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Posted by on May 25, 2009 in At TMV | 0 comments

The Little Brat On The World’s Block

Korea1.gif

In terms of world troublemakers, North Korea is the recalcitrant little kid on the block who tweaks his nose at the cops and gets away with it.

The tiny impoverished nation announced Monday it successfully conducted an underground nuclear test. South Korea said it also may have fired three ground to air missiles into the Sea of Japan.

A special meeting of the United Nations Security Council was called. Big frigging deal. UN sanctions have done nothing to thwart North Korea from its nuclear testing program.

A report in Monday’s New York Times offers a roundup of condemnation from world leaders:

President Obama said in a statement : “North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation. It will not find international acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.”

China’s Foreign Ministry said it was “resolutely opposed” to the test.

Russia said the test would “endanger security and stability in the region,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

Reports North Korea’s official news agency KCNA: “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way as requested by its scientists and technicians.” The test was safely conducted “on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control,” the agency said. “The results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology.”

It will take several weeks to determine the success and strength of the test, according to military and diplomatic analysts.

So, the hand wringing continues on what to do with the piss ant leaders who bully their neighbors and doom all but a few elite to abject poverty.

If its bargaining chips they’re after, there are two American journalists scheduled for trial June 4 charged with illegal entry and hostile acts. No offense, but those are small potatoes compared to a nation hellbent on bringing nuclear destruction in the Far East or selling their weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

Besides, with the help of China, the Bush administration in 2007 promised fuel to North Korea if they stopped their nuclear production. The communist government reneged and kicked out the verification inspectors.

The Obama administration last week dispatched Stephen W. Bosworth, the American special envoy on North Korea, to Asia with a fresh offer of dialogue. Hours before he arrived in Seoul, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced “There is nothing to be gained by sitting down together with a party that continues to view us with hostility.”

How long this waiting game lasts is undetermined. One suggestion is to wait until North Korea’s scotch-drinking, porn-watching chairman Kim Jong-il dies and hope for a more enlightened leadership.

U.S. neocons would love a pre-emptive strike to take out the nuclear plants but all that would do is grant North Korea the excuse to attack South Korea with 25,000 U.S. soldiers on the front line.

These little brats can be a thorn in the side of the Obama administration that could get bloody.

Cross posted on The Remmers Report

UPDATE: The North Korea bomb test is now a huge story throughout the world. Here’s a sampling of mainstream and new media coverage and commentary:

Mainstream Media:
–The Guardian (the graphic at the top of this post comes from its piece) has a MUST READ story headlined: “North Korea tests nuclear weapon ‘as powerful as Hiroshima bomb.” Here’s a small part of it:

The UN security council will hold an emergency meeting in New York later today to discuss its response to the latest escalation in the crisis. Obama and other leaders did not offer details on the council’s possible response.

China, North Korea’s key ally, said it was “resolutely opposed” to the test, urging its neighbour to avoid actions that would sharpen tensions and return to six-party arms-for-disarmament talks.

Japan, which considers itself high on the North’s potential hit list, said it would seek a new resolution condemning the test.

Russian defence experts estimated the explosion’s yield at between 10 and 20 kilotons, many times more than the 1 kiloton measured in its first nuclear test in 2006 and about as powerful as the bombs the US used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the second world war. One kiloton is equal to the force produced by 1,000 tonnes of TNT.

The force of the blast made the ground tremble in the Chinese border city of Yanji, 130 miles away.

Voice of America:

China said it opposes the North Korean nuclear test, but refrained from any harsh language in its statement issued late Monday. Meanwhile, the visiting head of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations committee said the North Korean nuclear test is a reckless act that further isolates the Asian nation.

The Chinese government issued a statement saying it resolutely opposes North Korea’s nuclear test. The statement voiced a “strong demand” that Pyongyang live up to its commitment to a non-nuclear Korean peninsula and refrain from taking any actions that could worsen the situation.

The Chinese statement also called for a “calm response” from all parties concerned and expressed hope the issue would be resolved through dialogue and consultation.

New York Times frames it this way:

When North Korea suddenly announced Monday that it had conducted a second nuclear test, the initial view across the region was that this was yet another defiant gambit by the North to extract more concessions from Washington.

That has been the oft-repeated pattern in the past, and is likely one motivation now as well, say North Korea watchers. But this time around, North Korea’s succession crisis is the primary driver, many experts believe, suggesting that the audience for the test is its own population as much as the United States.

Monday’s test culminates a shift toward a more assertive foreign policy by North Korea, which some analysts say seems to have begun not long after North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is believed to have suffered a stroke in August. Speculation about a successor has focused on his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, which would continue the family dynasty to the third generation — one unique among Communist nations.

Some experts say the test was a display of might aimed at showing solidarity with North Korea’s powerful military, whose support would be essential in securing Mr. Kim’s choice of successor. Others believe the intended audience was North Korea’s largely impoverished population, in hopes a display of technological prowess could serve as the elder Mr. Kim’s legacy in a regime that has failed to deliver even basic food and electricity.

Christian Science Monitor:

North Korea’s nuclear test Monday appears to have dashed hopes on both sides of the Pacific that Pyongyang was using its nuclear program as a bargaining chip with which to negotiate an end to its pariah status. Rather, diplomatic observers warn, North Korea’s second test hardens suspicions that it intends to join the nuclear club permanently.

The brazen challenge, just weeks after the United Nations condemned a missile test, also illustrates how little effect international efforts have had in thwarting North Korea’s intentions.

“It is looking more and more as if the nuclear program is something they intend to keep and they are not ready to bargain it away,” says Denny Roy, a North Korea expert at the East-West Institute in Hawaii.

“We used to believe that North Korea was simply playing the nuclear card,” adds Cai Jian, deputy head of the North Korea Research Institute at Shanghai’s Fudan University. “Now we think it is a strategic choice.”

–The LA Times’ megablogger Andrew Malcolm has the full text of Obama’s statement of concern HERE.
–Russia Today asks: Will North Korea’s neighbors now scramble to get bombs of their own?

The BBC:

So why has North Korea once again invited pariah status and carried out this nuclear test?

It had already announced that it was preparing for the test as a response to the international criticism of the rocket launch it carried out last month, although it gave little away about the exact timing.

It claimed that that rocket, fired from its east coast launch base, was designed to put a communications satellite into orbit, and appeared infuriated by suggestions that it was, in fact, a cover for a long-range missile test.

Condemnation by the UN Security Council, it said, was the final straw.

North Korea’s logic ran like this: If the world refused to play fair and recognise its rights, why should the North honour its obligations?

On 14 April, North Korea announced it was quitting the long-running nuclear negotiations, known as Six Party Talks, for good.

But there are many observers, conservatives in Seoul and Washington for example, who have long doubted whether North Korea every really intended to give up its nuclear weapons programme.

And, they have been suggesting, it has simply decided that, for now at least, it may have won all the concessions it can it terms of aid and trade.

Bloomberg:

The yen fell from near its highest level in more than two months against the dollar after North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in three years and launched three short-range missiles, threatening the region’s security.

AFP:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday condemned North Korea’s nuclear bomb test as “reckless and needlessly provocative,” saying also its weapons programs pose a “grave threat.”

“Canada condemns the North Korean regime’s reckless and needlessly provocative actions,” Harper said in a statement.

“North Korea’s aggressive weapons programs represent a grave threat to international security, and are specifically troubling for stability in Northeast Asia,” he said.

Steve Hynd:

This new test, which if successful* is a great contrast to the North Korean “damp squib” of 2006, will once again motivate hawks in the U.S. to call for bombings, or failing that more sanctions which those same hawks believe will be toothless anyway. Japanese hawks are already calling for preventative strikes in defiance of that country’s constitution and will no doubt use the event as more ammunition for their own push to have japan become an open nuclear power instead of a virtual one…something far scarier to the neighbours than a North Korean weapon, given Japan’s past history and current technological expertise.

But the North still doesn’t have a viable delivery method for a bomb which might weigh in excess of a ton and might not even work properly.

Don Surber has a post and mini-roundup that needs to be read in full. Here’s a small part of what he writes:

The same people who whine about visitors carrying concealed weapons at Yosemite seem to have no problem with a nutcase having a nuke.”>Poor, misunderstood Kim Jong-Il. The same people who whine about visitors carrying concealed weapons at Yosemite seem to have no problem with a nutcase having a nuke.

Daily Kos:

Perhaps it’s time to do an about face or use reversed psychology when it comes to North Korea’s Kim Jong Il.

For decades now the world has made threats and or sanctions on North Korea for their actions with respects to their nuclear capability.

Yesterday Kim Jong II once again defied the worlds demands by setting off an underground nuclear explosion.

Foreign Policy Passport:

If officials were caught off guard, it wasn’t because they weren’t expecting a nuclear test. News organizations had been reporting on preparations for a possible test for weeks, citing South Korean officials. Then, of course, there is the fact that North Korea had also been warning it would do exactly this since April.

North Korea may, however, have pulled off its test earlier than expected. Experts mistakenly thought it would take weeks to make all the necessary preparations, as was the case when North Korea conducted a less-successful test in 2006.

-Wizbang:

This latest test appears to demonstrate a dangerous escalation in North Korea’s nuclear weapons technology. North Korea’s first nuclear weapons test in October 2006 is generally considered to have been a “fizzle,” as it yielded less than 1 kiloton. North Korea is the world’s most isolated nation, and it goes without saying that with virtually no contact with the outside world, their engineers and physicists would have a difficult time with a complicated task like building a working nuclear weapon. Which makes me wonder … have the North Koreans secretly obtained help from another nuclear nation — perhaps Russia?

Political Byline on Obama’s response:

Yeah, that’ll show ‘em! Slap ‘em on the wrist another good time and make ‘em feel bad, that’ll really put them in their place. 🙄

Another day, another dumb liberal response to a serious problem.

Scared Monkeys:

So what can we expect from Obama? He claims the world must stand up to North Korea, yet maybe he would like to take the opportunity to discuss how the United States should eliminate its nuclear weapons stockpile.

Maybe Barack Obama would like to discuss ending the missile defense program as well? Is it safe to say that the “Kumbaya National Security Obama approach” may not be the change that is in the best interest of America?

Dave Schuler:

All of North Korea’s neighbors, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and China, have issued their own statements condemning North Korea’s actions. Japan’s Prime Minister has called for new measures against North Korea, presumably by toughening sanctions.

It’s possible to look at North Korea’s test as a positive thing. North Korea is believed to possess a limited amount of fissible material; the more they test, the less they have. However, the regime for preventing the country from obtaining additional material isn’t perfect and the technology itself is valuable. In that light the intimate connection between North Korea’s and Iran’s weapons development programs should give us pause.

China continues to be the dog in the manger for effective steps against North Korea. As long as China is willing to prop up the North Korean regime, the regime will continue and China is likely to continue as long as its leaders see support for the North Korean regime as in their interests. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if China punishes North Korea in some public albeit temporary way in the next few days.

Conservatives4Palin:

Notice that Alaska is right in range. Is it any wonder why the governor of Alaska is concerned about this? It sounds to me as if she’s more concerned about it than the President of the United States; but then, Washington, DC and Chicago don’t seem to be in range.

One Free Korea:

But of course, the North Koreans can’t fail to appreciate the important financial and diplomatic gains they wrested from the Bush Administration after their last nuclear test. The Obama Administration, having failed to react effectively to North Korea’s April missile test, had signaled a strategy of “malign neglect” in the absence of any idea how to deter and punish North Korea’s provocations…I warned whoever was reading this site that it wouldn’t work: North Korea has a talent for not being ignored. The administration is now obliged to the United Nations for more tough-looking sanctions that we already know China will undermine…

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