North Korea is the last Stalinist state on earth, and the latest country to join the nuclear club. Secretive, isolated, heavily militarized and desperately poor, it took steps in the 1990s toward thawing relations with South Korea, but has spent much of the last few years in a still unresolved set of negotiations with its neighbors and the United States over its nuclear program.
North Korea has taken a consistent anti-Washington line since its creation in 1948, denouncing both the United States and South Korea as a puppet of the west. Since the end of the Korean War in 1953 the North has not attacked its neighbor, but to this day keeps large concentrations of troops and artillery focused on Seoul, and has regularly engaged in provocations like kidnappings, submarine incursions and missile tests over the Sea of Japan.
The country’s founder, the so-called Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, was succeeded at his death in 1994 by his son, the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il, an eccentric playboy invariably seen (in his few public appearances) in platform shoes and a khaki jumpsuit. In 1994, North Korea reached an agreement with the United States to shelve its nuclear program. In 2002, President Bush included Pyongyang in the “axis of evil,” and American officials charged later that year that North Korea had violated the earlier agreement.
Pyongyang declared the agreement void and expelled international nuclear inspectors. China joined with the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia for what became known as the six-party talks.
In 2005, an agreement was reached and then scuttled by North Korea, angered by an American-led crackdown on banks doing business with it.On Oct. 9, 2006, North Korea set off a nuclear device – a small one, which apparently did not detonate completely, according to experts on seismic recordings. Governments around the world condemned the blast, including China, which has been Pyongyang’s chief protector for decades.
In a policy shift, American officials agreed to meet with North Korea for one-on-one talks concerning the financial crackdown.In February 2007, an agreement was reached under which North Korea would shut down its plant at Yongbyon, at which it had manufactured nuclear bomb fuel, in return for shipments of fuel oil.
Early deadlines for action under the agreement came and went, with North Korea charging that funds from frozen bank accounts had not been returned. But after the funds made their way back to Pyongyang after a complicated series of transactions, the government announced in June 2007 that it was allowing international inspectors to return. – Ford Burkhart, May 31, 2007… thanks a trillion
Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.
CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle
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