By Jeremy Pelofsky
Wednesday, July 30, 2008; 6:27 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday tried to ease its way out of a dispute between South Korea and Japan over a cluster of islands both countries claim, which had threatened to mar U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Seoul next week.
A small government agency, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, had changed its designation of the islands from South Korea to no longer belonging to any country, sparking outrage in Seoul at a perceived shift in U.S. policy.
The White House said that decision would be reversed after complaints by South Korea. Bush will visit Seoul August 5-6 amid lingering tensions from another dispute, the lifting of a five-year ban on U.S. beef imports into the country.
"We regret that this change in designation was perceived by South Koreans as some sort of change in our policy," Dennis Wilder, senior director for Asian affairs at the White House National Security Council, told reporters.
The islands are called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.
After the United States was contacted by high-level South Korean government officials, Bush ordered U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to look into the matter, Wilder said.
"It was decided after that review that the change in designation was not warranted at this time, and so that database is now being restored to where it was prior to this change in designation," he said.
Wilder noted that U.S. policy remained that Washington was neutral and that Japan and South Korea needed to resolve the dispute diplomatically.
The question of sovereignty, long a sore point in relations, erupted again this month after schools in Japan were advised to refer to them as Japanese territory. It sparked angry protests outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul and the South Korean government made an official protest.
Japan and South Korea both claim historical rights to the cluster of rocks, which have little obvious economic value but are in the midst of fishing grounds and may sit above valuable deposits of natural gas hydrate.
George Bush is no longer in the Japanese people's mind. He is the worst president in the US history. I have lived in America for 41 years, and I know it. I can't wait for president McCain to lead this weakening America.
I heard Nancy Pelosi is coming to Japan in August sixth Hiroshima day. Does she forget about the comfort women resolution which passed the lower house at this time of the last year? She is a hypocrite, ignorant and traitor for Japan. She is not welcomed as well as Mike Honda by milions of Japanese citizen. Iseheijiro spokesman for Nippon Falcons League
Can Obama Lead the Military?
Is Barack Obama already shooting himself in the foot as commander-in-chief? In a long interview by the Military Times newspapers, the candidate shows a deference to the uniformed military, a humility that he associates with his lack of service in uniform but one that could also backfire as Clintonian weakness – Bill Clinton that is. "I have always said that as commander in chief, I would seek the advice and counsel of our generals," Obama said in the interview. "Great. The inmates will be running the asylum," an insider tells me.
Withdrawal from Iraq, his own surge in Afghanistan, dealing with the Bush legacy on Iran and Pakistan, missile defenses in Europe, increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps despite his Iraq withdrawal pledge, a bloated and voracious defense budget, the outsourcing of defense, the intelligence mess, China and Russia: What does the candidate tell us that is his new innovation? He says he wants to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Yeah, let's spend the first year of a new administration fighting about this again…
１） Asking generals what to do about a war is like asking a wino what to do with all this wine. The war was wrong, period. That is the policy that Obama needs to adhear to. The only thing he should be talking to the generals about is how to best pull our troops out. HE is the leader, and implementing HIS policy is what he should consentrate on. The majority of americans are behind that policy, and spending any time or political capital trying to placate the twenty some percent that wants this war is a waste of his time, and damages his credibility with the majority. He needs to stop trying to please everyone and stick to his guns.
２） The most troublesome aspect of Senator Obama's position on military and foreign affairs, is that he really believes that his powers of persuasion will be sufficient to transform complex dynamics that have evolved over the course of hundreds of years in America as well as in other cultures.
Senator Obama's relIance on the Military Brass for leadership credibility would have the same effect that the Neo-Cons had on G.W Bush, It will overwhelm him to the point of irrelevance. He has implicitly admitted that he has an inferiority complex when it comes to apposing the Macho Men in uniform. This is a red flag that should worry American voters.
Senator Obama' shifting position on Iraq demonstrates that he is less willing to challenge the military's leadership when confronted about his positions publicly. By trying to sound and look tough, Senator Obama has shown how little he really trust himself when it comes to leading the country's warrior class. Senator Obama lacks the character and convictions necessary to be the Comander in Chief of the armed forces and the Democratic party knows it.
３）＞＞ "Asking generals what to do about a war is like asking a wino what to do with all this wine. The war was wrong, period."
I encourage you to read the book "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam" by US Army Brigadier General (Select) H. R. McMasters before you so dismissively denigrate the military leadership in favor of an inexperienced civilian Commander in Chief. The President needs to articulate a clear vision, but in doing so he/she needs to pay attention to those that have a true understanding of the profession of arms and the costs of war. Does Obama possess the traits and skills to be a good Commander in Chief? I, for one, do not believe so.
４）＞＞What does the candidate tell us that is his new innovation?…
Posted by William_M_Arkin
Well, nothing. Now that he's a candidate for President he needs to advocate sensible policies. Before this he could advocate silly policies that were effective vote-getters from his base. Now he needs to advocate policies that won't make him look like a fool if he tries to implement them as President.
It's just like the anti-free-trade rhetoric he was spouting on the campaign trail. He even had to send operatives to Canada (and probably other countries) in order to reassure foreign governments that he wasn't really a fool.
Expect President Obama to continue 98% of the Bush Administration policies. He'll throw his followers a few high-profile bones like "gays in the military" to cover this up. Maybe the press will play along with the charade, maybe it won't. Pretty funny if you ask me. I love politics.
５） Yet again, we have no idea where Obama stands on this issue. He has said that he would be deferential, yet repeatedly states that he sets strategy, and the generals can set tactics. Great. What is Obama's Middle East strategy? No one knows. Would he question his generals' tactics, like Lincoln and Churchill regularly did? It would seem that he wouldn't.
The surprise deal was condemned by both neoconservative hardliners and
mainstream Republicans, who argued that it left North Korea with
nuclear weapons and rewarded Pyongyang's intransigence.
The deal received surprisingly harsh comment from the leading
Republicans on two key committees in the House of Representatives,
this according to the telegraph, a british newspaper.
"Lifting sanctions and removing North Korea from the list of state
sponsors of terrorism flies in the face of history and rewards its
brutal dictator for shallow gestures," said Pete Hoekstra, the top
Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
Telegraph did not say what the other committee it had in mind was, so
I do not know.
"Usually the word 'meltdown' applies to a nuclear reactor. In this
case it applies to Bush administration diplomacy which once aimed to
halt the North Korean programme and has now become an abject failure,"
said Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon defense policy board in
the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion. -- xon
Conservative Republicans — once President George W. Bush's closest
allies in efforts to confront North Korea's nuclear aspirations — came
out Thursday in strong opposition to Bush's decision to remove the
North from a U.S. terrorism blacklist.
But with only 45 days until the change takes effect, there appears to
be little that frustrated lawmakers can do. To block the North's
removal, opponents would have to push legislation through a Congress
controlled by Democrats who have largely favored the administration's
efforts at engaging the North.
"It's shameful," John Bolton, Bush's former U.S. ambassador at the
United Nations, said of Bush's actions. "This represents the final
collapse of Bush's foreign policy."
"Profound disappointment" was Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's reaction.
Republican Rep. Ed Royce said the only thing likely to derail the
North's removal from the terror list in the next 45 days was a
disclosure of additional "North Korean skullduggery."
Bush's announcement on the terror list came after North Korea handed
over Thursday a declaration of its nuclear work — nearly six months
after it missed a promised deadline to present a "full and complete"
On Thursday, Democrats cautiously praised Bush's Republican
administration for making progress — a reflection of how Bush changed
foreign policy tactics, in his final term in office, as he dealt with
plummeting popularity and the war in Iraq. Democrats had previously
criticized Bush for not directly talking with North Korea about its
Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, called the North's submission of a declaration
"encouraging." "Now the crucial work of verifying the declaration can
begin," he said.
Another California Democrat, Rep. Brad Sherman, chairman of the House
Foreign Affairs terrorism and nonproliferation subcommittee, had a
directly opposite response. He issued a statement late Thursday that
alleged the North Korean declaration was incomplete in that it lacked
full accounting for North Korea's uranium enrichment, its existing
nuclear weapons and its nuclear proliferation activities. Sherman said
he would introduce a resolution to keep North Korea on the terror list
until it produced those missing elements.
The terror list removal and the U.S. erasing trade sanctions under the
Trading With the Enemy Act are seen as crucial to making progress in
negotiations meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons. Failure
to follow through would infuriate Pyongyang, which views the terrorist
designation as evidence of hostile U.S. intentions.
Bush said the North's declaration was a positive first step, and the
White House said it would be closely watching the North during the
But, for critics, damage has already been done. The North, Bolton
said, has gained "political and economic legitimacy" by the
concessions. He said there was "clear evidence" that North Korea has
aided Syria in a nuclear program and helped Iran's missile program —
both those countries are also on the U.S. terror blacklist.
"To take North Korea off that list makes a mockery of the president's
notion that cooperating with terrorism means you'll be treated as if
you're part of the terrorist network," Bolton said.
The North is expected in the declaration to say how much plutonium it
has produced at its main reactor facility at Yongbyon. But critics
pointed out that the declaration will not illuminate North Korea's
suspected program of developing weapons fueled by enriched uranium.
Royce said the declaration was late and incomplete, and that it
contained nothing about the number of bombs the North has.
"How do you have a meaningful declaration of your nuclear program
without saying how many bombs you have?" Royce asked. "We've got the
danger that concessions embolden and entrench a hostile and
untrustworthy regime, and we have a signal to other proliferating
regimes that nuclear weapons will be rewarded without ever having to
give them up." -- from the international herald tribune. -- xon
The cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear complex was blasted off. 6/29/08 at US cost of 2.5 million $$$.
North Korea nuclear deal with US 'like police truce with Mafia'
By John Bolton
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 30/06/2008
For most Europeans, President Bush's second-term North Korea policy is a welcome relief from his earlier unilateralist cowboy-ism. Recent photos of the Yongbyon reactor's cooling tower collapsing are soothing evidence that Washington's foreign-policy establishment has reasserted itself. Can direct US negotiations with Iran be far behind? In fact, what is collapsing is not the North's nuclear program but President Bush's foreign policy.
North Korea has violated every significant agreement ever reached with the United States, and all indications are that the North is again following its traditional game plan. It is quite adept at pledging to give up its nuclear programme, having done so several times in the past fifteen years. Not once, however, has it actually taken decisive steps to do so. Indeed, quite the opposite.
Almost from the moment the North signed the 1994 Agreed Framework, it set about violating it, seeking to offset the loss of plutonium produced in Yongbyon's spent fuel by pursuing uranium enrichment, the alternate route to nuclear weapons.
Only when America uncovered decisive proof that North Korea had embarked on a production-scope procurement effort for an enrichment program was that ruse broken. The North initially admitted to the enrichment program, but now firmly denies it. In fact, the evidence suggests the enrichment programme is still underway.
Much fanfare heralded the North's handover of 18,000 pages of documents on Yongbyon's operation, but those very documents are contaminated by particles of highly enriched uranium, probably from that enrichment program the North never had. Equally telling is that these records are incomplete and, given the North's economy in the truthfulness department, quite possibly fraudulent.
Gaps in the records preclude determining how much plutonium Yongbyon has produced during its lifetime, a critical issue in estimating how many nuclear weapons the North has.
North Korea blows up nuclear facility
North Korea to be removed from terror blacklist after nuclear disclosure, says George BushadvertisementThe only real progress in de-nuclearising North Korea came via Israel's air force last September 6, when it pulverized a nearly-completed clone of Yongbyon on the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria. While the reactor is history, we still lack its vital details, most notably its likely customers. Was this a straight sale to Syria from the North, or was it in fact a North Korean reactor sitting on leased Syrian territory? Or was it a joint venture, perhaps with Iranian cooperation and financing? Iran has the same incentive as North Korea to hide its nuclear activities from prying international eyes, and what better place to hide than a place no one was looking? Or so they thought, until Israeli strike aircraft flattened the Yongbyon twin.
The world's nuclear proliferators are nothing if not determined. For them, diplomacy is not intended to solve common problems, but a very effective way to string along guileless Westerners, thus buying more valuable time to achieve their proliferation objectives. Iran has most graphically demonstrated this by using over five years of negotiations with Britain, France and Germany to perfect the critical nuclear technologies of uranium conversion and enrichment. As one keen observer put it, negotiating with Iran or North Korea is like the police sitting down with the Mafia to discuss their common interest in law-enforcement. President Bush's North Korea deal reflects the Administration's lame-duck status. Europeans appear overwhelmingly to favour the election this November of Senator Obama, in many respects because his foreign policy is so congenial to their tastes. It may be comforting now to think that the unilateralist cowboys are about to retire to their ranches. It will be less so when we are all confronted, as we will be inevitably, with the continuing reality of Iranian, North Korean -- and other -- nuclear weapons programs.
John Bolton is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He is most recently the author of Surrender Is Not an Option (Simon & Schuster/Threshold Editions).
George W. Bush has given North Korea everything it wanted. In return, the USA gets nothing. The UN IAEA will not gain access to north korea's nuclear stockpile or its secret files on weapons programs nor be allowed to conduct surprise inspections. Kim will continue to develop his long-range ballistic-missile, the Taepodong 2. He will likely continue to export nuclear weapons technology to allies in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The Bush administration has made a dangerous enemy, and the present agreement does nothing to mitigate that threat. bush has been humiliated by an unstable megalomaniac and ruthless tyrant. Bush announced he would remove North Korea from the terrorism list and lift economic sanctions. This follows a decision to provide Kim with massive amounts of oil to meet NK's energy needs--a fact ignored by the US mass media. former UN ambassador John Bolton blasted the agreement: "I think it's actually a clear victory for North Korea." Bush's goofed-up diplomatic efforts signal the beginning of another nuclear arms race. Now that Kim has nukes, South Korea and Japan will be forced to escalate to maintain military parity.
The Wall Street Journal summed it up like this in an editorial: "Most troubling is the message all of this sends to Iran, or other rogue states. The lesson is that when you build a weapon, your
political leverage increases. Play enough brinkmanship, and you can even receive diplomatic absolution without admitting to having the kind of nuclear device you exploded less than two years earlier. We understand that diplomacy often includes winks and nods, but it shouldn't require denial." (Wall Street Journal, "Leap of Faith") Kim blew up the "out of commission" cooling tower at Yongbyon. So what? North Korea did not develop its nuclear weapons at that plutonium plant, but in a parallel, underground program that made bomb fuel from enriched uranium. The demolition of the tower was a public relations operation to bamboozle people and help Bush save face.
the moral of the story is that America, or at least bush, faced with nuclear blackmail, will kow tow, dignify and fortify tyrants, fork over loot and celebrate the whole sorry process as a victory for home diplomacy.
Kim Jong-il now has a stockpile of 6-10 nuclear warheads. With a few finishing touches to his Taepodong ICBM system, he will be able to wipe out nine western USA states with the flip of a switch. Bush's bumbling has put Japan and half the USA in the crosshairs of a man loan home whose sanity has always been dubious.
xon (John Tiffany) 6.30.08
copy rights reserved. Nobuyoshi Ozaki spokesman for Nippon Falcons League