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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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