North Korea said Friday that it no longer wished to be removed from the United States’ terrorism blacklist, signaling that it is hardening its stance amid reports that its leader, Kim Jong-il, may be seriously ill.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry also confirmed what the United States and South Korea have said already: it has begun to reassemble a nuclear complex that can produce weapons-grade plutonium.
“We neither wish nor expect to be delisted as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism,’ ” the North’s state-run news agency, KCNA, quoted a ministry spokesman as saying. “We can go our own way.”
Previously they were very interested in getting off of that list, and, in fact, the dismantling of their nuclear facility was part of the push to have that accomplished.
Now they say, "we don't care, keep us on that list" while they gear up to put that facility back into service.
Of course NoKo says the dismantling of the facility was all the agreement called for in order to get them removed from the list. Washington says that there was also an agreement to allow a comprehensive inspection to ensure NoKo has complied. NoKo responds that it will not allow a "ganster-like" inspection and we're headed back to square one.
But it was a blast from the past to hear a country use cold-war ear language ("gangster-like") to describe a legitimate part of an agreement.
Analysts say that one of two things might be going on. This may be nothing more than a NoKo negotiating tactic used to extract more from the US for the continued disabling of the Yongbyon facility. Others think it may be a stalling tactic which would allow them to wait until after the US presidential election. I would assume that tactic would only pay off for them if a certain nominee won the election.
Then there's a third possibility. That possibility might be that Kim Jong Il isn't in full control of the government any more. He hasn't been seen in a while. Of course the Western fantasy is that Kim dies and the new leader of the country opens it to the rest of the world and establishes peace, prosperity and democracy. In fact the opposite is more likely to be true. The new leadership may end up being even more oppressive than Kim. It's what they know and it is how they've secured their privileged position.
With Kim having groomed none of his children to take the helm, this particular incident may actually be the product of new or emerging leadership.
Perhaps it has established some new relationship with its good neighbor, Gospodin Putin. He has, remember, threatened to retaliate for our naval vessels going to Georgia, those missiles in Poland, and a few other things. Perhaps renewed support of Cuba (and now Venezuela) and N. Korea are part of Putin’s revenge.