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The motivation for Kim Jong Il's continuing brinksmanship is beginning to come into clearer focus, according to sources close to Kim. The sources said that the North Korean dictator has finally taken to heart the plight of his starving people. As Saddam Hussein did, Kim Jong Il seeks to implement an international trade agreement, supervised by the United Nations, which will allow him to exchange the source of his country's wealth for food.
Where Saddam Hussein was able to trade oil for food, Kim is banking on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to shepherd his Nukes For Food proposal through the security council, and for the Secretary General to personally oversee the program, signing off on every exchange as he does currently with the Iraqis. Annan has magnanimously agreed to do what he can to "make this thing happen."
Kofi Annan had, until recently, been strenuously working to lift a U.S. boycott implemented by the Bush administration against North Korea. Annan characterized the suspension by the U.S. of food and oil shipments to North Korea as thwarting the humanitarian work begun by ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. The boycott is the latest reason given by Kim for his country's not being able to feed its people.
Within the past week or so, however, since North Korea formally announced that it has nuclear weapons and is not afraid to use or test them, Kofi Annan is said to have changed his tune and now to favor continued boycotts, "with this exception, that the North Koreans will be able to trade nuclear weapons for food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies, in much the same way Iraq should continue to be able to do until the UN can confirm that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, in which event the sanctions could be lifted."
The cases are similar, but there is one key difference, Annan went on. "Since North Korea has already admitted it has weapons of mass destruction, there is no longer a need to lift any sanctions that may now be in place. The humanitarian thing to do is to let the sanctions remain while North Koreans exchange their country's riches for humanitarian supplies, just as Iraq has done and should continue to do."
French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, from whose bedroom the Secretary General issued his statement, agreed, saying that, under the circumstances, France would suspend its reservations in the name of "doing the right thing" for the North Korean people. He further stated that "France stands ready to go to the wall for the people of North Korea in the same way it went to the wall for the Iraqis." Chirac dismissed as groundless allegations that his nation was simply looking for another trading partner willing to let France throw in Peugeots and inferior electronics products as long as French wines and foie gras were included in the Nukes For Food program.