Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

US Puts China, SKorea On The Spot Over Korean Nuke Crisis

South Korea is torn between appeasing its key ally, the United States, and building bridges with its neighbour half a century after the Korean War.
by P. Parameswaran
Washington, United States (AFP) Jan 25, 2006
The United States has put South Korea and China on the spot by heightening financial sanctions on North Korea and simultaneously pushing for the Stalinist state to return to nuclear talks.

Pyongyang says it would not return to the six-party talks unless the United States lifts the sanctions in retaliation for North Korea's alleged counterfeiting and money laundering activities.

Washington has refused to budge, saying it cannot compromise with "criminal activity", now posing a major challenge to talks host China and neighbour South Korea to woo back North Korea to the negotiating table.

The United States also raised the stakes by pressuring South Korea, which is rapidly building ties with North Korea, to impose a financial squeeze on its northern neighbour in a bid to force it to abandon its alleged counterfeiting of US dollar notes.

In a rare outburst, South Korean President President Roh Moo-Hyun warned Wednesday of friction developing with the United States if it continued to put pressure on North Korea.

South Korea is torn between appeasing its key ally, the United States, and building bridges with its neighbour half a century after the Korean War.

Beijing is under pressure to revive the six-party talks, stalled since November, as it would pave the way for a warm US welcome for Chinese President Hu Jintao when he visits Washington in April.

"This issue is only a skirmish in preparation for a huge battle -- over whether North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear weapons," said Richard Bush, head of Northeast Asian policy studies at Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.

He said that China, North Korea's biggest ally and supplier of desperately needed aid, and South Korea, should tell North Korea to stop linking counterfeiting to the nuclear talks, which involve the three and the United States, Japan and Russia.

The expert acknowledged that it was legitimate for China and South Korea to want to be assured that there was a basis to the financial sanctions.

"But now that we have taken steps to assure them that there is a basis, I would hope that they would say to North Korea, 'you have no reason to hold up the resumption of the six-party talks which concerns totally separate issues, and by the way, counterfeiting another country's currency is an act of bad faith,'" he said.

Some wonder why the United States, having highlighted North Korea's contraband trade for years, imposed the sanctions at a critical juncture of the nuclear talks, especially after North Korea has agreed in principle to abandon its atomic weapons for diplomatic, security and aid guarantees.

"I know from my time in government that there is never a good time to take an action that someone will perceive as a hostile act. You can always come with a reason why it is a bad time to do it," said Bush, a former national intelligence officer.

US Treasury officials visited Seoul this week to try to convince South Korean officials that North Korea was guilty of counterfeiting US currency and money-laundering. The visit is part of an Asian trip also covering Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing and Tokyo to highlight US concerns about alleged illicit North Korean financial and drug activities.

The Treasury in September labelled a Macau-based bank Banco Delta Asia a "primary money laundering concern" and then blacklisted eight North Korean companies in connection with the bank that it said were involved in spreading weapons of mass destruction.

North Korea pockets up to one billion dollars a year from counterfeiting US greenbacks, trafficking illicit narcotics, smuggling contraband smokes and even peddling knockoff Viagra, according to US government estimates.

"I don't think we should turn a blind eye to these important issues just because we are dealing with the nuclear issue," said Peter Brookes, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defense.

"Is it okay for North Korea to traffic heroin and pollute societies just because they want to get into the table to talk about nuclear weapons," he asked.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

SKorea Warns Of Friction With US Over NKorea
Seoul (AFP) Jan 25, 2006
South Korea warned the United States on Wednesday of trouble ahead in their relations after an angry dispute broke out over US sanctions against communist North Korea.

  • Year Of Dog Signals Calm Before A Storm Say Chinese Soothsayers
  • OutsideView: How Big Is The Defense Budget
  • China's Africa Expansion
  • US Army Can Surge Troops To Meet Any Crisis

  • SKorea Warns Of Friction With US Over NKorea
  • US Puts China, SKorea On The Spot Over Korean Nuke Crisis
  • US Has Military Options Against Iran, And Risks Backlash
  • Annan Warns Against Use Of Nuclear Weapons

  • Northrop Grumman Wins Contract For Target And Space-Launch Missile Work
  • LockMart/Netfires Tests Loitering Attack Missile Warhead
  • LockMart Conducts Three Tests Of The GMLRS Unitary Rocket
  • Raytheon Team For APKWS II Demonstrates Semi-Active Laser Sensor Dome Survivability

  • General Dynamics Awarded Contract For TRIDENT Ballistic Missile System
  • Kinetic Energy Interceptor Team Perform Static Test-Fire Of Stage 2 Rocket Motor
  • US Japan To Integrate BMD IT Networks
  • BMD Focus: The Missiles Of Taiwan

  • Bombardier Challenger 605 Executes Flawless First Flight
  • Boeing Introduces New 737 Signals Intelligence Aircraft
  • Boeing Awarded Canadian CF-18 Avionics Upgrade
  • Wedgetail Aircraft Delivered To Boeing Australia

  • Autonomous Fire Scout UAV Lands On Ship
  • Oshkosh Unveils Next Gen Unmanned Defense Logistics Vehicle
  • USAF Take Delivery Of First Production Global Hawks
  • Northrop Grumman's Navy Fire Scout Gets Its Sea Legs

  • Iraq And Afghanistan Puts US Military Under Critical Strain
  • Iraqi Women Seek Leadership Positions
  • Missile Brought Down US Chopper In Iraq
  • Another Grim Week In Iraq

  • UK-French Initiative On Lightweight Radar Breaks Ground For Defence R&T
  • Jamming Systems Drive $28Bn Electronic Warfare Market
  • Netherlands Buys BvS10 From BAE Systems Hagglunds
  • C & C Technologies Builds Its Third AUV

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement