Thursday, June 30, 2005

Stop fantasizing about North Korea collapse

John Feffer, author of ''North Korea, South Korea," and
a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, writes: "It's
time for the United States to stop fantasizing about an
imminent North Korean collapse. Let's support instead
the Korean reunification happening right before our

Something extraordinary is happening in Korea, and
Washington appears to be paying no attention. The two
Koreas have plunged headlong in to unknown
territory: reunification. For 50 years, aside from the
occasional defector, it was impossible to cross the
demilitarized zone dividing the Korean Peninsula.

Today a bus leaves the capital of South Korea every day
to bring workers to an industrial complex just north of
the DMZ. There, at the Kaesong complex, North and South
Koreans labor together at new factories that produce
kitchenware and clothing. South Korea has stretched
electricity lines across the DMZ to power the facilities
and laid an optical cable for direct phone calls. Raw
materials and finished products are passing back and
forth along what was once considered a major invasion

True, the heavily militarized DMZ that separates the two
Koreas is still there. North Korea hasn't given up its
nuclear weapons. The Bush administration still
considers North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, a
disreputable negotiating partner and Pyongyang an
''outpost of tyranny." North Korea recently labeled Vice
President Dick Cheney a ''bloodthirsty beast."

But despite this inauspicious atmosphere, the two Koreas
have departed significantly from business as usual with
their slow-motion reunification. As South Korea's
president, Roh Moo Hyun, meets this week with President
Bush, the fate of the Korean Peninsula hangs
precariously between war and peace. The two leaders see
peninsular politics very differently.

Bush has refused to negotiate seriously with North Korea
in the hopes that it will collapse just as East Germany
or the Soviet Union did. Roh's government is making the
case for a peace agreement that pairs economic
incentives with nuclear disarmament. South Korea has
beefed up engagement efforts while the United States
continues its drift toward confrontation.

Read the essay by John Feffer by a click on the title

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Iter : 35 years in Provence !

France Cadarache was awarded the 10 bn Euro ($12bn)
nuclear fusion reactor plant. Iter project will produce
the first sustained fusion reactions Final stage before
full prototype of commercial reactor is built.

In details :

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
(Iter) will be the most expensive joint scientific
project after the International Space Station. The Iter
programme was held up for over 18 months as parties
tried to broker a deal between the two rivals.

Nuclear fusion taps energy from reactions like those
that heat the Sun. Nuclear fusion is seen as a cleaner
approach to power production than nuclear fission and
fossil fuels.

Officials from a six-party consortium signed the deal in
Moscow on Tuesday, for the reactor's location in the
Cadarache site in southern France. The European Union,
the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and China
are partners in the project. Japan earlier withdrew its
bid, after a deal was worked out for the "runner-up" to
receive a generous concessions package.

According to the package, Japan will get 20% of the
project's 200 research posts while providing only 10% of
the expenses, and host a related materials research
facility - of which half the construction costs will be
shouldered by the EU. "It is a big success for France,
for Europe and for all the partners of Iter," said a
statement issued by the office of French President
Jacques Chirac.

In terms of the physics and huge amounts of energy
involved, the Iter project would be akin to building a
star on Earth. It would be the first fusion device to
produce thermal energy at the level of conventional
electricity-producing power stations, and would pave the
way for the first prototype commercial power station. In
a fusion reaction, energy is produced when light atoms -
the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium - are fused
together to form heavier atoms. To use controlled
fusion reactions on Earth as an energy source, it is
necessary to heat a gas to temperatures exceeding 100
million Celsius - many times hotter than the centre of
the Sun. The technical requirements to do this, which
scientists have spent decades developing, are immense.
But the rewards, if Iter can be made to work
successfully, are extremely attractive. One kilogram of
fusion fuel would produce the same amount of energy as
10,000,000 kg of fossil fuel.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

China on the Move

The product of a conference jointly sponsored by the
Rand Corporation and Centre Asie Ifri, this volume
represents a transatlantic view of Chinese national
strategy and capabilities and offers a common path for
engaging rising Chinese power. Its aim is to examine
the issues through a U.S.-French prism and to facilitate
analysis of how to develop U.S.-European cooperation on
China policy.

Quote :

"Beyond these somewhat jaded and cursory views of
Chinese diplomacy lies the undeniable reality that in
the last ten years Chinese foreign policy has become far
more sophisticated, confident, and in some instances
proactive. These changes have been slow and subtle, but
from the vantage point of 2003, they collectively
represent a substantial transition from the early 1990s.
Chinese leaders have begun to cast off the shadow of a
reactive nation reluctant to fully engage the
international community in multiple forums and on a wide
range of topics.

Chinese strategists have gradually recognized the value
to Chinese interests of active participation in regional
and multilateral forums and addressing the full
complement of transnational issues. Chinese
policymakers have also moved away from viewing much of
their foreign policy through the prism of the Taiwan

Not only has China?s participation in international
debates and institutions increased but the quality of
its participation has improved as well. To a limited
extent, the Chinese are beginning to play a role in
shaping the evolution of the rules and functions of
regional multilateral organizations.

In many ways, this shift in Chinese thinking and
policies represents one of the most profound transitions
in China?s foreign policy since the founding of the PRC
in 1949. These developments raise serious implications
for the future of U.S.-China relations as well as the
full complement of transnational security, economic, and
social challenges confronting the international
community." (Rand © 2005)

Click title to access the document.