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  Global Views
Dr. Park's Discourse with World
The End of North Korea's Nuclear Brinkmanship
Special Contribution
By Dr. Park Tae-Woo
The End of North Korea's Nuclear Brinkmanship

We enter 'the new year of cow' with new hope and also with many challenges such as financial burdens, the North Korean nuclear problem, and so on.

President Lee Myung-Bak's New Year message, given on January 2 2009, signaled his strong willingness to revive the stagnated economy and solve symptoms of the possible financial crisis utilizing all means at his disposal.

Korean people watched his new year's address on TV with new hope, focusing on what the president was suggesting in order to create better living conditions in Korea.

Amid new hopes and fears, one item in particular lingers on in our minds; that is, how will the new 6-party talk process to deal with North Korea's nuclear weapons deal develop?

As North Korea closed the official talks by refusing to accept the US's verification protocol with sampling in any suspicious nuclear facilities, South Korea's position on the 6-Party talks has become very vague and unpredictable.

What shall we do about this?

Looking at North Korea in a larger context, there seems to be no change in the inflexible substance of its regime. North Korea simply continues to repeat the same slogans and hard-line tactics against South Korea.

This implies that North Korea will never give up nuclear weapons or nuclear-related facilities, and is likely that it will stick to the maintenance of the orthodox divine parochial regime forever.

The more the military dictatorship prolongs there, the more pains of ordinary North Koreans would increase without the end.

In this sense, North Korea officially declared its official end of further negotiating, maybe temporarily, on the ways and methods, and conditions of completely, verifiably, and irreversibly eliminating its existent and already-made nuclear weapons and all the nuclear-relevant facilities and programmes.

I could dare say, in this context, it definitely is the end of North Korea's nuclear brinkmanship; no sensible experts will further expect North Korea's real intention to come to a dialogue table of 6-Party Talks or in any other forms with true heart of giving up nuclear weapons, in return for proper compensation from the Six-Party members like heavy crude oil or food.

North Korea will continue the tactics of negotiation and setback to earn enough time to officially prove it definitely is the nuclear states.

Amid this confusion, Bush administration even could not adjust China and Russia's stances on taking some sanctions to North Korea by stopping fuel supply and aids.

In sharp contrast to North Korea's attitudes against South Korea, North Korea walks on a very cautious flexible diplomatic line against the United States(US).

The Rodong Sinmun's editorial issued on the 1st Jan. 2009, squeezed South Korea by officially saying "North Korea will never endure any moves that is not in line with the June 15 and Oct. 4 joint declarations agreed by the two summits in the respective year of 2000 and 2007." while Pyongyang showed positive feeling toward the US, especially toward the incoming Obama administration.

This is probably because of the Obama's repeated remark during the Presidential campaign period, on the need to have a tough and direct dialogue with Pyongyang.

North Korea expects something from this new adminstration.

Absolutely this could be a North Korea's miscalculation.

Anyway, I hope North Korea would really gives up the nuclear brinkmanship by completely abandoning all the programmes and nuclear activities and any weapons of nuclear factors in proper exchange for economic aids and security guarantees.

Actually that could not come in such a easy way or in the forseeable future.

North Korea must not prolong the nuclear brinkmanship by completely closing the door toward the international society, and only remain strongly committed to a closed regime of nuclear state, thus, further starving its people in the future.

With regard to this issue, South Korea must also remain firm and patient through either ways of sticks and carrots until North Korea really changes in substance and reality, hopefully, into a normal, democratic state without nuclear weapons.

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Dr. Park Tae-Woo, visiting professor of National Chengchi University's Dept. of Diplomacy in the Republic of China, serves as special columnist for The Seoul Times. Dr. Park also serves as honorary consul of East Timor in South Korea, and secretary-general of Democratic Pacific Union Korea Chapter. His website can be reached at






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