Crossfire War – MOSCOW WATCH – Northeast Asia Theatre: Moscow – Washington – Tokyo – Seoul – Beijing – Pyongyang/Tehran; North Korea Agrees to Shut Down Yongbyon Reactor in Exchange for Energy Aid – Setback for Iran
Night Watch: MOSCOW – Crossfirewar.com mentioned, when Pyongyang set off the nuclear explosion last October, as possible continued export of more nuclear technology to Iran, Moscow had begun to reassert its old influence in North Korea. North Korea had in effect become a province of China at the end of the Cold War in 1990 as Russia withdrew its economic support.
It was from Russia that North Korea first received the ballistic missile technology, later knows as the Scud missile and first exported to West Asia (Middle East), to Iraq/Iran during their eight year war from 1980-88. When Tehran revived its nuclear program 20 years ago, Pyongyang became one of the more important connections in the international nuclear network. Tehran organized it, which included Russian scientists that went south at the end of the Cold War. Fortunately, under President Vladmir Putin’s serious administration, Russia can easily afford to lead North Korea into the international community and away from dependence on China-Iran. [RIA]
Beijing, as quietly and unofficially as possible, always supported Tehran’s military preparations because they knew if Iran were successful, in its initial offensives, then some of Beijing’s rivals would become weaker then West-India-Russia. Therefore, Beijing never assisted anti-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and sent countless technicians to work in Iran’s weapons program. Therefore, Beijing only paid lip service to prevention of the distribution of advanced weaponry and their guidance systems. Their most important staging of that charade was the Six Nation negotiations Beijing hosted in the guise of convincing Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program.
In an attempt to convince Kim Jong – Il of Beijing-Tehran’s demand was the explosion that just missed the North Korean leader’s train as it re-entered North Korea at Ryongchon train station on April 21, 2004, killing 161 people, including 76 grade school pupils. On that trip, the North Korean leader had Beijing show him a stock exchange. It was Kim Jong-Il’s way of indicating that he wanted his country to be more like South Korea, an active economy open to the international investment community and no longer a vassal, dependent state of Beijing. The first article on crossfirewar.com, November 19, 2004, was on Beijing’s denial that it had 100,000 troops on North Korea’s border, reported by Reuters.
The New York Times mentioned several years ago, that Moscow had been openly investing in one of the North Korean ports near Vladivostok for years and knew a lot of North Korea’s officials that were “pragmatic”, definitely aware of how foreign investment could raise the standard of living of the entire, desperately poor population. Beijing’s control over Pyongyang is why the September 2005 agreement that North Korea would end its weapons exports and nuclear testing that was never adhered to. In addition, it was November that year that crossfirewar.com reported Tehran offered Pyongyang free oil and gas if North Korea continued to export whatever it could.
However, Russia, the West, Japan and South Korea had to get more serious when Pyongyang set off the nuclear bomb test last October. Earlier in the year, North Korea had tested nearly 10 ballistic missiles. The French for instance, intercepted a North Korean ship in the Indian Ocean and a special envoy arrived in Moscow right after China President Hu Jintao sent the nuclear test, indicating Beijing was now willing to seriously cooperate. Fortunately, with China going through another cycle of massive corruption, it has ended Beijing’s ability to subsidize anything more than their villas around Mandalay. Hu Jintao is an economic realist and is aware of this, which is probably why late last year Beijing was showing Mongolia’s head of state some of China’s provinces.
According to the details of this latest agreement, as reported by RIA, Pyongyang has agreed to shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in return for humanitarian assistance and energy, one million metric tons of oil after the completion of the shut down process of all of North Korea’s nuclear installations. Russia Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Losyukov stated, “We may state that the work (negotiations) ended with the results which we expected.” Moscow is to lead five working groups to implement the September 2005 agreement. Seoul is to organize the program of economic investments and energy aid to North Korea and Washington will no longer list Pyongyang as a sponsor of international terrorism. In other words as a supporter of Tehran’s foreign policy, bilateral groups, Tokyo-Pyongyang, will be scheduled to meet to resolve disputes between them.
Tehran has no chance of matching these offers, which would exceed the budget Iran has committed to its war effort. For the duration of the war, there should be no security threat in the Northeast Asia theatre. Moscow-Tokyo can now continue their strategic dialogue and concentrate on their joint effort regarding the military forces they will be committing against Tehran’s attempt to prevent Allied nations from having access to the Persian Gulf.