Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S./Iraq/North Korea Standoff;
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UNCLAS HARARE 000013
INFO AF/PDPA DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS; AF/S RAYNOR
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S./IRAQ/NORTH KOREA STANDOFF;
1. With headline "Under the specter of a third world
war," the pro-government weekly "The Sunday Mirror"
dedicated its January 5 editorial to encouraging the
United States, at a time when a military showdown
against Iraq seems inevitable, to resolve the
nuclear standoff with North Korea peacefully.
2. "In a statement he made last week, United
States. . .President, George W. Bush, said he hoped
the crisis over Iraqi arms could be overcome
peacefully, to which the Iraqis retorted by saying
that `the dog's tail will never be straight,' and
that it was hard to believe the American leader had
`suddenly become rational.' Indeed, Bush's
statement was hard to believe, especially so when
the U. S. has already assembled forces for possible
military action in the Gulf region. Besides,
Washington has already invoked the phrase that could
trigger a war, accusing Iraq of being in `material
breach' of resolution 1441, the U. N. Security
Council resolution designed to force Iraq to give up
all weapons of mass destruction and threatening
`serious consequences' if it did not comply. . .As
the world waits anxiously for January 27, the date
on which the U. N. weapons inspectors are required
to report on their progress to the Security Council,
the threat of war hangs ominously in the air. For,
any report within the January 27 deadline that the
inspectors' work is being obstructed could lead to
an infliction of the `serious consequences' on Iraq,
as spelt out in resolution 1441.
3. Complicating this already war-charged atmosphere is
North Korea's New Year's Eve expulsion of U. N.
inspectors and its threats to withdraw from the non-
proliferation treaty, under which it promised not to
acquire nuclear weapons. Apparently, Korea secretly
developed a uranium-enrichment program at its
Yongbyon plant, even as U. N. inspectors were
monitoring the country. It boldly declared its
right to bear nuclear arms, arguing that after being
described by Mr. Bush as part of an `axis of evil,'
along with Iran and Iraq, it considered itself a
target of U. S. aggression. America's insistence
that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear program before
any talks could resume may have to soften in the
face of certain recalcitrance by the Koreans.
Otherwise, a rigid approach to resolving this
stalemate may likely lead to war."