Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Archive for February 13th, 2007

Japan and the North Korean Nuclear Agreement: In or Out?

Posted by K.E. White on February 13, 2007

The Japanese Prime Minister seems unsure as to whether he is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the recently concluded North Korean nuclear accord.

From Minister Shinzo Abe

‘Out’ Prime Minister Abe: “We cannot provide (energy) aid unless there’s progress over the abduction issue.”

‘In’ Prime Minister Abe: “We will cooperate in the efforts to move forward this framework aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programme.”

Japan is one of the six parties that heralded the recently struck North Korean accord. Abe’s gymnastic exercise in diplomatic double-talk points to just how murky the North Korean nuclear issue remains.

What is this abduction issue? And why is it so important?

Breitbart offers this:

Abe took office last September, especially after winning public support for his work in trying to resolve the long-standing abduction issue.

Japan and North Korea are deadlocked in a dispute over the whereabouts of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and the two countries are divided over the number of kidnapped Japanese as well as over what happened to some of them.

On top of that, Japan last year slapped a series of economic sanctions on North Korea following Pyongyang’s ballistic missile test-launches in July and its first-ever nuclear test in October. The sanctions are still in place.

And Abe’s low popularity isn’t helping things:

Less than five months after taking office, Abe’s popularity is plummeting amid scandals and doubts over his ability to address problems including welfare costs and a rising disparity in incomes. Abe, 52, may face pressure to step down if his Liberal Democratic Party does poorly in July elections for parliament’s upper house.

A Kyodo News survey published Feb. 5 found that only 40.3 percent of Japanese approve of his performance, while 44.1 disapprove; his ratings have plummeted 25 points since he took office.

Proliferation Press has taken up the effects of Abe’s declining popularity before (with respect to America’s security strategy in the Pacific).

These two PINR reports provide an excellent overview of both Abe and the challenges now facing Japan.

Posted in Japan, North Korea, Proliferation News, Shinzo Abe, Six Party Talks | 1 Comment »

News Round-Up: Nuclear Accord with North Korea Reached

Posted by K.E. White on February 13, 2007

In the Press:

  • Time Magazine (Offers some insight into the negotiation of the deal, and points out: “is less a comprehensive solution than it is a starting point.”)
  • Reuters (offers John Bolton insight) and AP (offers the same) deuling reports, both offer skepticism of the deal
  • Asia Times (goes through the steps of the deal, explaining the primary hurdles still to overcome)

Posted in North Korea | Leave a Comment »

News Round-Up: 2/12/07

Posted by K.E. White on February 13, 2007

Posted in China, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taliban, Turkey | Leave a Comment »

Obama and Rice Talk Shop: The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on February 13, 2007

Sen. Barack Obama and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traded off on the U.S. India nuclear deal on February 8, 2007.

In what might be a fortelling of the treatment of the U.S.-India nuclear deal under a Democratic White House in 2008, Obama expressed his concerns over it.

Since the deal, recently passed by Congress and signed by the President Bush, would grant wide lattitude to the President–these words might just spell the fate of the deal in an Obama White House.

Sen. Barack Obama

“Given the deal that was reached with India, I think there is concern that the structure that had been in place may not sustain itself over the long term if we don’t make sure that we’re gathering up some sort of international consensus about what the rules of the road are. I know that the administration takes this seriously, but I don’t think that there has been as systematic an approach as I would like to see,” Obama said.

Responding to Obama`s point on India being an “anomaly”, Rice said, “Well, I think that could be the case. But, of course, there’s a very specific circumstance of the India-Pakistan, South Asia, context” and added that the “most likely problem” would come from an “Iranian” nuclear weapon.

Rice emphasised the non-proliferation credentials of the Bush administration and maintained it has been pursuing a number of elements that were outlined in a Presidential speech in 2004 and pointed to the success of counter-proliferation efforts, especially the busting of the nuclear components smuggling network run by disgraced Pakistani scientist A Q Khan. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

“The non-proliferation side has been very important to us ever since the President gave, at the National Defense University in 2004, a major non-proliferation speech.
And we`ve been pursuing a number of the elements of that outline. Obviously, you do have to deal with the bad actors, Iran and North Korea. There`s a counter-proliferation element of that…”

“So the President spoke to this problem and suggested that there should be some kind of international or fuel suppliers group that could provide fuel to countries that wish to pursue civil nuclear power without having the whole fuel cycle. We think that the Russian programme Bushehr in Iran is on exactly that model. When President Putin and President Bush were together very recently in Vietnam, they agreed to have talks about how Russia and the United States might move forward a strengthening of the non-proliferation regime based around issues of the fuel cycle,” Rice told Senator Obama.

Posted in Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice, India, U.S. India Nuclear Deal | 1 Comment »