Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Northeast Asia Theatre: Tehran – Pyongyang – Beijing/Seoul – Tokyo – Moscow – Washington; North Korea Announcement of Nuclear Tests Overshadows Regional Relations – Heads of State to Meet Starting Sunday in Beijing – Tehran Wants Test
Night Watch: TOKYO – Pyongyang is once again the center of international crisis attention when they announced Tuesday that for “scientific purposes” they intend to conduct their first nuclear test sometime in the future. No specific date was mentioned. Behind the reason for the announcement was Tehran saying to Pyongyang last November, that if North Korea continues to export advanced weaponry to Iran, then Tehran will send them free oil and gas. An article mentioned right after North Korea’s missile tests in July there was an Iranian representative observing them. In the meantime Beijing has long supported North Korea’s research and development of nuclear weaponry and ballistic missiles because they know Iran’s foreign policy has the potential of weakening three of China’s rivals, the West – India – Russia.[SWISSINFO]
Washington responded, through Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill, “We are not going to live with a nuclear armed North Korea, we are not going to accept it.” Both the Foreign Ministries of Moscow and Seoul have called the planned tests “unacceptable” and the Foreign Ministers of both capitals, Sergei Lavrov and Ban Ki-Moon have discussed the crisis over the phone. Tokyo had the UN Security Council hold a session on this Wednesday but during the closed door meeting, in which Japan’s UN Ambassador presented the council with a draft statement, there was reportedly a heated argument between Russia UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin and US Ambassador John Bolton. There seems to be no real agreement as to how to respond when the tests are carried out. [XINHUA]
A North Korean spokesman, Pak Myong Guk, speaking in Australia’s capital Canberra stated, “Now the situation around the Korean Peninsula is very tense. It may break out in a war at any time, I think.” Conducting a tour of some of the region’s capitals will be Japan’s new Prime Minster Shinzo Abe who will meet China President Hu Jintao on Sunday and South Korea President Ro Moo Hyuan on Monday. Hu Jintao may no longer have much influence in Beijing’s decision making, if he ever did, because he seems to be locked in a power struggle with factions of Shanghai’s establishment that are still loyal to former President Jiang Zemin. [JAPANTIMES]
Russia Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, speaking from Russia’s Kant air base in Kyrgyzstan said, “I am counting on the North Korean leadership to demonstrate restraint, caution and responsibility on this issue. Nuclear tests could inflict ecological damage on Russia.” If war does break out Moscow will have understandable reasons to attack North Korea’s nuclear test facilities. The war will not last long. Early in 2003 a high level North Korean defector said, in an extensive interview in the Wall Street Journal, that North Korea’s military had not been maintained very well and that a lot of the troops were demoralized. He added that he still had contacts there. [RIA]
It may take a war to finally cut off the years of exports of advanced weaponry Pyongyang has been sending to Iran, with the complete unofficial support from Beijing. That would be a decisive blow to Tehran’s preparation for (f)allout war.