Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pacific Unrest

Citing U.S. belligerence and pressure, North Korea said Tuesday that a nuclear test was being planned though they fell short of saying when: "the field of scientific research of the DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed," the statement said and reported on The Foreign Ministry added, "The U.S. extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test ... as a corresponding measure for defense."

Japan on Wednesday pressed a divided U.N. Security Council to adopt a statement urging North Korea to cancel its planned test and return immediately to six-party talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear weapons program. This must be seen more expedient, since Tuesday was the first time North Korea has made an official announcement that it is going to conduct nuclear tests. Previously, it has said it had the right to conduct such tests.

Such a scenario would significantly set back diplomatic efforts with North Korea and have serious implications for regional security, according to a House Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday said North Korea's test firing of seven missiles, including a long-range ballistic missile in July, a nuclear test would bring Pyongyang's relations with its neighbors to a new low, the report found. Moreover, the tests might prompt not only Japan, but also Taiwan and possibly South Korea to begin their own nuclear weapons programs.

Six-party talks on the country's nuclear program have been stalled for months. In addition to the United States and North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea have been participating. "We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea," Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill told the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University Wednesday. "We are not going to accept it. "North Korea "can have a future, or it can have these weapons. It cannot have both," Hill said. The U.S. and its allies "are in a very tense time" in dealing with Pyongyang.

This is an issue that offers both political parties in the United States an opportunity to discuss an issue of national security directly to the public. This is a diplomatic opportunity for China to finally be seen by the United Nations and more importantly, the United States as a player for international peace, rather than antagonism. An arms race is not what the Asia Pacific rim wants at the moment and the absolute last thing the world needs as the NEEDS in Africa and the Middle East have shown.

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