Meanwhile… in Pyongyang August 26, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in International Politics.
Oh dear. The ripples spread further. It’s hard not to see today’s news that North Korea to stop disabling its nuclear facilities as anything other than the upshot of the Georgian/Russian conflict. And for those of us who were leery about the Kosovo process it would appear that our unease has been confirmed.
And what of Russia’s unseemly haste to ‘recognise’ independence of the two formerly autonomous regions in Georgia. I think it’s wrong, I think it will generate more problems for Russia than it will solve, but Medvedev was, on BBC News this afternoon, masterful in his use of the Bush play book.
Anyhow, if the stakes continue to rise there back on the Korean peninsula it’s all getting a little warm.
North Korea said today it has decided to suspend disabling its nuclear facilities and will consider restoring the Yongbyon nuclear reactor because the United States had violated a six-party disarmament deal.
In fairness to the North Koreans (an unusual phrase and one to enjoy in its own way) they are responding to the fact that:
The United States has put off taking the North off its list of state sponsors of terrorism until there is agreement on verification.
And they argue that:
“We have decided to immediately suspend disabling our nuclear facilities,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.
Regional powers have been pressing North Korea to accept a tough verification mechanism to check Pyongyang’s declaration of its nuclear programme made in July.
Opportunism and adventurism would now appear to be the order of the day. And why shouldn’t Pyongyang play this game too. A bit more dangerous one might argue than Georgia. Actually, a lot more dangerous. But, see them pull the tigers tail. What have they got to lose? The reality is that they’re simply delaying the process at a point where Washington seems less sure footed – for better or for worse – than it has in quite some time.
None of this is catastrophe. At least not yet. But it does indicate just how easily the house of cards that we call ‘international stability’ has been tipped over this decade and perhaps how fragile it always was.