Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"We can learn as much from the test as the North Koreans can."

The Daily News Analysis (India) carries an interview with Gordon C. Chang, author of Nuclear Showdown : North Korea Takes On the World. It is Mr. Chang's opinion that the world ought to tolerate a North Korean missile test:

One thing that a test will do is to force us to deal with some important critical issues. The other thing is that we're going to find out a lot more from a test about the ability of the programme. We always speculate about whether they can do this or do that. We can learn as much from the test as the North Koreans can.

This of course assumes that a launch would merely be a test, which is probably but not necessarily true.

Some more excerpts:
In your estimation, does N Korea have the capability to deliver on its threat to the US or is it just bluster?

I think North Korea has nuclear weapons. I think they have the capability to put a missile on the continental United States. I don't think they have mastered the technique of shrinking their weapons and putting them on missiles. But that's just a matter of time. In 5-7 years, they'll be able to do that.

In your view, what is the significance of the timing of this test?

...I think that a large part of the reason they're testing now is for their internal domestic political reasons. Reasons of regime politics.

Where does China figure in all this? Is it losing control over North Korea?

It's very possible that China and North Korea are in on this together. And essentially what they're doing is this: Kim Jong-il will create a crisis, and China will 'step in and solve it'.

You think it's a bit of a charade?

You can't discount the possibility that it is a very big charade. Over the long term, China is trying to use North Korea to keep Japan and the US off balance. But for the China too, it's a losing game. Because over the long term, China is losing control over North Korea.

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