Eyeing Election, North Korea Rails at Bush
North Korea, Eyeing Election, Issues Stream of Insults at Bush (James Brooke, NYT)
North Korea called President Bush an “imbecile” and “a tyrant that puts Hitler into the shade” on Monday, unleashing a stream of insults that seemed to rule out any serious progress on nuclear disarmament talks before the American election this fall. “The meeting of the working group for the six-party talks cannot be opened because the U.S. has become more undisguised in pursuing its hostile policy,” a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry told the nation’s state-controlled news agency. Preliminary talks were to be held in August, with high-level talks in September, as its neighbors and the United States seek to persuade Stalinist North Korea to stop manufacturing nuclear weapons. The Monday tirade appeared to have been set off by a campaign speech in Wisconsin last week by Mr. Bush, who referred to Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s hereditary leader, as a “tyrant.”
But other analysts of North Korea have been saying in recent days that it appears to be suspending serious talks until its leaders know whom they will have to deal with in January: John Kerry or Mr. Bush. “The negotiating process is stalled,” Aleksandr Losyukov, who was Russia’s negotiator at the talks until this spring and now is its ambassador to Japan, said in an interview last week. “It is clear they have just refused to participate in talks before the American presidential election. There are expectations in Pyongyang of a change in American policy. Probably they are wrong.”
Mr. Kerry has indicated that if elected president, he would pursue direct bilateral talks with North Korea within the existing six-nation framework. But he has sharply criticized Mr. Bush for promising to pull out one-third of the 36,000 American troops here without winning any reciprocal military concession from North Korea. “The North Koreans made it very clear, politely, that they want Mr. Kerry to win the election,” said C. Kenneth Quinones, a former American diplomat, in a recent interview in Tokyo. He was in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, this month for a Korean studies conference. “Nobody wants to move,” he added. “North Koreans are going to play wait and see.”
In the Monday tirade, North Korea’s diplomatic spokesman called Mr. Bush “an imbecile, ignorant, a tyrant and a man-killer.” “Bush’s assumption of office turned a peaceful world into a pandemonium unprecedented in history as it is plagued with a vicious circle of terrorism and war,” continued the statement, adding that Mr. Bush’s aides and allies are “a typical gang of political gangsters.” Perhaps running low on adjectives and images, the spokesman warned that the American president is “a bad guy.”
Some North Korea analysts say the bluster masks Pyongyang’s true aim; to bide its time until it is clear whether Bush or Democrat challenger John Kerry is elected in November’s presidential election.
Apparently, Kim Jong Il is one of the foreign leaders Kerry was referring to months ago? One wonders, too, if Moveon.org is writing their material.