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Talking With North Korea Is in U.S. Interest

January 03, 2003

Penny Hayes' proposal that we conquer North Korea and then "give what is left to China" is bone-chilling (letter, Jan. 1). Sadly, however, this arrogant attitude seems to be widespread since 9/11 -- an attitude President Bush exploits in his power plays around the world.

If Bush truly means it when he speaks of trying to resolve the North Korean problem through diplomacy ("Bush Defends Stand on N. Korea," Jan. 1), as South Korea wishes, then let no one dissuade him.

In the meantime, monitor and contain Iraq, thereby keeping our options open as to if, when and where to add another war to those in which we are already involved -- Afghanistan, the homeland and the continuing worldwide search for Al Qaeda.

Bette Balliet

Mission Viejo

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We have an official policy not to communicate with nations we perceive as "blackmailing" us. That would "reward" them ("Cornered N. Korea Will Stand Firm, Critics Say," Dec. 30). We don't talk with people we don't want to: emphasis on "with," because we certainly talk "to" and "at" any and all, including countries like Iraq and North Korea. We've decided not to talk with North Korea, despite the acute threat.

May I ask why we can't talk? Since when is communication synonymous with concession? Shouldn't there be some sort of rule in civilized society that when countries or people have problems they use words to try to deal with those problems? Why is noncommunication smart? Could it be there is a little, ahh ... gender issue here? Naw!

Donald Funk

Redondo Beach

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Considering how successful sanctions have been in bending Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein to the U.S. will, who could possibly object to the application of sanctions in North Korea?

Michael Horstein

Los Angeles

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Does anyone know what the North Koreans want? If so, it should be reported. If we don't know what they want, how can we know whether it can be negotiated? Would it behoove North Korea to occupy or encircle Seoul, plant a couple of nukes to deter counterattack and negotiate from a position of strength?

That, after all, is the type of scenario promoted by hawks on Iraq, which has neither nukes nor the means to produce them and does not have the army to invade a major foreign capital.

George Tucker

Redondo Beach

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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that the U.S. military could win a war on the Korean peninsula even while battling Iraq. Wow! I served in the Marine Corps 1946-76. We couldn't win the first Korean War while not battling any other country -- and we couldn't win the Vietnam War either.

What does Rumsfeld plan to do, nuke the whole world? If he can do all that he says, what will he tell all the dead military in both wars that we lost?

Louis De Lucrezia

Valley Village

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