Friday, April 18, 2003
The reprocessing of the spent fuel rods was at the "final phase", KCNA reported.
"The Iraqi war teaches a lesson that in order to prevent a war and defend the security of a country... it is necessary to have a powerful physical deterrent force," the Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
This would at first glance appear to confirm my long-held suspicion that the DPRK is determined to acquire nuclear weapons and is not merely using the prospect of gaining nukes as a bargaining tactic. Yet, it is far from clear whether the DPRK is actually doing what it claims to be doing:
However, officials from the US, Japan, South Korea all said on Friday that they had no information that reprocessing was taking place. Independent confirmation is difficult, however, because North Korea has expelled UN nuclear inspectors.
Perhaps the DPRK is attempting to gain the upper hand at the impending talks in Beijing. If so, I'm afraid that they underestimate the resolve of many in Washington to facilitate regime change if at all possible. In a staring contest between Kim Jong Il and "Texas poker" dubya Bush, I don't know if I would bet against Bush.