Will North Korea Profit From the “BDA Conference”

[imText1]The second phase of the 5th round of six party talks will begin on the 18th, though the overall forecast by foreign experts predict a dim six party talks.

Bruce Klingner of the “Eurasia Group” in Washington said “It is interesting that both the U.S. and North Korea agreed to reconvene the talks considering that the two parties could not negotiate desirable measures in the past. However there is no basis to be optimistic about the talks.”

Michael Breen, President of Insight Communications Consultants said “The actual objective of the six-party talks is the six-party talks” and predicted we “should not expect an outcome from the meeting.”

“It is possible that North Korea will agree to a small concession and retract with the U.S. ultimately raising its hands once again” said Executive Director of Harvard University’s Managing the Atom Project (MTA) Jeffrey Lewis and analyzed that if this occurs the possibility of the situation worsening could not be excluded. Predictions by Chinese experts are not different.

Professor Shi Yinghong of Renmin University of China said “It is clear that North Korea does not want to relinquish its nukes” and prospected “For North Korea even the possibility of reducing tightened sanctions by the international community while still continuing its nuclear policies at the six party talks is profitable.

A professor in the International Studies, Tsinghua University also said “It will be difficult to see actual change” and forecasted “In the case the six party talks fail and North Korea sanctions are reinforced, North Korea will only heighten its national threat and create further isolation.”

Undoubtedly, there are positive views also.

The U.S. even revealed that if North Korea relinquished its nukes, then it would have confidence in signing a pact “Official declaration ending the Korean War” which would state the cessation of war and (an U.S. Department of State official) forecasted that progress would most likely be made as pressures from U.N. sanctions continue.

North’s goal of participating in the six party talks different

The predominant reason that the six party talks is being portrayed negatively is simple. This is because North Korea’s “goal” of the six party talks is different.

The goal of all the member nations of the six party talks excluding North Korea is to “eliminate North Korea’s nukes,” and to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. However, North Korea thinks otherwise. First, the BDA accounts collectively frozen need to be released, North Korea must also be acknowledged as a “nuclear possessing state”, the right to peacefully use nukes must be secured while the overall aim is to destroy the Korea-U.S. alliance. As the goals of the talks are completely different it is no wonder the forecasts are not optimistic.

A foreign report presented a most direct and candid North Korea on its nukes, where Kang Seok Joo Minister of North Korea’s Foreign Affairs Bureau said “If we were going to relinquish our nukes, why would we have even created them?” Though there are many claims and assertions made on the North’s nuclear issue, it is difficult to find a statement more “honest” such as this. In the long run, a great amount of monetary and people sacrifices have been made over a period of 40 years while continuously deceiving the international society and finally conducting a nuclear experiment. For what reasons would the nukes be surrendered? Common sense says there is no answer.

If so, for what reasons did North Korea rejoin the six party talks this time round. The answer to this question has already been revealed. North Korea’s Foreign Affairs announced on November 11th on their Chosun Central Newsagency “We will attend the talks in order to resolve and discuss the issue of financial sanctions.” Kim Gye Kwan, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs who arrived in Beijing on the 16th reconfirmed this position. He said “A condition of settlement is for the U.S. sanctions to be removed.” On the other hand, the U.S. is placing great weight for preliminary measures by North Korea to eradicate its nukes.

Until now, the second phase of the 5th round of six party talks has proclaimed removal of financial sanctions (North Korea) and actions for 9.19 mutual declarations (U.S.) but has ultimately strengthened its approach on the talks with the reinforcement of the nuclear experiment and “Then, let’s talk in person” attitude.

If anything has changed to the six party talks in difference to the past, is the fact that a conference has been added on the issue of BDA. According to foreign reports, North Korea has sent a financial envoy to Beijing to manage the BDA conference.

The U.S. and associated countries argue that the conference will be clearly differentiated from the six party talks. However, as North Korea “is attending the six party talks in order to discuss and resolve the issue of financial sanctions,” there is a high chance that discussions and resolutions related to BDA will be made.

As long as the Kim Jong Il regime considers itself a “nuclear possessing state,” it is possible that time will be calculated and the six party talks dragged until the issue of BDA is resolved. The fact that a financial envoy has been sent to China just goes to show how much attention North Korea has placed on the BDA issue.

Possibility of North Korea’s financial violations revealed at BDA conference

Also, North Korea is most likely to be contemplating yet another subsidiary item. It is inevitable that the “BDA conference” which will take place alongside the six party talks, will eventually be interrelated. In this case, North Korea will most probably add an additional “agenda” and weaken the characteristics of the talks while gaining time and publicizing that it is “U.S. responsibility” that the six party talks have not yet gained ground. This is undoubtedly not diverging from North Korea’s original negotiation strategies. Amidst these times, North Korea will most probably proclaim that everything related to the nuclear issue will be easily resolved once the U.S. releases its financial sanctions. At the end of the day, North Korea will have accomplished many of its goals of the talks, one of which is to place a seed to create anti-U.S. press reports within South Korea.

However, in essence the BDA issue is a “legal matter” related to illegal funds and money-laundering. Hence, it is possible that North Korea’s illegal acts may continuously be unveiled as the BDA conference is held. Since last year, the U.S. has already conducted investigations on BDA accounts and has been analyzing the accounts for more than a year now. The fact that the U.S. even called for a BDA conference suggests “confidence.”

On another note, the Kim Jong Il regime’s knowledge of lawfulness and illegality is rather feeble. At the 2002 North Korea-Japan Summit, Kim Jong Il independently acknowledged the issue of Japanese abductees inciting the whole of Japan. It is possible that at the time, Kim Jong Il mistakenly thought that the death of a few Japanese abductees was not anything big. As the Kim Jong Il regime deteriorates to be a system of “violent authority” it is possible that illegal acts become insensitive.

In the end, it is likely that North Korea’s acts of defiance will be revealed in the international press as the BDA conference is held, which will only increase greater awareness of the Kim Jong Il regime. It is difficult to conclude whether the “BDA conference” will or will not be profitable for North Korea.

Furthermore, rather than the issue of North Korea’s nukes observing a favorable outcome at the six party talks, it seems that the fundamental observations will be directed towards a “verbal fight” and revealing the different acts of defiance by North Korea. Instead of the six party talks being a meeting to resolve North Korea’s nukes, a “political conference” is already being exemplified.