The North Koreans may like Bill Richardson, but it sure as heck seems like they used him as a diversion in 2003:
New Mexico (CNN) –Gov. Bill Richardson held what he called “positive, frank and candid” discussions Friday with two North Korean diplomats, even as North Korea’s decision to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty sharply escalated a crisis over the nation’s nuclear aims.
Then, they did it again in October of 2005:
Now again, I [Bill Richardson] do believe they’ve made that commitment to dismantle their nuclear weapons in exchange for basically wanting the six-party nations to guarantee their security, no attacks, substantial amounts of fuel and energy and other economic assistance.
Well, no one attacked the North Koreans, but they obviously are not dismantling their nuclear weapons program. Instead, the North Koreans are attempting to hold the world hostage. Their demands are simple. Give us “substantial amounts of fuel and energy and other economic assistance” or we move forward with our nuclear plans.
Congresswoman Heather Wilson hit the nail on the head (subscription):
Rep. Heather Wilson, speaking in Albuquerque on Monday, said the North Korean test is “a reminder that we live in a dangerous world of unstable dictators.”
North Korea has the world’s fifth largest army, and such abject poverty that they have nothing to lose in continuing to escalate this situation. This is a very scary situation that is getting scarier by the minute (subscription):
North Korea stoked regional tensions Wednesday, threatening more nuclear tests and saying additional sanctions imposed on it would be considered an act of war, as nervous neighbors raced to bolster defenses and punish Pyongyang.
We can’t give into the North Koreans extortion. Diplomatic talks with them should always be on the table, but should include those who have more leverage than us – namely the Chinese, Russians and Japanese. And let’s not forget that despite their “friendship” with Governor Richardson, they have told him one thing while doing another.
These are dangerous times, and I am glad that we have leaders that understand that the first role of government is to protect Americans through a strong military.