article appears in the Feb.
8, 2002 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
North-South Silk Road
by Kathy Wolfe
To Prevent New Korea Crisis
The "Iron Silk
Road" rail link between North and South Korea could be completed in
time for large numbers of Chinese and North Koreans to visit Seoul by rail
as soon as May, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung said in a speech in
Seoul on Jan. 17. "Only 14 kilometers of rail" in the
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas "remains to be
completed," Kim said, "for the Korean Peninsula to become a major
commercial area that links Eurasia with the Pacific, and offers new
advancement into the vast China market." Kim reported that North Korea
is preparing to reconstruct the northern end of the Seoul-Sinuiju line,
running north from Seoul to Pyongyang and Beijing. North Korea is repairing
barracks and moving in engineering troops, Kim said, to complete the line
before the World Cup soccer games begin in Seoul on May 31.
North Korea has also
announced in the Chinese press, its desire to complete the line, Beijing
sources told EIR. At North Korean-Chinese talks in Beijing recently,
agreement was reached on rail transport of up to 100,000 Chinese soccer fans
to Seoul via North Korea, the Korea Times said on Jan. 22. The North has
also offered the new inter-Korean railroad to Southern visitors to this
Summer's Arirang Festival in Pyongyang.
With peace breaking
out, President Kim in his New Year's press conference urged U.S. President
George Bush, who is scheduled to visit Seoul on Feb. 19-21, to soften his
North Korea policy. Bush, however, did the opposite in his Jan. 29 State of
the Union speech. Pressured by lunatics such as Undersecretary of State
Richard Armitage, by the U.S. economic crisis, and by the Enron scandal,
Bush put North Korea first on a list of "regimes developing nuclear
missiles and arming with weapons of mass destruction." Saying North
Korea is part of an "axis of evil," he concluded: "The United
States will not allow the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with
the world's most dangerous weapons."
The New Silk Road and
related economic development agreements, proposed by U.S. Democratic
Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche in 1992, have suddenly thus
become the only path to move the Korean Peninsula away from confrontation.
Korea requires a breakthrough more dramatic than after the last
confrontation over nuclear weapons policy in 1994, when LaRouche intervened
with the Clinton Administration, resulting in the Framework Accord based on
peaceful development of nuclear electricity. Rather than biting the hook
thrown by Armitage and his "clash of civilizations" crowd, for
example, North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-il could boldly move to visit Seoul
for the Second Inter-Korean Summit, demonstrating that there is a better way
Ten Miles of Iron
Korean press reports
since Jan. 17 have noted hopefully that since Chinese President Jiang Zemin,
Russian President Vladimir Putin, and other world leaders will be in Seoul
for the World Cup, North Korean Chairman Kim might also fulfill his promise
to travel to Seoul—by rail!—at that time, which would mean a heads of
state gathering of enormous international weight. On Jan. 22, South Korean
Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo confirmed that Seoul's invitation to world
leaders to attend the World Cup "includes major dignitaries from North
Korea." South Korea also agreed in mid-January to allow South Korean
tourists to go from Mount Kumgang on North Korea's east coast, overland to
the Northern capital of Pyongyang to attend the "Arirang"
North Korean senior
leader Yang Hyong-sop also made an appeal for new talks with Seoul, at a
meeting in Pyongyang on Jan. 22 which was widely reported by North Korean
media. "In order to warm inter-Korean relations it is imperative to
seek authorities-to-authorities dialogue and all forms of non-governmental
talks and contacts and work harder to boost them," Yang said.
The re-connection of
the Inter-Korean Railroad, which would be a breakthrough for the worldwide
Eurasian Land-Bridge project, has become a serious possibility only because
of major advances in relations between the Koreas, China, Russia, and the
entire Eurasian region. President Kim's renewed drive for the "last 14 km
of the Iron Silk Road," in his December tour of Europe (see EIR, Dec.
21, 2001) was hailed by Jacques Cheminade, candidate for the Presidency of
the Republic of France and associate of LaRouche, as the best way "to
restore just economic growth" for all people of Europe and Asia.
"Europe, with Russia," he said in a Jan. 12 statement,
"should make clear that we fully support South Korea's infrastructure
and industrial efforts, by organizing long-term, low-interest-rate credits
for those projects which will draw North Korea into the overall drive for
Eurasian development. As President Kim has repeatedly made clear, only 14 km
of rail need to be built to establish a rail link between the two Koreas and
Europe, which would enable the Trans-Korean [between North and South Korea]
Railway to reach the Russian Trans-Siberian, the Trans-Chinese, and the
Trans-Mongolian Railways" (see full statement below).
Italian, Russian, and
other European support is also coming in. The article "Ten Miles of
Iron Silk Road," by Moscow commentator Andrei Piontkovsky, picked up
Kim's theme. In the Jan. 25 Russia Journal, Piontkovsky said that
"Korea is lobbying a project at the highest level that could become a
catalyst" to "rebuild our [Russia's] economy." The
existential crisis facing Russia in the 21st Century isn't "whether
tiny Estonia will join NATO," he wrote, but "whether Russia will
remain a key Eurasian power and keep its territory in eastern Siberia and
the Far East," which is being depopulated by the global economic
crisis. The Iron Silk Road, he said, could reverse this, save Russia, and
"link the Pacific Ocean to Europe for the first time in history across
the Russian territories of Siberia and the Far East."
Russia has not only
been working with China to encourage North Korean openings, but has also
been promoting the connection of the west-to-east railway from Seoul to
North Korea's eastern port of Wonsan, with the Russian Trans-Siberian
Railway. The project has been basically agreed upon among the three nations
concerned, the Korea Times reported on Jan. 22, and now under negotiation is
the precise method of sharing the construction cost. "Such a tripartite
agreement would be a great boost to the improvement of the inter-Korean
relationship," it said.
But could this all be
done as quickly as May? "The line could be finished quickly by
combining a North Korean workforce with South Korean technology," an
official accompanying President Kim noted on Jan. 17. "If North Korea
is serious about the connection of the rail link, it is certainly physically
possible to finish it before May," an official Seoul source told EIR.
"Since there is only a short distance of about 14 km to reconnect,
it should be feasible to de-mine that area of the DMZ and clear it for the
rail line in time. South Korea is trying to prepare for the World Cup as a
world festival. In light of this, we would welcome any world leaders coming
to attend." This includes Chairman Kim Jong-il, who is being constantly
invited to Seoul.
"The South Korea
government has decided to forge the railroad connection with both the
Trans-China and Trans-Siberian Railroads," The state-owned Radio Korea
International reported on Jan. 18. "They want to make South Korea into
a logistical intersection for Northeast Asia. The decision was made under
the leadership of Finance Minister Jin Nyum," the Deputy Prime
Minister, who is working directly with President Kim and the Unification
Ministry on the Silk Road. This implied that Jin, the architect of Korea's
economic program, contemplates serious reorientation of South Korea toward
the Chinese and Eurasian market.
Flank Armitage and
President Bush, who
has been facing the threat of a military coup d'état inside the United
States since Sept. 11, has shown himself able to cooperate with new and
unusual allies since then, especially with Russian President Putin and
Chinese President Jiang. By himself, Bush might easily welcome a chance to
be part of a major global diplomatic breakthrough which the Seoul World Cup
could present, since the U.S. President would be heartily welcome at the
World Cup heads of state meeting.
Saner heads in the
U.S. administration, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell, have insisted
repeatedly, until days ago, that there is absolutely no evidence of any
North Korean involvement in terrorism against the United States. If he had
good advice, President Bush might well be delighted to be present when the
ribbon is cut to open the historic Iron Silk Road, an event comparable to
the hammering of the Golden Spike which connected the U.S. east and west
coasts in the 19th Century.
A group of clinical
maniacs, however, led by the State Department's Armitage, former National
Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, and other proponents of the
"clash of civilizations," began beating the war drums against
North Korea at the beginning of January—just as peace "began breaking
out" in Korea. Their timing indicates that they are more worried about
the growing economic cooperation in Korea and its implications for the
economic development of Eurasia, and Korea as a new economic superpower,
than about any military threat from Pyongyang.
"We don't want a
reunified Korea; we don't need a second Japan over there!" a top U.S.
official of the Armitage stripe, stationed in Seoul during the first Bush
Administration, told EIR on March 13, 1995. "Nobody wants that!"
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher "was right to try to
keep Germany divided," he said, fearing the economic competition a
unified Germany might pose for Britain. "Not as a military potential do
we want unification, and not even Korea as a strong economy," he said.
"We need to keep North Korea just as it is. We need a new enemy to
replace the U.S.S.R." (see EIR, April 7, 1995, p. 35).
kooks must now be strategically flanked, by bold moves from the Korean side
to draw President Bush personally into the peace process. They are able to
pressure the President because of the extreme economic crisis inside the
United States. It is well known that Armitage insisted in March 2001 that
the Bush Administration rip up the Clinton North Korean accords, and
demanded a new "comprehensive approach" in which the United States
won't talk to Pyongyang until they agree to unilaterally disarm. The
geopoliticians knew this was a slap in the face, and did it precisely to
keep the "enemy image." Seoul's Kim Dae-jung government made
numerous statements to the press in early January that President Kim had
planned to appeal personally to President Bush at their Feb. 17 summit, to
give up the Armitage approach, let Pyongyang "save face," and move
entourage has been building their "case" against North Korea all
* On Jan. 11,
the CIA, under pressure from Armitage's office, issued a report to the
Senate Intelligence Committee, stating that North Korea has finished
preparations for tests of the Taepodong-2 missile, which, it said, could put
all of North America within its range.
* On Jan. 14,
Armitage himself loudly praised Japan's sinking of a foreign ship in its
waters, as a victory over a "North Korean drug-running ship."
* On Jan. 20,
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), in a
Seoul press conference, warned that "North Korea is a threat to South
Korea and other countries in Asia at the same time.... There is high
potential for a nuclear threat from North Korea. North Korea is able to
launch germ war and nuclear warheads in many corners of the earth. Even
after the Sept. 11 attacks on America, intelligence agencies have been
investigating about North Korea and I've had a report on the North every
* On Jan. 24,
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton, a member of the
Armitage coterie, accused North Korea of violating the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. "The fact that governments which sponsor
terrorist groups are also pursuing chemical, biological, nuclear, and
missile programs is alarming and cannot be ignored," Bolton told the
Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. "Countries such as North Korea and
Iraq must cease their violations of NPT and allow the International Atomic
Energy Agency to do its work."
"Is the U.S.
Distancing Itself From Kim Dae-jung's Administration?" asked a Korea
Times Jan. 28 editorial, pointing out that Seoul opposition Grand National
Party leader Lee Hoi-chang met Armitage, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney,
Secretary of State Powell, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.)
and other senior officials—which is quite unusual—during a long tour of
Washington on Jan. 22-25. He also met former U.S. Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger and Brzezinski, a key architect of the "clash of
Lee, in a Jan. 25
Washington press conference, explicitly opposed any visit by North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il to Seoul, and sharply attacked President Kim's
"Sunshine Policy." "They met Lee because he is the favorite
for the December election," one Seoul official said. The official noted
that the U.S. Embassy in Seoul has mounted a campaign to oust President Kim
Dae-Jung's party from power in the Presidential election this Fall. None of
this is in America's national interest, and it can be defused, but this will
require leadership with vision.