Friday, September 7, 2007

Oh, Fight!

Update 1 (Sept. 9 @ 2:07pm)DPRK studies has a good analysis and comparison of the English versions of the exchage: What Roh Actually Said to Bush in Sydney

Ohhhhhhhhhhh! Fight!

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Since I don't like either one of these heads of state, this headline caught my eye. I honestly can't tell what's going on here. If you've got some insight, bring it.

It could be that they hate each other as much as I think they do.

It could be that Roh was trying to clown and trump Bush which isn't difficult to do.

It could be something else or, of course, a combination of many things.

Whatever it is, it's pretty clear that Roh was pushing him for a reason. Maybe it was to appear tough to his electorate here.

Here are sections of the article that caught my eye.

Bush spars with Roh on Korean war

In a testy public exchange Friday with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, U.S. President George W. Bush said the United States would formally end the Korean War only when North Korea halts its nuclear weapons program.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of a 21-nation Pacific Rim summit here, spending much of their roughly one-hour session discussing the international standoff over the communist North's pursuit of atomic arms.

They agreed there had been progress. But then they had a before-the-cameras back-and-forth that was remarkable in the diplomatic world of understatement and subtlety.

Roh pushed Bush to be "clearer" about his position on an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War. The two Koreas were divided by the conflict, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, meaning they still remain technically at war.

The leaders' tone remained light, but Bush responded firmly: "I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President. We look forward to the day when we can end the Korean War. That will happen when Kim Jong Il verifiably gets rid of his weapons programs and his weapons."

...

The tense moments with Roh came as the leaders each made statements to reporters after their meeting. Roh concluded his by questioning why Bush hadn't mention the issue of the war's end.

"I might be wrong. I think I did not hear President Bush mention a declaration to end the Korean War just now," Roh said through an interpreter. "Did you say so, President Bush?"

"It's up to Kim Jong Il," Bush said.

Roh pressed on. "If you could be a little bit clearer," he said, prompting nervous laughter from the U.S. delegation and a look of annoyance from Bush.

They're both pretty much lame duck presidents with very low approval numbers, so I don't really care when it comes to their political futures.

I'd say to Roh that essentially after reneging on the agreement the Clinton administration made with the DPRK in 1995 and stirring things up for about six years that the policy is essentially the same as it was when Clinton was in office.

Now I'm no Pollyanna on this. Yes, the DPRK was cheating and, if you look at the 1995 agreement, there were no clear markers of who was supposed to do what and when. That's a huge error when it comes to an agreement with parties that don't trust each other. However, you can renegotiate. Yanking aid and name calling probably wasn't the best approach to resolve the problem.

It's just now with almost the same agreement the world is a lot more dangerous and the US is much less respected.

Way to go!

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