RUSSIAN LEADERS MET WITH NORTH KOREAN LEADERS ONLY DAYS BEFORE MISSILE TESTS!
russian leaders met with north korean leaders only days before missile tests!
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President... is morally treasonable to the American public."
Spartacus Writes 7/8/2006:
We have witnessed Russia's disingenuous brand of diplomacy seemingly a million times dating back to the days when Roosevelt used to referee disputes between Russia and Japan at the turn of the 20th century. Furthermore, there was absolutely no change in Russian underhanded diplomatic and military tactics in the days, months and years following the fall of Berlin back in the Spring of 1945. We've also experienced it in MAD era combat when American Fighter Pilots were engaged with Russian fighter pilots in the skies over Vietnam during the 60's and 70's, at a time when America was allegedly only supposed to be fighting the North Vietnamese. And now, as a result of North Korea's most recent missile tests, America is faced with trying to defuse yet another foreign policy time bomb which was undoubtedly ignited by the Kremlin. This proves yet again that Russian leaders are irresponsible when it comes to matters of international diplomacy.
On June 22, 2006, the Kremlin "summoned" North Korean leaders to come to Russia presumably so they could express concern over Pyongyang's intentions to launch long range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to the United States. But when I first learned of the "summons" made to North Korea by the Kremlin, I could not help but imagine what would happen if the White House, Capital Hill or even the Pentagon for that matter, had sent the same type of "summons" to North Korean leaders? Would the North Korean leaders even show up? If North Korea is supposed to be a sovereign nation, and not under the influence/thumb of the Kremlin leadership, then why would they go? And then on July 4th 2006, I got the answers to my questions when North Korea launched two short range missiles and one long range missile while we were launching the Space Shuttle and totally immersed in our annual Independence Day celebrations,
It is obvious to anyone paying attention that just as it was the case back when the Soviet regime was in power, the Russian leadership in 2006, has traded-in a transparent approach to foreign policy and international affairs, for a behind the scenes role that includes posturing through the words and actions of coerced pawn countries such as Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba. But what we as average everyday Americans can't understand is why does the White House refuse to acknowledge that Russia is behind the rantings of Chavez, and the bad deeds of Kim Pyongyang?
The upcoming G8 energy talks in Russia will expose the Bush Administration's passive style of foreign diplomacy regarding all things Russian for the entire world to see. The White House will make most Americans cringe by simply showing up at the G8; which will be hosted by the most irresponsible nuclear power that the world has ever known, Russia. Moreover, the Kremlin cannot be counted on to keep energy flowing between Russia and the Ukraine, which begs the question; why do we want them involved in international energy policy making which, unfortunately, will be the focus of the upcoming G8 talks?
Officially, the Russian leadership allegedly condemns the actions of leaders such as Iran's Ahmadinejad, Venezuela's Chavez, and North Korea's Pyongyang. However, the actions of Pyongyang's country less than two weeks after their ambassador was "summoned" to the Kremlin are in stark contrast to what was reported to the press preceding the trip. Furthermore, Russia refuses to back any kind of meaningful sanctions against Iran or North Korea, thus giving credence to the notion that Kremlin condemnation of missile launches from North Korea and nuclear enrichment activity in Iran is disingenuous. Maybe the Kremlin thinks that forcing North Korea's hand to launch missiles less than a month before the G8 is going to somehow strengthen their position. I just hope that the White House gets wise to Russian international pawn play and simply not show up at the G8.
Tom Delay proved to the country and to the world that when he treasonously accepted large sums of money from the Kremlin/Russian businessmen to help finance GOP federal redistricting practices in the United States, that he was willing to do anything to accomplish his own selfish goals. My only hope now is that our White House has loftier goals than that now exposed former Congressman from Texas; goals, that we hope, will place USA national security interests front and center with actions instead of rhetoric.
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life."
"Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time."
July 5, 2006
Missiles Fired by North Korea; Tests Protested
By NORIMITSU ONISHI and DAVID E. SANGER
(New York Times)
TOKYO, Wednesday, July 5 — North Korea test-fired at least six missiles over the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning, including an intercontinental missile that apparently failed or was aborted 42 seconds after it was launched, White House and Pentagon officials said.
The small barrage of launchings, which took place over more than four hours, came in defiance of warnings from President Bush and the governments of Japan, South Korea and China. Of the launchings, which the United States and Japan condemned, intelligence officials focused most of their attention on the intercontinental missile, called the Taepodong 2, which American spy satellites have been watching on a remote launching pad for more than a month.
It is designed to be capable of reaching Alaska, and perhaps the West Coast of the United States, but American officials who tracked its launching said it fell into the Sea of Japan before its first stage burned out.
"The Taepodong obviously was a failure — that tells you something about capabilities," Stephen Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser, told reporters in a phone call on Tuesday evening in Washington. But other officials warned that even a failed launching was of some use to the North Koreans, because it will help them diagnose what went wrong with the liquid-fueled rocket.
In a statement issued late Tuesday night, the White House said the United States "remains committed to a peaceful diplomatic solution" and sought implementation of a joint statement on denuclearization issued after a meeting with North Korea in September. But it said "the North Korean regime's actions and unwillingness to return to the talks appears to indicate that the North has not yet made the strategic decision to give up their nuclear programs."
"Accordingly, we will continue to take all necessary measures to protect ourselves and our allies," the White House said, offering no details.
The missiles have been the source of considerable diplomatic tension in recent weeks, because of North Korea's declarations that it already possesses nuclear weapons. American intelligence agencies have told President Bush they believe the North has produced enough fuel for six or more weapons, but it is unclear whether they have actually used it to make nuclear devices.
However, the country is not believed to have developed a warhead small enough to fit atop one of its missiles, and it has never conducted a nuclear test, to the knowledge of American officials.
The other missiles that the North fired appeared to be a mix of short-range Scud-C missiles and intermediate-range Rodong missiles, of the kind that the North has sold to Iran, Pakistan and other nations. Those missiles also landed in the Sea of Japan.
None of the launchings were announced in advance. But the first came just minutes after the space shuttle Discovery lifted off in Florida — an event the North Koreans could monitor on television. Administration officials said they could only speculate as to whether the missile launching had been timed to coincide with the shuttle launching, or with Independence Day, but outside analysts had little doubt.
"It's very in your face to do it on the Fourth of July," said Ashton B. Carter, a Harvard professor who, with former defense secretary William J. Perry, had urged the Bush administration to destroy the Taepodong missile on the launching pad, advice the administration rejected.
"Hooray if it failed," Mr. Carter said.
While the test itself was a sign of North Korea's defiance of the United States, for the administration, the outcome was as favorable as officials could have hoped for: the North's capacity was called into question, and the North's enigmatic leader, Kim Jong Il, has now put himself at odds with the two countries that have provided him aid, China and South Korea. "Our hope is that the Chinese are going to be furious," said one senior American official, who declined to be identified.
Another official noted that only days ago, the Chinese indicated that they were trying to put together an "informal" meeting of the long-dormant six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
The North has boycotted the talks since September, citing American efforts to close down the banks it uses overseas.
But North Korea had apparently not responded to the Chinese invitation, and American officials said last week that the Chinese would not have made that gesture if they believed that they were about to be embarrassed by the country that they once considered a close ally.
The launching also makes it difficult for the South Koreans to continue their policy of providing aid and investment to the North, a program that has caused deep rifts with Washington. Administration officials said that Christopher R. Hill, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the main negotiator with North Korea, would leave for Asia on Wednesday, and that they expected him to use the launchings to try to bring South Korea and China into the fold on imposing some kind of sanctions.
At the same time, the launching is likely to strengthen the hand of hard-liners in the Bush administration who have long argued that the six-party talks were bound to fail. They now have what one American diplomat called "a clear runway" to press for a gradually escalating series of sanctions, which some officials clearly hope will bring down Mr. Kim's government.
But it is far from clear that China — which provides the North with its oil and much of its food — would go along with any move for sanctions.
The firing ended weeks of speculation about the intentions of Pyongyang, which had rolled out the Taepodong 2, its new long-range missile, in full view of American spy satellites, and came despite severe warnings from the United States and countries in this region that a test would entail further isolation and sanctions. The first missile was fired around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Japanese government.
American officials said they believe the Taepodong 2 was the third missile fired, with the U.S. Northern Command saying that it was launched at 5 a.m. on Wednesday.
American and Japanese officials immediately condemned the launchings. But American officials had never considered it a serious threat to the United States, especially because there was no evidence the missile was equipped with a warhead. Mr. Bush's spokesman, Tony Snow, only went so far as to call the launching "provocative behavior."
The Japanese government said it would take "severe actions" against the North, possibly including economic sanctions. Those could include shutting down the ferry service to North Korea and attempting to stem the flow of the transfer of cash to the North from Koreans in Japan, though officials acknowledge that would be difficult.
At the United Nations, John R. Bolton, the United States ambassador, was "urgently consulting" with other members of the Security Council to try to schedule a meeting of the panel, according to his spokesman, Richard A. Grenell. Later in the evening, it was announced that the Council would meet to take up the matter at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the request of Japan. Mr. Hadley acknowledged that "what we really don't have a fix on is, you know, what's the intention of all this, what is the purpose of all this? " He noted it was a violation of North Korea's previous pledges to hold to a moratorium on missile tests.
It was also unclear why North Korea fired short- and mid-range missiles, which it has tested successfully in the past and of which it is said to own several hundred.
"One theory is that they knew that there was a probability that things with the Taepodong 2 wouldn't work, so it was good to fire off a few missiles that would actually work," said a senior Bush administration official, who asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak about this issue.
In 1998, the last time the North tested a missile outside its territory, Pyongyang fired the Taepodong 1, which flew over Japan before falling into the sea. That test set off a negative reaction in the region, especially in Japan, which responded by strengthening its military and its alliance with the United States.
Wednesday's tests are likely to increase calls inside Japan to strengthen its missile defense efforts with the United States, and could increase support for hawkish candidates in the race to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is scheduled to retire in September.
Shinzo Abe, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, who is the leading candidate to succeed Mr. Koizumi and who has gained popularity in recent years by being tough on North Korea and China, said the tests were "a serious problem from the standpoint of our national security, peace and stability of the international community and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
The tests are sure to anger China — which expended considerable diplomatic prestige in pressing the North not to go ahead with the launching and to rejoin the six-nation talks — and raise doubts anew about the real extent of Beijing's influence on Pyongyang. The Chinese foreign ministry said it had no comment to make yet on the launching.
In South Korea, whose government publicly urged the North not to test-fire but privately played down the risk, opponents of the government's engagement policy toward the North might gain support in presidential elections next year.
Intelligence from American satellite photographs indicated in mid-June that the North was proceeding with the test-firing of the Taepodong 2 at a launching pad on North Korea's remote east coast. Satellite photographs showed that the North Koreans had taken steps to put fuel into the missile, but the missile sat there until Wednesday morning, leading to speculation that the North was simply staging the event in order to gain attention from the United States.
American officials had suggested that they might use the missile defense shield to shoot down the Taepodong 2 in midair. Bad weather in this region was said to have delayed the launching, because poor visibility would prevent the North from tracking its missile.
But the North contradicted expert opinion by launching its long-range missile in predawn darkness today.
Norimitsu Onishi reported from Tokyo for this article, and David E. Sanger from Vermont. Reporting was contributed by Warren Hoge from the United Nations, and by David S. Cloud, Helene Cooper and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Washington.
Russia summons North Korea's ambassador
By BURT HERMAN, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 54 minutes ago 6-22-2006 1:53PM pst
Russia summoned North Korea's ambassador Thursday to express alarm that Pyongyang could launch a long-range missile, and the isolated nation's other major ally, China, issued its strongest statement of concern to date over the standoff.
South Korea played down the growing tensions, saying a missile firing was not imminent, although the U.S. national security adviser said launch preparations were "very far along."
In an unusual step, Russia's Foreign Ministry called in North Korean Ambassador Pak Ui Chun to say it was alarmed by reports of the planned launch and warn him of Moscow's opposition to any steps that would destabilize the region.
"In particular, the undesirability was stressed of any actions which could negatively affect regional stability and complicate the search for a settlement to the Korean peninsula's nuclear problem," a ministry statement said.
At a regular briefing in Beijing, Jiang Yu, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official, said, "We are very concerned about the current situation. ... We hope all parties can do more in the interest of regional peace and stability."
Worries over a possible North Korean launch have grown in recent weeks after reports of activity at the country's launch site on its northeastern coast where U.S. officials say a Taepodong-2 missile — believed capable of reaching parts of the United States — is possibly being fueled.
Japan and the United States have issued strong statements of concern and have sent ships and planes to monitor the communist nation.
South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said that, "It is our judgment that a launch is not imminent."
But if the North fires a missile toward South Korean territories, combined U.S. and South Korean forces will be "ready to intercept it immediately," Yoon told a parliamentary meeting.
Seoul has sat for years in the cross hairs of hundreds of North Korean missiles and artillery, and it fears that increased tension could roil its economy.
When asked about South Korea's assessment, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said, "We're watching it very carefully and preparations are very far along."
"So you could, from a capability standpoint, have a launch," Hadley said. "Now what they intend to do — which is what a lot of people are trying to read — of course we don't know. What we hope they will do is give it up and not launch."
A top Pentagon official said that a launch would be "a provocation and a dangerous action" that would lead to the United States imposing "some cost" on North Korea.
Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing that he did not know if such a launch would happen. If it did, Rodman said the Bush administration would take some, unspecified action.
Washington is weighing responses to a potential test that could include trying to shoot down the missile, U.S. officials have said.
The U.S. has urged China, which sends an unknown amount of food aid to the North and is its No. 1 trade partner, to press the North to back down on its potential missile test. President Bush has praised Beijing for "taking responsibility in dealing with North Korea."
Jiang said China would "continue to make constructive efforts."
The North's test of a long-range missile in 1998 shocked Japan and prompted it to accelerate work with Washington on a joint missile defense system.
The communist nation has been under a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests since 1999, when its relations with the United States were relatively friendly. However, it has since test-fired short-range missiles many times, including two in March.
There are diverging expert opinions on whether fueling would mean a launch was imminent — due to the highly corrosive nature of the fuel — or whether the North could wait a month or more.
A North Korean diplomat said in reported comments Wednesday that the country wanted to engage in talks with Washington over its concerns of a possible missile test. The Bush administration rejected the overture, saying threats aren't the way to seek dialogue.
The U.S. instead called on North Korea to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear program.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said he was talking with Security Council members on possible action.
The North agreed at talks in September to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees and aid, but no progress has been made on implementing the accord.
North Korea has complained repeatedly in recent weeks about alleged U.S. spy flights, including off the coast where the missile test facility is located.
"The ceaseless illegal intrusion of the planes has created a grave danger of military conflict in the air above the region," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
The U.S. has sent ships off the Korean coast capable of detecting and tracking a missile launch, a Pentagon official said. South Korean aircraft have also been flying reconnaissance over the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, said the military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject.
Japan said it, too, had sent naval ships and patrol planes to monitor the developments.
The North has claimed to have a nuclear weapon, but isn't thought to have an advanced design that could be placed on a warhead.
Japanese police were preparing for a "worst-case scenario," including the possibility that parts of a missile could fall on Japan, said Iwao Uruma, commissioner general of the National Police Agency.
About 1,000 people, including army veterans and activists, staged an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul, condemning the missile threat.
The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.
Associated Press reporters Gillian Wong in Beijing and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.
Gas Crisis Fueled Ukrainian Patriotism
By MARA D. BELLABY,
Associated Press WriterSat Jan 7, 2006; 2:51 PM ET
At the height of a gas dispute this week, anonymous text messages zipped across Ukrainians' cell phones calling for a boycott of all things Russian.
"Remember the Great Famine, Stalin terror ... If you are a Ukrainian, forward this to friends," one message read.
Russia's threats to leave this nation of 47 million shivering through a cold winter triggered an outpouring of anti-Russian sentiment and patriotism, from which President Viktor Yushchenko will likely benefit in March's parliamentary elections.
"Ukrainians saw the face of the enemy and Russia did everything it could to make that face terrifying," said Ivan Poltavets, the head of Kiev's Institute of Economic Research. "But Ukrainians did not get scared. Instead they closed ranks around the idea of sovereignty and democracy."
Yushchenko, whose popularity has plummeted since his 2004 rise to power, desperately needed the boost. Some polls had shown his bloc coming in well behind the Kremlin-backed party that opposed the 2004 Orange Revolution — a weak showing that could seriously handicap his remaining four years in office.
But the complicated agreement that ended the pricing dispute left Kiev paying nearly twice as much for natural gas, which will take a bite out of Ukraine's struggling economy and, eventually, people's wallets. Under the final deal, Ukraine must pay $95 for 1,000 cubic meters of gas, up from $50.
Ukraine's bare-knuckle politics move at a quick pace, making it unclear how long Yushchenko will be able to capitalize on the crisis at the expense of opponents who favor closer ties to the Kremlin.
"From a political perspective, it would have been smart to drag things out a bit," said Ivan Lozowy, president of the Kiev-based Institute of Statehood and Democracy. "I had never seen anything like this ... it was clearly heading toward a huge disaster for Russia. The anger was ballooning and the European Union and the United States were weighing in and not on Russia's side. But it was settled relatively quickly."
As Russia restricted the flow of gas earlier this week, posters, text messages and e-mail chain letters circulated in Kiev, recalling Russia's czarist and Soviet misdeeds and encouraging a boycott of Russian goods.
Television news programs extolled Ukrainians to hang tough and make sacrifices, and talk shows featured Russia's most jingoistic politicians, who referred repeatedly to Ukrainians using a slur deeply offensive to many here — "khokhly" — which refers to the appearance of Ukrainian Cossacks and has come to mean "bumpkins."
The standoff hardened Ukrainians.
"Russia now understands that to bring Ukraine to her knees isn't so easy," said Oleksandr Rudakov, 45, a Kiev engineer. "Ukraine is ready to suffer a bit in the short-term if this will safeguard her independence and sovereignty."
Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov pledged the population would not be hit with higher prices during the year's first quarter — which will get the country out of the freezing winter months and through the parliamentary elections.
Ultimately, though, pain is inevitable. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who opposed the deal, said it could cost the country $4.5 billion this year — 16 percent of the national budget.
Yushchenko's main political opponent, Viktor Yanukovych, stayed mum throughout the dispute — a silence that analysts said was a telling indicator of his weak position trying to balance the defense of Ukraine's interests without offending his one-time political patron, Russia.
Mykhaylo Pohrebinsky, a Kiev-based analyst with ties to the opposition, predicted the crisis "will even further divide Ukraine into two halves — the pro-European west and the pro-Russian east." The Russian-speaking east will blame the conflict on the Orange Revolution team, which has sought to lessen Moscow's influence here, he said.
"Russia wasn't fighting against the Ukrainian people but against the Orange hoard that sits in government," said Olga Serdechnaya, 40, a government worker in the eastern city of Donetsk. "I'm not happy about the situation, but I understand Russia's motives."
Associated Press reporter Yuras Karmanau contributed to this report from Kiev.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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