December 23, 2003

Bush, Hu talk after Cheney scuttles plan for N Korea

Of course, peace was breaking out all over when the
Bush cabal seized power in 2000. (Yes, there was an
immenient threat from Al-Qaeda. That's why Sandy
Berger, the Clinton-Gore National Security Advisor
handed Condi Rice a comprehensive plan to crush
Al-Qaeda. She shelved it.)Calm ' Em Powell swore under
oath during his confirmation hearings that the work
Clinton-Gore had undertaken on the Korean penninsula
would be carried on...The _resident and the VICE
_resident had no intention of doing so...They changed
the tone and the conditions, and they rattled Kim's
cage and turned back the clock to justify "mission
defense" spending and add to the ambience of war that
their racket thrives on...

The Age: The re-emergence of the word "evil" and talk of defeat - recalling Mr Bush's January 2002 speech linking North Korea with Iraq and Iran in an "axis of evil" - is likely to make the North Koreans even more distrustful of promising anything ahead of hard guarantees from the US and its allies.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/21/1071941609653.html

Bush, Hu talk after Cheney scuttles plan for N Korea
By Hamish McDonald
China Correspondent
Beijing
December 22, 2003

US President George Bush talked with Chinese President
Hu Jintao by telephone at the weekend after
revelations that hardliners in Mr Bush's
Administration had derailed diplomatic preparations
for new talks with North Korea over its nuclear
weapons.

The chat came after US newspapers reported that US
Vice-President Dick Cheney, a neo-conservative
wielding unusual powers in foreign policy, opposed the
latest draft of a Chinese-initiated plan for North
Korea to freeze and dismantle its nuclear programs in
return for security guarantees and economic aid.

US State Department negotiators had submitted a
reworked version of the Chinese plan to a high-level
meeting in Washington on December 12, but Mr Cheney
had insisted that the document required North Korea to
agree to "irreversible" dismantling of its nuclear
weapons programs and international verification.

The Knight-Ridder newspaper chain said a senior
official had quoted Mr Cheney as telling the meeting:
"I have been charged by the President with making sure
that none of the tyrannies in the world are negotiated
with. We don't negotiate with evil; we defeat it."

The re-emergence of the word "evil" and talk of defeat
- recalling Mr Bush's January 2002 speech linking
North Korea with Iraq and Iran in an "axis of evil" -
is likely to make the North Koreans even more
distrustful of promising anything ahead of hard
guarantees from the US and its allies.

The situation contrasts with the months of secret
negotiations with Libya that resulted in last week's
announcement by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he
was ending all mass-destruction weapons programs, and
also with Mr Bush's firm rebuke of Taiwanese
Government plans to hold a referendum that China sees
as a step toindependence.

Mr Cheney's veto of the Chinese plan ended hopes of
bringing US and North Korean negotiators together
again in Beijing this month, along with teams from
China, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

Diplomatic momentum is unlikely to rebuild for several
weeks, unless Mr Bush's phone talk indicates the issue
has been taken over Mr Cheney's head. The Chinese
official newsagency Xinhua did not say who initiated
the call, but said North Korea had been discussed
along with Iraq, Taiwan and bilateral relations.

"The Chinese side will continue maintaining close
contact with the relevant parties to facilitate the
holding of the second Beijing six-party talks at an
early date and enable the talks to yield positive
results," it quoted Mr Hu as saying.

Even without the words that Mr Cheney insisted on, the
US stance was proving hard for the North Koreans to
swallow, insisting on the Pyongyang Government moving
to dismantle its nuclear weapons without the formal
security treaty it had demanded, and well before any
economic aid was discussed. After the draft was
rejected, China called on Washington to be more
"flexible" and "realistic".

On Saturday, Pyongyang's main official newspaper,
Rodong Sinmun, said North Korea would never give up
its "nuclear deterrent" unless its security was
guaranteed and aid recommenced. The paper said North
Korea would disarm only in return for a "simultaneous
package solution".

But the Bush Administration's attitude is deeply
coloured by the experience of a 1994 agreement that
was just such a package.

Meanwhile, the World Food Program said it would
probably have to cut off food aid to 3 million North
Koreans next month due to a lack of foreign donations.

Posted by richard at December 23, 2003 11:08 AM