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Who is Going to Blink First?

George Bush provoked North Korea into this current crisis with his
infamous "axis of evil," speech and the situation continues to
deteriorate. The American Presence (37,000 American troops) in South Korea
is also both a threat to North Korea and a threat to challengers of
capitalism and U.S. hegemony in South Korea.

"The substantial U.S. military presence in South Korea is not only a
dagger aimed at the North Korean and Chinese deformed workers states but
an assertion of American interests in the region against potential rivals
in Asia, chiefly Japan. It also serves as a warning to South Korea's
combative union movement, threatening to drown in blood any challenge to
the capitalist order. From its suppression of the "autumn harvest" rising
in 1946 to orchestrating the bloody Kwangju massacre of 1980, in which
some 2,000 people were killed to put down an insurrectionary revolt, the
U.S. military has been a key force for counterrevolutionary repression on
the peninsula." [Reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 795, 17 January 2003
- "U.S. Imperialism Hands Off North Korea!"]

"During the Cold War, the U.S. as well as Japan aided in the rapid
economic growth of South Korea as an anti-Communist bulwark against North
Korea, China and the Soviet Union. With the counterrevolutionary
destruction of the Soviet Union in 1991-92, the interests of the U.S. in
the peninsula have shifted. Counterrevolution in North Korea remains one
of its goals, but a stronger South Korean bourgeoisie is not. When South
Korea's rulers pleaded for assistance from Washington and Tokyo during the
1997 Asian financial crisis, they had the door slammed in their faces.
Indeed, the door to the imperialists elite club was slammed shut by the
1890s and not since reopened." [WV]

"North Korea has the fifth-largest standing army in the world with 1.1
million men in arms...It has over 700 ballistic missiles that target
everything in South Korea and parts of Japan." [Chung Min Lee, professor
at Yonsei University in Seoul]

According to Professor Lee, at least, North Korea has missiles that can
reach the mainland of the United states and has a stockpile of chemical
and biological weapons. And according to others, including Yosef Bodanasky
North Korea has passed significant ballistic missile technology to Iran,
Pakistan, and Syria including the sale of missiles.

(Yosef Bodansky is director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism
and Unconventioal Warfare. and director of research at the International
Strategic Studies Association. Bodansky is a former senior consultant for
the U.S. Departments of Defense and State and a senior editor for the
Defense and Foreign Affairs group of publications. Bodansky is the author
of about 8 books on and writes about North Korea connections to Iran and
Syria in "The High Cost of Peace" which was published in 2002)

And if the United States threatens North Korea with an invasion, it must
be understood that collateral damage in this situation would include not
just civilians in North Korea, but also everyon in South Korea and the
37,000 American troops stationed there.

There is also a strong feeling in South Korea favoring the reunification
of both Koreas.

Obviously Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld doesn't like the communist
regime in North Korea anymore than he liked the Saddam Hussein regime in
Iraq - in spite of those embarrassing moments when he visited Baghdad the
first time and shook the dictator's hand and went on to offer him all
kinds of military assistance and it might also be an embarrassment for him
that he sat on the board of a company that won a $200 million contract
for key components for North Korea's reactors.

   The company is Zurich-based engineering giant ABB, which signed the
   contract in early 2000, well before Rumsfeld gave up his board seat
   and joined the Bush administration. Rumsfeld, the only American
   director on the ABB board from 1990 to early 2001, has never
   acknowledged that he knew the company was competing for the nuclear
   contract. Nor could FORTUNE find any public reference to what he
   thought about the project. In response to questions about his role in
   the reactor deal, the Defense Secretary's spokeswoman Victoria Clarke
   told Newsweek in February that "there was no vote on this" and that
   her boss "does not recall it being brought before the board at any
   time."[Richard Behar and Research Associate Brenda Cherry, Fortune
   Magazine - "Rummy's North Korea Connection: What did Donald Rumsfeld
   know about ABB's deal to build nuclear reactors there? And why won't he
   talk about it?" - 05-12-2003]

   "Rumsfeld declined requests by FORTUNE to elaborate on his role. But
   ABB spokesman Bjorn Edlund has told FORTUNE that "board members were
   informed about this project." And other ABB officials say there is no
   way such a large and high-stakes project, involving complex questions
   of liability, would not have come to the attention of the board. " A
   written summary would probably have gone to the board before the deal
   was signed," says Robert Newman, a former president of ABB's U.S.
   nuclear division who spearheaded the project. "I'm sure they were
   aware."" [Behar]

  "... ABB tried to keep its involvement hush-hush. In a 1995 letter
   from ABB to the Department of Energy obtained by FORTUNE, the firm
   requested authorization to release technology to the North Koreans,
   then asked that the seemingly innocuous one-page letter be withheld
   from public disclosure. "Everything was held close to the vest for
   some reason," says Ronald Kurtz, ABB's U.S. spokesman. "It wasn't as
   public as contracts of this magnitude typically are."" [Behar]

And where was Donald Rumsfeld when ABB received its invitation to bid on
the reactors? According to Behar's research and report:

   "That year he chaired a blue-ribbon panel
   commissioned by Congress to examine classified data on ballistic
   missile threats. The commission concluded that North Korea could
   strike the U.S. within five years. (Weeks after the report was
   released, it fired a three- stage rocket over Japan.) The Rumsfeld
   Commission also concluded that North Korea was maintaining a nuclear
   weapons program--a subtle swipe at the reactor deal, which was
   supposed to prevent such a program. Rumsfeld's resume in the report
   did not mention that he was an ABB director." [Behar]

But most surprising of all these revelations is the fact that it is still
an ongoing project. Even while North Korea is being threatened by George
Bush and work on the reactors continues and the money keeps flowing which
afterall is the bottom line, isn't it?

   "The Bush administration still hasn't abandoned the project.
   Representative Edward Markey and other Congressmen have been sending
   letters to Bush and Rumsfeld, asking them to pull the plug on the
   reactors, which Markey calls "nuclear bomb factories." Nevertheless, a
   concrete-pouring ceremony was held last August, and Westinghouse
   sponsored a training course for the North Koreans that concluded in
   October--shortly before Pyongyang confessed to having a secret uranium
   program, kicked inspectors out, and said it would start making
   plutonium. The Bush administration has suspended further transfers of
   nuclear technology, but in January it authorized $3.5 million to keep
   the project going." [Behar]

Today Rumsfeld doesn't like the North Koreans very much and he is talking
regime change in North Korea according to the report from Richard Behar.

After George Bush's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, North Korea
believes it may be next especially in light of the fact that George Bush
refuses to enter into an agreement to allay those concerns.  Considering
this level of tension Pyongyang must conclude that possessing nuclear
weapons is more of an asset than a liability.

   "North Korea has a nuclear capability. It's quite obvious. North Korea
   may have minimum 100 nuclear warheads, maximum 300. They all lock onto
   American cities.." (Dr. Kim Myong Chol, a Japanese-born Korean who said
   he sas delivering a message on behalf of the North Korean government
   - AAP General News - 5/04/2003 (Australia)]

He said Korea has not breached the agreement made with president Clinton
in 1994, that the weapons were all produced before the agreement was
signed and he stated that: "If the US attacks North Korea, North Korea
will definitely use those nuclear weapons against the US mainland."
He also said an economic embargo against North Korea may provoke the use
of those nuclear weapons against the United States.

   "North Korea will use those nuclear weapons against the US mainland if
   America imposes additional economic sanctions on North Korea.." [Dr.
   Kim Myong Chol]

   "Dr. Kim states that the nukes were built in the 1980's before North
   Korea signed the Agreed Framework in 1994. It is likely that the US
   CIA knew about North Korea's nuclear capability but decided to cover
   it up with its persistent "North Korea may have 1-2 crude devices." It
   should be recalled that the US CIA failed to predict the Korean War of
   1950 and also the intervention of Chinese forces. The failure was due
   to not any lack of intelligence but incorrect analysis of the mountain
   of intelligence." [Korea Web Weekly, "Expert: North Korea Willing to
   Use Nukes"-5/6/2003]

   "Dr. Kim stated that North Korea's technical capacity of delivering
   nuclear weapons on missiles was proven by Pakistan's nuclear tests and
   missile test-fires. Pakistan claims that it has developed its nukes
   and missiles on its own. The bottom-line is that neither North nor
   Pakistan has violated any international agreements." [Korea Web Weekly]

   "Dr. Kim asserts that Kim Jong Il is no Saddam and that North Korea's
   military and people will fight to the end and die for Kim; and that
   unlike Iraq, North Korea does have the military capability and the
   will to inflict fatal blows not only to the US bases in Japan,
   Okinawa, and Guam, but also the US homeland. According to Dr. Kim,
   North Korea will demonstrate its military capability to hit the US
   homeland in the very near future." [Korea Web Weekly]

Rumsfeld believes the North Koreans are bluffing.
So who is going to blink?

Hank Roth
http://pnews.org/

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