Method to North Korea’s nuclear madness?

Now that it has pretty much been confirmed that North Korea did explode a nuclear bomb, if a very small one, comes the news that it may be ready to repeat the feat on short order. Yes, this is deeply disturbing, but Selig Harrison (who has a penchant for saying things the Washington elite doesn’t want to hear) warned weeks before the blast that it was coming, and that it would be a tactic by Pyongyang to press Washington for direct negotiations—another possibility we have noted before. If this is true, Bush’s intransigence essentially prompted North Korea to cross the nuclear threshold. From AlJazeera, Sept. 23:

A US scholar has said that North Korea plans to unload fuel rods from its Yongbyon nuclear reactor to put pressure on Washington.

“They want to use Yongbyon as leverage to get bilateral talks with the United States,” said Selig Harrison, a US scholar who is just back from a visit to the North Korean capital where he held discussions with Kim Kye-gwan, Pyongyang’s top negotiator at the stalled six-party talks on its nuclear ambitions.

With Korea stating that it would unload fuel rods, it brings into question the country’s nuclear weapon capability once again.

On Saturday Harrison said: “The removal of the fuel rods is a significant new development because it underlines that North Korea is enhancing its weapons capability.

“Every time they unload it, they are getting a new increment of plutonium to be reprocessed and they are adding to the number of weapons that they could make.”

Korean sentiment

Speaking to a Beijing news agency, Harrison quoted Kim as saying: “If Washington conceded the face-to-face talks it has long resisted, both sides could put whatever they’ve got on their minds on the table”.

He said Kim had also said: “We want evidence that the US is giving up its hostile ‘regime change’ policy towards Pyongyang. I’m optimistic that the Bush Administration will climb down in the near future.”

However, the message was clear according to Harrison: “Kim did make clear that the purpose of unloading the fuel was to obtain more plutonium for nuclear weapons.”

Harrison spent six hours in discussions with negotiator Kim during the visit, and was told he was the first US scholar to visit North Korea this year.

Nuclear file

It is not the first time that North Korea has extracted rods from its Yongbyon reactor. Fuel rods were extracted in May 2005, according to officials.

Proliferation experts said this could eventually provide enough material for another two or three atomic bombs.

Six-party talks broke down in November last year after North Korea refused to participate in protest at a US clampdown on its international financial dealings.

See our last post on the North Korea crisis. See also WW4 REPORT #84

  1. Nuclear Blast by North Korea
    What is wrong with N. Korean Blast?. if countries like America feel insecure without nuclear weapons, If Israel is encouraged to have a large collection of nuclear weapons for better security, what is wrong with smaller and relatively insecure states to work for their security. The best thing would be for America to set an example and throw all their weapons in the nearest ocean. If that is unimaginable, then please imagine about 180 states having their own weapons.

    1. What is wrong?
      We strongly agree that the US should seek disarmament, as mandated by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But there is plenty wrong with North Korea (or Israel, Iran, India, Pakistan, Egypt, etc.) seeking nuclear weapons, thank you. Decrying the double standard is one thing, and wholly legitimate. Using it as an excuse to justify North Korea’s nuclear ambitions is quite another, and dishonest propaganda. You should make your point a little clearer.

  2. No need to use a joke
    No need to use a joke bluegrass cut, check out the mandolin solo on On and On by Bill Monroe (live at Mechanics Hall). The choppy syncopated style is on many of his solos but is really clear in this sample. Bill sez about his African American mentor:

    “The first time…I ever seen Arnold Schultz…this square dance was at Rosine, KY, and Arnold and two more colored fellows come up there and played for the dance….He was powerful with it. In following a fiddle piece or a breakdown, he used a pick and he could just run from one chord to another the prettiest you’ve ever heard. Me and him played for a dance there one night and he played the fiddle and we started at sundown and the next morning at daylight we was still playing music – all night long.”

    This kind of playing, with its strong accent of rhythm, electrified audiences back then but has been all but ironed out in much contemporary stuff. It has been officially “unheard” as folks reinvent country music according to their latest racial fantasy. And hey, how can the people who listen on the archive donate to the radio show? I donated once a big ol chunk to DemNow and told them I wanted to split it with you but who knows if it ever happened?