Able Danger Blog

Click here to order Triple Cross in paperback now

Friday, June 27, 2008

North Korea Demolishes Nuclear Cooling Tower

Make no mistake, Curt Weldon helped us get here:

From Larry King Live in 2006:

KING: So, what do they do Congressman Weldon? What do they do at the White House?

WELDON: You can have bilateral talks in the six party context which is what we've been advocating. I spent 15 hours over two visits with (INAUDIBLE) their lead negotiator and I'm firmly convinced that there is a way to diplomatically resolve this issue and there's a way to bring Russia in.

The day that I left Pyongyang on my last trip (INAUDIBLE) was going into Pyongyang. The Russians have an interest in running gas supply lines from the Russia far east at Socoline (ph) down to the North Korean rail corridor into South Korea. The South Koreans, and I've met with the Chong (ph) family of the Hyundai Corporation in South Korea and gas. They're willing to finance such pipelines.

There's a natural interest on the part of Russia both of (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) on the oil side to have those pipelines supply their land-locked energy which would give North Korea a non- nuclear source of energy and a source of income.

But you can't make those kinds of discussions occur in what appears to be a context of bowing down to the pressure they brought forward. That's why I thought the administration should continue to have kind of an unofficial or second tier dialog, not to give them the status of direct bilateral talks because as we saw with the '94 framework, as Colin Powell said on March the 26th of '03 before the House Appropriations Committee and our Congress, before the ink was even dry they were cheating with their enriched uranium program, which they finally admitted to in the middle of 2002. That enriched uranium program was specifically designed to build nuclear weapons. You need to be candid and transparent with them. I think the six party framework is the right one but I think there need to be secondary talks at the second tier, third tier level which is why I took two bipartisan delegations in, not to try to preempt the administration but to support the president's overall intentions and to try to find a way to convince the North Koreans that it was in their best interest.

And I can tell you, Larry, they are ready to do that and I still believe that today. I think what you're seeing now is the result of the pressure we've applied by the tightening up on (INAUDIBLE) Asia which has basically shut down much of their economy.

That was an action this administration took in recent months and it's had a devastating impact on their economic capability and I think you're seeing Kim Jong-il lash out because of that.