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“Urge and Focus”

Posted March. 10, 2005 22:39,   


“Hold the Six-Party Talks in March. Should North Korea fail to come to the table, the other five participants will issue a stern joint statement holding Pyongyang accountable for sidestepping negotiations.”

“A clear-cut public report outlining the status of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development should be published by the U.S. administration.”

Such were the words of counsel submitted to the George W. Bush administration by the Heritage Foundation, the flag-ship embodiment of America’s conservative right.

An internal memorandum addressed on Wednesday by the Heritage Foundation to the who’s who of Korea specialists in touch with the Bush White House produced the twin keynotes of “Urge and Focus.” The dossier draws attention for offering a précis of the situation following North Korea’s coming-out in February when its regime professed to possessing a nuclear arsenal and declared its intentions to bypass the Six-Party Talks altogether. That the paper was authored by the conservative think tank known for its leverage over Bush’s Korea watchers and Congressional heavyweights compounds its gravity. The report was compiled by Balbina Hwang, in charge of Korea affairs.

▽ Urge = The documents advise the U.S. to press South Korea, Japan, China and Russia to hold the Six-Party Talks in March. Should North Korea attempt to deflect the talks, the remaining five nations would issue a joint communiqué placing the buck squarely in Pyongyang’s court and prompting its government to draft the next phases of action.

The report did not equivocate on the “next phases of action.” The U.S. would take the first step by pressing North Korea’s lineup of Western diplomatic associates, namely Australia, Canada and the members of the European Union, to sign a joint resolution decrying the isolationist regime’s preoccupation with a nuclear program. If Pyongyang remains intransigent still, the countries should be pricked into severing their ties with the renegade state.

Concurrently, the Bush team should push for the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution buttressing America’s position.

▽ Focus = The report proposes to focus on extinguishing the confusion and suspicion encircling North Korea’s state of nuclear affairs. It adds that the governments of Korea, China and Russia do not see eye-to-eye with Washington on the status of Pyongyang’s enriched uranium program, preferring to hone in on the plutonium issue, thereby crystallizing the logic behind the publication of the white paper that clearly delineates the state of North Korea’s nuclear designs.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com