George W. Bush and White House foreign policy are following the overall strategy of establishing a “New World Order” in which U.S. imperialism will dominate the world through war and military control. The crisis in the Korean peninsula is part of this overall strategy.
During its early days, the administration stirred up the region by invading China’s airspace. And now, through a media assault, lies and military threats. it is trying to destabilize North Korea to such a point that it can be used as a platform to extend U.S. domination into the region, beginning with the dismantling of these two socialist states. Having suffered horrific economic damage during the past decade due to the destruction of the Soviet Union, natural disasters and imperialist sanctions, North Korea is viewed as a weak link among the countries struggling for national sovereignty. The present crisis has its roots in the overall policy of the U.S. toward North Korea and goes back many decades. The last crisis, which had the two countries at the brink of war, ended with the intervention of former president Jimmy Carter and the signing of the “Agreed Framework” (AF) in Geneva in October of 1994.
In the AF, North Korea agreed to stop its graphite-moderated reactors and permitted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the facilities. In return, the U.S. agreed to build a light water reactor (LWR) by the year 2003. An LWR can produce 2,000 megawatts of electricity, satisfying North Korean needs for electric power and, unlike a graphite-moderated reactor, which produces plutonium, an LWR cannot produce nuclear weapons material. The LWR was not a gift from the U.S.; it was to be financed by Japan and South Korea with stringent financing guidelines. The U.S. also agreed to deliver heavy crude oil until the completion of the project. Furthermore, the U.S. agreed not to threaten North Korea with nuclear weapons and to enter talks for normalization of relations. But, for a project that takes eight years, only the first layer of concrete has been poured. In effect, the U.S. intentionally has extended and expanded North Korea’s crisis for at least 16 years.
With Bush in office, administration officials stated they would never accept the AF and stopped all contacts. In his 2002 State of the Union address, Bush labeled North Korea, along with Iraq and Iran, as nations forming the “axis of evil.” Three months later, the Pentagon delivered its Nuclear Posture Review to Congress, naming North Korea as well as Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya as countries targeted by nuclear weapons.
Under pressure from the region, a year and half later Bush sent Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly to make contact with North Korea. In the meetings, Kelly arrogantly accused the North Koreans of building nuclear weapons and violating the “Agreed Framework.” He demanded that North Korea stop its nuclear weapons programs, saying until these demands were satisfied there would be no room for talks.
Addressing the nuclear concerns, North Koreans presented Kelly with three demands: 1) the U.S. recognizes the sovereignty of North Korea; 2) the U.S. does not impose economic sanctions; and 3) the U.S. does not attack North Korea.
First Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sokju reminded Kelly that North Korea was entitled to have nuclear weapons to ensure its security if the U.S. continued threatening it. In fact, Article X of the Non-Proliferation Treaty states that “each party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.”
In response, Kelly repeated his demands and continued his rude behavior. A few days later, the Bush administration filled the airwaves with the lie that the North Koreans admitted to having nuclear weapons. The facts are North Korea, as confirmed by the IAEA, had complied with the AF.
Last November, Kelly told China and South Korea the U.S. intended to exert maximum pressure on North Korea and it would not construct the LWR power plant. He pressed Japan and South Korea to completely abandon the project. While Kelly was in Asia, another U.S. representative, John Bolton, traveled to France, Britain and Russia trying to lay the groundwork for economic sanctions.
Having reached a dead-end, Bush started to push the crisis to a new climax by pressuring Japan and South Korea to stop the shipment of heavy oil. The three countries could not reach an agreement and postponed a decision until the meeting of the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO) scheduled for Nov. 14, 2002. But the night before, Bush ordered the shipments to be halted and in doing so forced the other two countries into submission and put the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings at risk of freezing and starvation.
North Korea asks for direct talks with the U.S., a peace treaty, and normalization of relations. But peace and friendship are not parts of Bush’s “New World Order” strategy.
Adel Rasheed is a peace activist andcan be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org