Did USA forgetall about Korea?
It might be quite surprising to listen to the men on the street as some are saying that North Korea today is a greater enemy than is Iraq. This America of ours is a free country, and a citizen can believe what he wishes. But again, the question needs some answering. First of all, the United States looks at North Korea so often in terms of the role that China plays in that part of the world. Still, in the present story recently developed, we learn some facts that apparently were not necessary to place on public inspection. In the minds of many, the news value was too small to worry about.
Maybe we here in democratic America never dreamed that North Korea had her Stalinist mind set on being a nuclear nation. Besides, we did not wish to see North Korea manhandle South Korea. So, for years, we did nothing really. At least the Reagan and first Bush administrations just ignored the talk and so North Korea just went about her merry business while nobody really was watching.
President Clinton's attention was called to the story and he sent former President Jimmy Carter to look into what was happening. Of course, North Korea wanted no one interfering into what she considered her business.
Despite all else, an agreement of sorts was reached which was known as the Agreed Framework. For many Americans in position to know, this agreement was hardly worthy of being cited as important.
In the Agreement, North Korea gave a promise to freeze its nuclear weapons program and the USA would guarantee the construction of two light water nuclear reactors for power generation purposes. Uncle Sam also promised to give North Korea 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil a year until the reactors were to be ready in 2003.
Now the whole ball of wax quickly melted when the second Bush confronted North Korea with indisputable evidence that she was cheating in the matter of the nuclear arms issue. It was learned that North Korea had shut down its plutonium reactor as the Agreement demanded, but had turned to other ways of producing weapons grade fuel. It was learned that when the 1994 Agreement was signed, North Korea at the time had enough plutonium to assemble one or maybe two nuclear bombs with the explosive power equal to that of the bombs dropped over Japan in 1945. Having been exposed, North Korea renounced the 1994 Agreement as well as her signature on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. So, right today, North Korea is resting out there untouched and unmarked, but boasting all the while. It is said that right today North Korea has a million well-trained troops ready to fight. These troops are on show all the time while we read that feeding those million troops actually means that the civilian population is starving.
North Korea has much of what it takes to become a nuclear power. Right now, how to contain North Korea seems to have taken on greater importance than stopping her from building onto what she already possesses.
It might be difficult for American political leaders to envision North Korea, little as it is, being a nuclear power and having dreams of regular expansion. But the fear among thinking leadership revolves around the thought that her best market for nuclear weapons are the terrorists. That is a nightmare thought.