Wednesday, July 05, 2006


in this case, the North Korean 4th of July fireworks extravaganza. Where they found that "expert" from GW is a mystery.


You may have heard that ABC News is soliciting personal accounts of how global warming has affected one's life. This story isn't a personal one, but should it count anyway? Why or why not? Discuss ...


Woke up this morning to find that our friends in P’yôngyang have test launched a number of missiles. The early reports couldn't seem to decide on exactly how many--three? five? seven? ten?--or on the exact nature of each (although the consensus appears to be that the long-range Taepodong failed soon after launch).

One obviously significant question is why did the powers that be in North Korea want to do this? Here's what one expert concludes:
"North Korea wants to get the U.S. to direct bilateral negotiations by using the missile card," said Paik Hak-soon, a North Korea expert at the Seoul-based Sejong Institute. "Timing the launch date on July 4 is an attempt to apply maximum pressure on the U.S. government."

Those who watch Korea have heard this all before. They have probably also taken part in discussions about whether the current six-party or direct bilateral talks are more likely to avoid a confrontation and perhaps even lead to a solution.

The question I have this morning is: "Why would North Korea prefer direct bilateral talks to the current six-party ones?" It is evident that both South Korea and China have played a role in restraining or resisting the hard-line impulses of the Americans. So why would P’yôngyang want to go tete a tete with the very group that appears least willing to compromise?

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