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President Bush Intends for North Korea not to Reject the Six-Way Talks under the Pretext of His Speech

President Bush Intends for North Korea not to Reject the Six-Way Talks under the Pretext of His Speech

Posted February. 03, 2005 23:01,   


U.S. President George W. Bush sent a message in his State of the Union address that for the time being, the North Korean nuclear issue would be discussed within the six-way talks framework.

The president said that he would convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambition. The word “convince” represents quite a departure from the U.S.’ strong words against North Korea in the past. He seemed to intend not to provide any pretense for North Korea to excuse itself from returning to the six-way talks.

The Bush administration has used provocative words, such as the axis of evil and the outlaw regime, against North Korea. It has regarded North Korea as a target that deserves a strong measure rather than as a negotiating partner. An interest of the U.S. Embassy in Korea, who listened to the address, responded that no provocative expressions came out than expected.

“We’re working closely with the governments in Asia,” the president said, which indicates that he would not pursue one-sided hard-line policies considering the policy directions of Korea and China.

In the address, President Bush suggested his plan that puts the Middle East first and North Korea later. As a result, North Korea earned time to make a strategic decision.

In his 424-line speech, only one line was allocated to North Korea.

On the other hand, he allowed most of his foreign policies to address Middle East issues such as the post-war Iraq, intolerance of Iran’s nuclear weapons, and peace settlement between Israel and Palestine.

Nevertheless, few experts believe that North Korea was given enough time. Chances are still high for the U.S. to put pressure on North Korea, claiming that universal values of freedom and human rights should be facilitated regardless of its nuclear development.

The president said that he would not impose the U.S. style of government while once again pledging to spread freedom around the globe, so the matter is likely to be revisited when the U.S. seeks to changes North Korea’s ways of action.

“We should support North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to become a leader like former President Park Jung-hee or Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping who put the first priority on economic growth,” some in the Korean government once pointed out.

North Korea did not response to the address. “North Korea does not have any reason to voice against the address that values the six-way talks, but it could not welcome it either,” said a diplomatic source in Washington.

Even when the six-way talks are resumed after twits and turns, North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear program, which is the only card in its hand for attracting international attention.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com