Defector to Bush officials: Strike N. Korea before it's too late

Saturday, July 12, 2003

WASHINGTON A North Korean defector now living in Japan came to Washington this week with an urgent message.

In a meeting with White House officials, he called for a pre-emptive strike on "selected targets" in North Korea before the Kim Jong-il regime succeeds in arming its missiles with miniaturized nuclear warheads.

"As we have witnessed in recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the only effective measure against terrorists is a pre-emptive strike," said Park Gap Dong. Park met early this week with officials of the President's National Security Council and spoke at a luncheon meeting of the American Foreign Policy Council on July 9.

Park meets frequently with senior military officials in Japan and South Korea and said the North Korean nuclear threat is credible. He said the North Korean missile test in the late 1990s had produced a "sea change" in Japan, prompting a series of measures to strengthen its defense posture which has been greatly limited by its post-World War II "peace constitution."

In 1998, North Korea fired the Taepo Dong-1 missile over Japan. The missile was later marketed to such Middle East clients as Iran and Libya.

The United States is however the only power that can end the Kim Il-Sung dynasty's nuclear blackmail tactics and the enslavement of the North Korean people, Park argued.

"Many North Koreans believe that the United States is their savior and the only nation that can liberate North Korea," he said. The flood of hate-America propaganda from North Korea represents only the relatively small number of people around Kim Jong-Il, he said.

"We cannot expect to bring down the regime of Kim Jong-il by internal means," Park said. "A pre-emptive U.S. strike against selected targets inside North Korea will succeed," he said.

"U.S. strikes against North Korean targets would force Kim Jong-il to seek asylum in China. Kim is a coward. If attacked, he will flee. The North Korean army would not fight after the regime collapsed," he said.

Park heads the National Salvation Front, a group of high-ranking North Korean exiles that includes five former generals of the North Korean army, the former vice minister of home affairs, the former vice minister of culture and the former superintendent of the North Korea Military Academy.

Park warned that North Korea would use its nuclear weapons against Japan, South Korea and even the United States if given the time to develop them.

A senior defense researcher with Japanese Defense Agency's National Institute for Defense Studies said North Korea has likely developed small nuclear warheads for its missile forces. Hideshi Takesada wrote in the Sankei Shimbun last week that "North Korea possesses small nuclear warheads."

North Korea will continue to develop and export nuclear weapons technology no matter what the U.S. does and despite whatever schedules of inspections are established, Park said.

"Kim Jong-il made the decision that the development of nuclear weapons would be the only guarantee of the safety and security for the North Korean regime. They will not give up these weapons but will instead hide them from inspectors," said Park.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that China and North Korea have cooperated to produce and deliver components for missile and WMD programs to a number of Middle East clients, reported in its current editions. The intelligence finding led to the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Chinese companies cooperating with North Korea in the fields of missile and WMD. After a lengthy debate within the National Security Council and State Department, the Bush administration approved the new sanctions to demonstrate a tougher policy toward Beijing, the officials said.

The five Chinese companies sanctioned were identified as Taian Foreign Trade General Corporation of China, the Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant of China, the Liyang Yunlong Chemical Equipment Group Company of China, China North Industries Corporation, known as Norinco, and the China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation.

The North Korean firm was identified as the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation. Changgwang, sanctioned in 2001, is said to have a significant presence in such Middle East states as Egypt, Libya, Iran and Syria.

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