FIRST IRAN, AND NOW NORTH KOREA DEFY UNITED STATES AND THE UN
"WE WILL TEST OUR NUCLEAR WEAPONS," SAYS NORTH KOREA
North Korea is raising tensions across the world tonight as the leadership claims it will press ahead with at least one test of its nuclear weapons. The test is expected to be conducted underground, but analysts are still not sure if the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea is just bluffing.
There is no doubt North Korea has nuclear weapons now, with the consensus figure being around eight completed warheads.
North Korea claims it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself from the United States, and said it would never use any nuclear weapons to strike another country pre-emptively. That is, North Korea is claiming it would only use its nuclear weapons for retaliation if there are strikes by the US or NATO countries inside the lands controlled by the last vestige of Stalinism left in the world today.
Iran, meanwhile, is resisting pressure from the EU to halt its uranium enrichment programs to allow time for full negotiations to be conducted over its plans beyond nuclear energy production. Iran still claims it does not want, and does not neeed, nuclear weapons. Although there is no shortage of Iranian exiles and American NeoCon media and politicians claiming otherwise, the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no proof that Iran has, or is planning to produce, nuclear weapons.
The IAEA recently dismissed a US senator's report on Iranian nukes as completely lacking in evidence or credibility.
North Korea and Iran obviously are feeling little true pressure from the US or the EU, rightly believing that military strikes at their nuclear facilitites, or within their borders, is a likelihood within the next twelve months.
The United States has already brought itself more time on the Iranian Nukes Crises by passing the negotiations off onto the EU for the moment, claiming diplomacy is the best solution for now. On North Korea, the United States' Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, said today that it should not be just up to the US to deal with North Korea and its nuclear arsenal. Rice hinted that countries in the region should be more pro-active in reigning in North Korea.
In Australia, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, was also qouted as saying that the US should not be turned to, or relied upon, to sort out all the disputes in the world today, and that countries like Japan and China, and also Australia, should be dealng with North Korea and sorting out the problems posed by Kim Jong-Il's regime for themselves.
The United States has no choice but to pull back from the front rows of the current crises with North Korea and Iran. Not only because they are fighting too massive insurgencies and fertile Islamist resistances across Iraq and Afghanistan, but also because they are easily accused of hypocrisy when it comes to who should, and who should not, have clear weapons.
The United States' can allow Israel and Pakistan and India to have nuclear weapons, but says Iran and North Korea cannot be trusted. But Israel has been acting with beligerent violence and retaliation towards its neighbours in Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, while India and Pakistan have engaged in wars with each other for decades and peace between the two nuclear nations is always, at best, a cooling of tensions.
From the Independent :
The statement from the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the (nuclear) test would be conducted "in the future" and "under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed".
Also yesterday, hopes that Iran could be coaxed into curbing its nuclear programme faded after the European official who had been holding discreet talks with the chief Iranian negotiator informed European ministers and the US that they had failed.
Western experts believe that although Iran and North Korea are not co-ordinating their strategy, they are carefully watching how each other's actions are playing out.
The long-running dispute with both countries is now entering an unpredictable phase, with uncertainty over how Iran may react to possible UN sanctions.
Tehran may be tempted to carry out its threat of using oil as a weapon, or even pull out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, as North Korea did in 2002.
But although the White House and State Department warned that a "provocative" and "reckless" test would only lead to further isolation for Pyongyang, Washington signalled its preference to resolve the dispute through diplomatic channels.
In an early sign of the tough line being taken by the new government headed by Shinzo Abe in Japan, the Foreign Minister, Taro Aso, called the North's nuclear test plans "totally unforgivable," and said Tokyo would react "sternly" if the North conducted a test.
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