Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Reuters ("US PONDERS CRACKDOWN ON N.KOREAN DRUGS, MISSILES," Washington, 05/12/03) reported that the US is exploring ways to crack down on drug and missile exports that earn hard currency for the DPRK and does not plan a detailed counter to a proposal by the DPRK at recent negotiations in Beijing, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Monday. Rice also said that President Bush was open to another round of talks with the DPRK and remained committed to a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear crisis, although he continued to keep "all options open." "Unfortunately, the DPRK seem to trade in drugs and missiles and that seems to be their export and we are looking at ways to deal with that," she said. The international community "needs better tools to deal with a state like North Korea that appears to be determined to violate its international agreements and I think we're going to work more aggressively with other states to see what other tools we can build," she said. Some US officials and independent experts have urged the administration to formally counter the proposal by the DPRK to trade the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs for economic and political benefits as a way of testing whether the DPRK really wants to strike a nuclear deal with Washington. But Rice said: "We see no reason to respond point by point to what the DPRK have said."
North Korea sells missiles and drugs? I had no idea! To bring up those issues at this time is further indication that the Bush team doesn't really want to negotiate its way out of this problem; it wants Kim Jong Il and company to go away. So do I; but I'm more than a bit leery about the risks of pushing for regime change.

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