ruled out talks on denuclearizatioz quashing hopes that Iran’s landmark accord with the US and other world powers would inspire Pyongyang to follow suit.
North Korea called comparisons between itself and Iran “illogical” and said it wasn’t interested in freezing or dismantling its nuclear program unilaterally, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday. The country says it is developing nuclear weapons to fend off U.S. threats.
In May, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S., South Korea and other members of a forum that had previously tried to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize were coordinated in their attempts to engage the isolated country in preliminary talks. Other members of the group include China, Russia and Japan. But Pyongyang hasn’t responded to overtures made by the U.S. and South Korea in recent months, according to officials from the two countries.
The forum, known as the six-party talks, began in 2003 to negotiate for North Korea’s denuclearization in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees. Talks have been stalled since late 2008.
China estimates North Korea had an arsenal of 20 nuclear warheads at the end of last year and it could double the count by next year. That figure exceeds U.S. assessments. North Korea conducts regular tests of rockets, including ballistic missiles that are banned under United Nations sanctions. Pyongyang has carried out three nuclear-detonation tests, the most recent in early 2013.
North Korea and Iran have been allies since Iran became an Islamic republic following a 1979 revolution. Both countries have attracted international scrutiny and have faced economic sanctions over their nuclear programs.
Early last week, the U.S. and five other world powers (nevertheless) struck a deal with Iran to prevent it from producing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Thursday that Iran’s compliance, followed by the lifting of sanctions, “might give North Korea second thoughts.” But she cautioned against making direct comparisons.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul couldn’t immediately comment on the latest statement from North Korea.
(Is this not all pathetic? The Iranians, with Obama’s enablement and outrageous major assistance, has made a mockery of the US government, its vaunted power and its naive people.
Furthermore, to my mind, if the American public is stupid enough to elect Hillary Clinton just as we were stupid enough to elect Manchurian Candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, our own eventual demise is in the offing.) jsk
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