The IAEA inspectors expelled from the country
To all appearances, within several next days North Korea will finally force Iraq out of the reports of the world news agencies. Pyongyang is ready to keep on playing with fire. Washington, London, Moscow, Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing had hardly realized that North Korea started loading the reactors of a nuclear power station in Yonben, than North Korea began expelling inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A question arises quite naturally: what is to come next?
It seems that Kim Jong-il is somewhat jealous of Saddam Hussein’s universal “popularity.” At least, within the past two months Pyongyang did everything possible to draw attention of the world. At first, North Korea admitted that it worked on nuclear weapons development. Then it started launching reactors at a nuclear power station. And now, North Korea expels IAEA inspectors.
No matter what the result of the action will be, North Korea achieved its main objective: the country has once again reminded of itself. Former British Foreign Minister and Minister of Defense Malcolm Rifkind said that North Korea’s actions are even more dangerous than Hussein’s regime. One of Britain’s experts, John Large says that North Korea may have an atomic bomb within the nearest month. So, now it is clear from where the threat to the world originates.
Why does Kim Jong-il ask for trouble? Just some time ago nobody could expect that the events would develop like this: reforms were started in North Korea; US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly visited the country at beginning of October. It began right after his visit.
Obviously, North Korea failed to get some concessions from the USA during the negotiations with James Kelly. It’s clear that Kim Jong-il wanted the USA to appropriate economic aid to the country and relax the sanctions. But the moment proved to be inappropriate for the bargaining, as currently Washington speaks one language only, the language of force. Probably, Pyongyang understood it and decided to act in accordance with quite different rules. As long as the problem wasn’t settled peacefully, Kim Jong-il decided to resort to blackmailing. It is not clear what results it may bring, if any results will be achieved at all. It is highly likely that North Korea will achieve its goal: Washington is hardly ready to wage a large-scale confrontation with Pyongyang at the time when the problem with Saddam Hussein is not settled yet. To wage two wars simultaneously is too much even for the USA. What is more, North Korea is actually too close to creation of weapons of mass destruction, at least it has all necessary components for it. The amount of these components is not as large as Kim Jong-il is trying to demonstrate, but still. If a war conflict starts in the region, it may bring really catastrophic consequences.
The North Korean puzzle has become a real trial not only for the USA, but for Russia, China, Japan and South Korea. By the way, Moscow strongly recommended North Korea to continue the cooperation with IAEA inspectors. For the time being, Pyongyang is deaf to these appeals. Let’s wait and see how long it may last.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/15/42/4997_bomba.html