Go to contents

What’s After the Tough Talk?

Posted May. 02, 2005 23:48,   


There are many who are worried about the White House’s “Kim Jong Il Bashing” over the past few days.

On a CNN and NBC TV show on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said that North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il is “not a very constructive leader and we do not trust him to keep his promises.”

He also said, “Kim Jong Il is not a good leader for the North Koreans and a threat to world peace,” and “a cruel person.”

President George W Bush, during a White House press conference on April 28, called Kim Jong Il a “tyrant” and a “dangerous person,” and showed a blatant dislike for him.

On hearing President George Bush’s remark, a North Korean spokesman from the country’s Foreign Office responded on April 30, calling President Bush “morally immature” and “a hooligan.”

The LA Times reported that “these harsh words may have much more serious implications at such sensitive times,” and that “North Korea has closed the door to solving this problem diplomatically with Washington.”

Washington’s stance has clearly changed from a month ago, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Korea, China and Japan on her Asia tour. Rice called North Korea a “sovereign nation” during the trip. Though the comment was not a direct one regarding Kim Jong Il, it was taken as a sign that the White House would wait patiently for North Korea to return to the six-party talks.

However, Washington’s attitude seems to have changed just after a month. Some think the United States has already given up on the six-party talks and has moved on to the next step.

One Washington source said that “it does not seem like the United States is acting with a specific goal and plan. However, it would be very bad for the current situation to continue until June.”

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com