Bush, Koizumi Discuss N. Korea Problem
Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE
"Bush, Koizumi Discuss N. Korea Problem"
(by The Associated Press) Washington Post
The article itself is a casual report on the two leaders' routine telephone conversation, that they talked about Iraq and North Korea. Then of course, it would not be disclosed if they were really discussing some delicate issue.
It has been a year since President Bush delivered the State of the Union Address on January 29 last year. Currently, two of the "Axis of Evil" he so called, Iraq and North Korea, appear in media every day, both for the doubt of developing nuclear weapons. But questions have been raised by some Japanese critics if the two countries are treated similarly by the U.S.
The question they raised is in essence whether the U.S. is applying double standards. While Iraq is saying that it is not developing weapons of mass destruction, and so far the inspectors from IAEA have found no evidence otherwise, North Korea has declared its intention to exploit nuclear powers, and threatening to revive its long-range missile developments. The U.S. has been tough on Iraq, sending its troops to the area while the rest of the world holds breath. For North Korea, though, the U.S. has been saying that it does not intend to confront that regime.
Recent commentaries in Japan have hinted that the double standard applied by the U.S. is because while Iraq has a huge reserve of oil, North Korea has nothing the U.S. is interested in terms of natural resources. Accordingly, the U.S. is concerned about Iraq for how its resources are to be utilized, but it could not care less what happens to North Korea. Some critics further suggest that since North Korean missiles have the range barely to cover Japan, the U.S. expects Japan to raise its fist against North Korea.
In a timely manner, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton was interviewed on Japan's TV, and he was asked the question of difference in treatment between the two countries. He replied that the U.S. has waited Iraq to correct its doings for more than a decade, which is too long, and wants a final answer, while in case of North Korea, the issue has just emerged and therefore there is still room and time for diplomatic negotiations.
Perhaps the matter is well sorted out in the Under Secretary's mind. But North Korea admitted the restarting of nuclear arms development in violation of its agreement of 1994 with the U.S. to halt such activities, and then it withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which could only be interpreted as their declaration to build nuclear weapons. Mr Bolton might need a little better explanation than that to convince ordinary people the difference of treatment between the two members of what Mr Bush called the axis of evil.