Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

University of Chicago Professor Bruce Cumings On U.S. and North Korea Relations

April 24, 2003

Envoys from the US and North Korea have begun a second day of face to face talks in Beijing about North Korea’s nuclear program.

Negotiators on both sides have refused to comment on the progress of the talks. But North Korea’s official news agency said the US invasion of Iraq shows that other countries need a strong physical deterrent force to protect themselves.

A memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urging removal of the North Korean government and leaked earlier this week has exacerbated tensions.

The U.S delegation is being led by the Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.

The last time Kelly met with a North Korean delegation, he accused them of pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program, sparking the crisis in October. President Bush then suspended all aid shipments.

North Korea restarted its nuclear program, expelled UN inspectors and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Last week, North Korea announced that it is already reprocessing spent fuel rods- a necessary step to produce weapons grade plutonium.

All of this comes as the Pentagon has acknowledged for the first time that the Bush administration intends to produce — not just research — a thermonuclear bunker-busting bomb.

Federal officials signed documents in Washington this week to launch a preliminary design contest between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The San Jose Mercury News reports the so-called "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator" will be a full-power hydrogen bomb that would throw up enormous clouds of radioactive dust while wreaking large-scale damage and death if used in an urban area. The bomb will be thousands of times more powerful than the conventional bunker busters dropped on Baghdad.

  • Bruce Cumings, history professor at the University of Chicago. He has written several books including ??Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.