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Another Crisis In North Korea

Another Crisis In North KoreaA recent weapons shipment from North Korea is forcing the Bush administration to re-examine its policy towards the country, according to two Tufts experts. Washington D.C.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [12.18.02] Over the last six weeks, North Korea startled many experts by admitting it has been developing a nuclear weapons program. The country also made headlines with the recent discovery of its missile shipment to Yemen, as well as the country's plans to reactivate a nuclear power plant. In light of the rapid - and unexpected - developments, the Bush administration may be forced to take another look at its policy toward the state, say experts from Tufts.

› Christine Bosworth: Gourmet Diplomacy [ read ]

"The latest news [of arms shipments] is another step towards the unraveling of the Agreed Framework and the re-emergence of a nuclear crisis in the North Korea Peninsula we saw back in 1993 and 1994," Stephen Bosworth, Dean of Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and former ambassador to Korea, told London's Financial Times.

Bosworth - the former executive director of Kedo, a council which recently decided not to fund fuel shipments to North Korea due to the incident- said that the most recent breach of contract could influence the way the Bush administration chooses to handle the delicate North Korean situation.

"The latest news is very distressing. It is exactly what some of us feared could happen," Bosworth told the Times. "The U.S. has ratcheted up its policy. That is not to excuse North Korea, but the effort to confront North Korea does not seem to be terribly successful. Confrontation is something North Koreans tend to adjust to very quickly."

In protest of North Korea's recent actions, the Bush administration is now looking to cut off all aid to the nation, except food assistance to civilians. But despite enforcing a harsher aid policy toward the troubled nation, the Bush administration does not plan to take an aggressive stance, as it has with another "Axis of Evil" state, Iraq.

"Our intention [is] to try to resolve the Korea problems peacefully," said Richard Boucher, Tufts graduate and spokesman for the U.S. State Department, in a recent press briefing.

Boucher - who earned a Tufts undergraduate degree in English and French literature - stressed the need for diplomacy.

"We're working with the partners we have in the region, Japan and [South] Korea, and we're working with other governments like Russian and China who have influence and bearing in the situation to bring diplomatic pressure to North Korea," Boucher said.

The diplomatic landscape may change on Thursday when South Korea - a key player in the region - holds elections. The U.S. administration will have to wait and see whether the new leader of the nation will be in line with Bush's stricter new policies.

Regardless, the U.S. plans to use political force on the North to attempt to halt its nuclear program.

"As the President put it to Kim Dae Jung," said Boucher, "[North Korea's] aspirations of business as usual are not going to be met as long as it continues to violate its previous agreements,"

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