Libyans should have kept nukes, says PyongyangThe United States dismissed yesterday North Korea’s crowing claim Tuesday that Libya’s abandonment of nuclear weapons in 2003 led to the bombing of the country by the United States and its allies.
“Where they’re at today has absolutely no connection with them renouncing their nuclear program or nuclear weapons,” said Mark Toner, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, yesterday. “And in fact, it’s - frankly, it’s a good thing that they did, because if they had such weapons of mass destruction and they turn weapons so easily against their own people, then God help us.”
The State Department spokesman said U.S. involvement in Libya was brought about by leader Muammar el-Qaddafi and had nothing to do with his decision to abandon his nuclear program in 2003 after the U.S. and allies invaded Iraq. The decision was made to get economic assistance and better ties with the U.S. and its allies.
“Qaddafi made a decision when he turned weapons against his own people and conducted an armed military campaign, and vowed to show no mercy on the several hundred thousand residents of Benghazi,” the spokesman said. “The international community came together to take action to stop that humanitarian disaster. For me to say that that’s some kind of retribution for giving up nuclear weapons is - I don’t see how the argument holds.”
When asked if the U.S. would guarantee against a similar military action if Pyongyang were to abandon its nuclear program, Toner answered, “I’m not going to go there.”
Toner’s comments came after a spokesman of North Korea’s foreign ministry was reported by the North’s official news agency to have called for a stop to the bombings in Libya, calling the airstrikes “a violent infringement of the autonomy of a sovereign country.”
“The situation in Libya is a lesson for the international community,” said the spokesman, who was not named in the article. “It has been shown to the corners of the earth that Libya’s giving up its nuclear arms, which the U.S. liked to chatter on about, was used as an invasion tactic to disarm the country by sugarcoating it with words like ‘the guaranteeing of security’ and ‘the bettering of relations.’”
The spokesman went on to state that “having one’s own strength,” referring to North Korea’s own nuclear program, “was the only way to keep the peace.”
“The way of the songun [military-first ideology] that we have chosen is proper in a thousand ways, and our self-defense forces act as a precious restraint that blocks war,” the spokesman said.
By Christine Kim [email@example.com]
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북, 리비아 들먹이며 ‘핵 포기’ 거부
“리비아 핵 포기하게 하고 침략
우리 선군정치는 천만 번 정당”
북한 외무성 대변인은 22일 “리비아 핵 포기 방식이란 바로 ‘안전담보’와 ‘관계개선’이라는 사탕발림으로 상대를 얼려넘겨 무장해제를 성사시킨 다음 군사적으로 덮치는 침략방식이라는 것이 드러났다”며 미국·영국·프랑스 연합군의 리비아 공습을 비난했다.
외무성 대변인은 관영 조선중앙통신 기자와의 문답을 통해 “우리가 선택한 선군의 길은 천만 번 정당하고 그 길에서 마련된 자위적 국방력은 조선반도에서 전쟁을 막고 평화와 안정을 수호하는 더없이 소중한 억제력으로 되고 있다”고 주장했다.
남성욱 국가안보전략연구소장은 “북핵 6자회담에서 리비아식 핵 포기 모델을 수용하라는 미국과 국제사회의 압박을 거부한 김정일의 선택이 옳았다는 걸 내세우며 향후 핵 개발 프로그램을 계속 추진하겠다는 의미”라고 풀이했다. 리비아는 지난 2003년 고농축우라늄프로그램(HEUP)을 포함한 모든 핵을 포기하고 국제사회의 사찰을 수용했다.
외무성 대변인은 리비아 공습을 “주권국가의 자주권과 영토 완정에 대한 난폭한 침해로 그 나라 인민의 존엄과 생존권을 무참히 짓밟는 최대의 반인륜 범죄로 단죄한다”고 강조했다. 정부 당국자는 “연합군 공습의 직접적 원인을 숨긴 채 마치 핵 포기 때문에 리비아가 공습당했다는 논리를 북한이 주장하고 있다”고 말했다.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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