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View Diary: Nukes and Iran: Flashback to 11 Years Ago Has Lessons for Today (17 comments)

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  •  Portraying North Korea (0+ / 0-)

    I do agree largely with what you have to say about Iran, but I must say I disagree with some of your insights about North Korea.

    The bank in Macau you mention is not simply North Korean gov't accounts, but bank accounts used by North Korean trading companies that often acquire materiel for Pyongyang's weapons programs and sell North Korean weapons (e.g. missiles) overseas. This account is managed by one of North Korea's most active and largest trading companies which has an office in Macau. In addition, North Korea's counterfeit currency is laundered in the many casinos that crowd Macau, which has been going on for many years. This money is in turn placed into North Korea's Macau bank accounts or accounts in China.

    As for the North Korean government's far larger bank accounts that actually store cash earned through more legitimate means, they are mostly in mainland China. The US, I don't believe, has touched those. Those accounts are the so-called life-line of Pyongyang.

    Also, I highly doubt North Korea used the bank account in Macau to import food. If you want to pick on anyone for discouraging North Korean food imports, talk to the World Food Programme. As soon as they began their operations in North Korea, Pyongyang drastically reduced or stopped food imports, diverting cash for use elsewhere. WFP also can't verify to donor countries where majority of the food aid ends up, and former military officials who've defected say they've enjoyed food given by American and South Korean governments.

    Also, you say, "North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons in five seconds if it could receive economic and humanitarian aid and be able to save face at the same time."

    I would disagree with that. Common sense would undoubtedly say Pyongyang would do as you say, because the situation in North Korea is absolutely terrible economically and their "way of life" is pretty much turd-like. But, the intentions of North Korean nukes may not be ultimately related to economic improvement. In other words, North Korea may be milking nukes for concessions for now, but at the end of the day, their nukes may have a greater purpose, such as another layer of deterrence which is crucial for a government that can't trust its neighbors and vice versa. I'm not saying they're looking to attack anyone. They just don't have an easy life squeezed between China and Japan, both of whom are militarizing like no tomorrow.

    I will agree with you in the big picture that the Bush administration would be difficult to trust in the eyes of Pyongyang, and it is questionable whether Washington is negotiating in good faith. But, as much as I think the Bush administration has failed with regards to North Korea, I just can't imagine any administration anywhere in the world that could convince North Korea to change course. The North Korean determination for nukes began since the US bombed the hell out of North Korea during the Korean War. Reversing over 50 years of resolve is no easy task, and I don't think they will give up their nuclear pursuits as long as they can't trust not just the United States, but also China, Japan, and South Korea.

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