The Assassinated Press

Thesis, Antithesis, Asymmetry

Special for c. The Assassinated Press

This week, North Korea admitted to having a nuclear weapons program in violation of a 1994 signed Geneva agreement. President George W. Bush has no retaliatory plans for North Korea. This “axis of evil” has no symmetry.

Pakistan, a key United States ally in the “war against terror,” has been named as a major supplier of equipment for North Korea’s secret program to develop nuclear weapons, whose disclosure this week “stunned” the Bush administration.

According to the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), France and China are two of Pakistan’s largest exporters of nuclear supplies. Both China and France sit on the United Nation Security Council as permanent members. According to a recent report by the Associated Press, China, France and another country that has been fingered as a supplier to Pakistan, Russia, oppose the resolution backed by the US and Britain that would authorize military action against Iraq.

How the world turns

U.S. took a tough talk and soft stick to the East yesterday. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said today the U.S. plans to bring “maximum international pressure” on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Mr. Kelly followed up his “maximum” rhetoric after meetings with Chinese and South Korean officials, by saying that there was no timetable set in the campaign to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear program

Under the 1994 Geneva agreement, North Korea pledged to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return for construction of two light-water reactors, financed mostly by South Korea and Japan. As part of the deal, the United States also provides North Korea with 500,000 tons of heating oil annually.

When asked whether the United States and allies may scrap the 1994 deal, Kelly said: “No decisions have been made on any next steps.”

In other news, the U.S. and France moved closer to agreement today on a draft resolution to force Iraq to disarm, according to Security Council diplomats. Kelly was heard today whispering, “if there’s a will . . .” upon walking out of his meetings with the Chinese.

For the first time in weeks, something that seemed like progress was made late Thursday when France responded favorably to a compromise proposal from Washington that would open the way for the Council to hold a second round of debate if United Nations weapons inspectors report that Baghdad is cheating or blocking their attempts to uncover weapons of mass destruction.

President Jacques Chirac of France, who was in Beirut today for a meeting of French-speaking nations, said the negotiations were “progressing in the right direction.” He said, “There’s no opposition between the French thesis and the American thesis,” adding that France was only seeking to reaffirm its interpretation of international law.

Mr. Chirac was asked, “What direction would that be?”

“Go east, young man,” Mr. Chirac replied.

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