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Jun. 21  2018
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Koreans want end to U.S. war threats

Why has the government of north Korea said that the 1994 agreement it had with the Clinton administration over its nuclear program is now dead?

Source  :  Workers World



by Deirdre Griswold

Why has the government of north Korea said that the 1994 agreement it had with the Clinton administration over its nuclear program is now dead?

Because the Bush administration killed it.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is merely stating the truth. It wants a normalization of relations with the U.S., not a war. But Bush sabotaged steps made in that direction when he declared the DPRK part of an "Axis of Evil" and a "terrorist nation."

The DPRK had been making progress in improving its relations with south Korea. A summit meeting had taken place between the leaders of the north and the south. Hundreds of families separated for 50 years had sent members across the demilitarized zone to meet relatives on the other side. There was talk of joint economic cooperation.

Meanwhile, it was waiting for the U.S. to fulfill its end of the 1994 agreement. At that time, the DPRK had agreed to end its plans to build a nuclear reactor that would have supplied it with much-needed power on the promise that the U.S., south Korea and Japan would help it build a different kind of reactor, one which would not produce plutonium as a byproduct. Plutonium can be used to trigger nuclear weapons.

That reactor has never been built. The DPRK has suffered through freezing winters, lack of electric power and fuel, for eight years since the agreement. Weather disasters have compounded their problems.

Fuel oil the U.S. also promised as a stopgap measure has come too little and too late to alleviate mass suffering.

According to Selig Harrison, author of "Korean Endgame" and director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy in Washington, the U.S. "has failed to fulfill two key provisions of the accord: steps to normalize relations and 'formal assurances' ruling out 'the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the United States' against North Korea." (USA Today, Oct. 22)

Actually, instead of ruling out the threat of using nuclear weapons, the Pentagon has recently issued a shocking document threatening their first use if it deems that necessary anywhere in the world.

The north Koreans say in all their diplomatic overtures that they want all this discussed within the framework of a formal end to the Korean War--something Washington has refused to do for almost 50 years.

The U.S. media have been running scare headlines about north Korea having nuclear weapons. But that is very misleading. This is not about the DPRK possessing nuclear weapons. It's only about them saying that they reserve the right to develop a program to enrich uranium that could in the future be used for nuclear weapons. They are leaving the door open for negotiations, in other words.

Of course, the media don't mention the many U.S. nuclear weapons that have been targeted on north Korea for decades.

People in the United States, in trying to understand the current struggle, should remember what the Koreans can never forget: that from 1950 to 1953, hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops were fighting in Korea in a war that left 3 million Koreans and 33,000 U.S. soldiers dead. After such a disaster, could any government in north Korea take the question of defense lightly?

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