Lower the heat
and begin talks
with N. Korea


North Korean officials told the Bush administration that they intend to move ahead quickly to turn plutonium into a half-dozen nuclear bombs.

NORTH Korea's boast to the Bush administration that it is going forward with plans to produce a half-dozen nuclear bombs has turned up the heat on this dangerous situation. At the same time, opportunities for a negotiated end to the standoff have emerged and should be pursued. If the rhetoric is softened, a peaceful resolution can be negotiated and war averted.

Those opportunities are surprising. President Bush has expressed his desire for regime change in Pyongyang, included North Korea in his "axis of evil" and referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as a "pygmy" and a "spoiled child." The North admitted last October that it had a secret uranium-enrichment program and it expelled United Nations nuclear inspectors. Kim has demanded bilateral talks with Washington, while Bush has insisted on multilateral talks, including Japan, China and South Korea.

William Perry, defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, warned this week that "time is running out" for President Bush to agree to negotiations. Perry told the Washington Post that he thinks Bush "has come to the conclusion that Kim Jong-il is evil and loathsome and it is immoral to negotiate with him."

A letter by President Hu Jintao of China hand-delivered to Kim by a deputy foreign minister proposes a multilateral meeting, with bilateral talks between the U.S. and North Korea on the sidelines. China, North Korea's largest source of energy and food, is the only country with stable relations with both Pyongyang and Washington.

The move by China follows a visit to North Korea last month by a bipartisan group of six members of the U.S. House. On the second day of the visit, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., the conservative vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, drafted a two-stage plan for resolving the crisis and presented it to Kim Gue-gwan, the country's vice minister of foreign affairs. Weldon's plan:

>> The United States recognizes North Korea, opens a mission in Pyongyang and signs a one-year nonaggression pact. North Korea officially renounces its nuclear weapons and research programs, allows unimpeded U.S. inspection of its nuclear facilities and rejoins the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The U.S., North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia ratify an initiative to promote investment, economic growth, trade and humanitarian aid in North Korea. Those nations and European partners commit $3 billion to $5 billion over the next decade, with most of the money coming from South Korea and Japan.

>> Following the one-year period, the U.S. nonaggression pact becomes permanent. North Korea ratifies the Missile Technology Control Regime and adopts a plan for eliminating its entire nuclear weapons program within two years. North Korea agrees to observer status with the U.S. Helsinki Commission on human rights, and lays out a framework for improving those rights.

Weldon reported that Kim Gue-gwan "responded that this plan is exactly what the North is seeking. He stated that with this plan as the starting point, everything was on the table for negotiation."



Oahu Publications, Inc. publishes the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, MidWeek and military newspapers

David Black, Dan Case, Larry Johnson,
Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke, Colbert
Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe,
Frank Teskey, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor, 529-4791;
Michael Rovner, Assistant Editor, 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor, 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4748;

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin (USPS 249460) is published daily by
Oahu Publications at 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.
Periodicals postage paid at Honolulu, Hawaii. Postmaster: Send address changes to
Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

E-mail to Editorial Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --