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U.S. Plans Next Move Against N. Korea

Posted September. 13, 2006 03:01,   


The whole world is wondering how the U.S. will deal with the North Korean missile issue now that it has given up on its efforts to persuade North Korea to return to the six-party talks.

Because the U.S. has practically lost hopes of a diplomatic solution, it may experience some tension with the Korean government, which favors diplomatic measures over sanctions on North Korea.

U.S. Will Pressure the North-

Many experts say that the U.S. is planning multi-party talks at the United Nation General Assembly – after holding a meeting of foreign ministers from 10 countries in July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – to isolate North Korea. They say that the U.S. is trying to involve the majority of the U.N. to put more pressure on the North.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, the top U.S. negotiator for the six-party talks, stressed that all countries of the U.N. must carry out the U.N. Security Council’s resolution on sanctions against North Korea and that the U.S. will see to it that they do.

Japan feels the same way as the U.S. China has not revealed its position on holding multi-party talks, but the Korean government is judging that China will accede if the U.S. insists on it.

The Korean government came to that judgment because it sees no other option for China with the six-party talks stalling. The Korean government has its suspicions about the benefits of multi-party talks, but cannot oppose it for the same reasons as China’s.

With no country able to step up in opposition, it is highly likely that multi-party talks will be held during the U.N. General Assembly in late September or early October.

The U.S., however, will not want to depend on the multi-party talks to solve the North Korean nuclear weapons issue. Unlike the six-party talks, it is hard to hold multi-party talks on a regular basis, given the uncertainty of the participating countries and the timing.

A Korean government official forecasted, “The U.S. thinks that it did whatever was possible diplomatically. Instead of trying to solve the North Korean nuclear weapons problem, it will pressure the North so the situation does not get any worse.”

Summit Meeting to Alleviate Tensions?-

It has been reported that Hill emphasized the necessity of harsh sanctions against the North while meeting with Korean Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok and Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on September 11.

The Korean officials tried to convey that diplomatic measures would be more effective than sanctions to stave off any retaliatory measures like nuclear weapons testing. It has been said that Hill did not agree. A government official said, “There were unbridgeable differences between the two sides.” Such differences may linger on till the summit meeting between the two countries on September 14.

Many are curious about why U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the U.S. official in charge of financial sanctions against the North, such as freezing the North’s assets at Banco Delta Asia (BDA), requested an interview with President Roh Moo-hyun. Secretary Paulson may broach the counterfeit money issue along with possible sanctions against the North.

Another Korean government official said, however, “They may go over the counterfeit money issue during the discussion, but the focus will primarily be on the international financial environment and the opening of the Korean financial market.”

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