Friday, October 20, 2006

Fool me once...

Oct 20, 6:20 AM (ET)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il expressed regret about his country's nuclear test to a Chinese delegation and said Pyongyang would return to international nuclear talks if Washington backs off a campaign to financially isolate the country, a South Korean newspaper reported Friday.

"If the U.S. makes a concession to some degree, we will also make a concession to some degree, whether it be bilateral talks or six-party talks," Kim was quoted as telling a Chinese envoy, the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo reported, citing a diplomatic source in China.

Kim told the Chinese delegation that "he is sorry about the nuclear test," the newspaper reported.

The delegation led by State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met Kim on Thursday and returned to Beijing later that day - ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's arrival in the Chinese capital Friday. China is viewed as a key nation in efforts to persuade the North to disarm, as it is the isolated communist nation's main trading partner.

(This is how it's going to play out: If you think the Yanks and the Japanese are dismayed at the thought of the North Koreans having the bomb, imagine how China, with a land border with NK, and Beijing a short SCUD ride away, feels? At best, the Chinese are going to drag Kim to the bargaining table, and the little nutbar is going to cut a deal that he sticks to. At second-best, the Chinese will backa coup. At worst -- but certainly not a poor bet -- the Chinese will go in, the way they did -- or tried to -- in Vietnam in 1979.
End result: no nuclear-armed North Korea. China finally emerges as unchallenged power broker in the region, with a fistfull of markers to call with the U.S. and the undying gratitude of everyone in Long Dong range.


Anonymous said...

Doubtless, China is even more worried about the prospect of a nuclear North Korea than the U.S. is. The prospect, however, brings to mind an old Far Side cartoon: Larsen's typically geeky couple - she, with horn-rimmed glasses and a beehive; he with a bulging belly and monkish fringe of hair - are sitting in the living room looking out the window. In the distance is a mushroom cloud rising over the neighbourhood. Says the wife: "Oh, great, now the Hendersons have the bomb!"

Ottawa Watch said...

Things will happen fast, before North Korea has something that you and I would know of as a "bomb". They blew up something, but it might have been a an atomic "pile", something with enough uranium to make a critical mass and an explosion, but not something that you could put into a rocket and fire at people. China and the U.S. will stop a real bomb, something capable from actually being shot at people. The Tapo Dong missile can hit the west coast of North America, but a gun-type U22 gun-type bomb -- the simplest type -- weighs about 2.5 tonnes. The Taepo Dong and its variants can carry about 1.3 tonnes, at most. The Taepo Dong has, so far, tested poorly. It is so wildly inaccurate that it wouldn't have the ability to hit anything, even a target as big as a major city. The Iranians and Koreans are working to make it better.