送交者: JZ 于 2005-3-19, 14:48:19:
Visiting U.S. Command Center, Rice Presses North Korea
By JOEL BRINKLEY
Published: March 20, 2005
COMMAND POST TANGO, South Korea, Sunday, March 20 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped off her airplane in Seoul on Saturday evening, boarded an Army Black Hawk helicopter and immediately flew to this underground command bunker from which military commanders would direct any war against North Korea.
"I wanted to come here to thank you for what you do on the front lines of freedom," she told more than 100 service members in the war room, carved deep inside a mountain south of Seoul. "I know you face a close-in threat every day."
The visit, a pointed reminder of American military capacity on the peninsula, came just hours after a speech in Tokyo in which Ms. Rice repeated that the United States has no intention of attacking North Korea. But Ms. Rice's aides are also making it plain that the administration has run out of patience with North Korea's continued refusal to rejoin nuclear disarmament talks.
A senior official traveling with Ms. Rice said she was trying to send a clear message that it was time to bring talks over the North's nuclear weapons program "to a satisfactory conclusion."
Ms. Rice's action was a departure from diplomatic protocol on several levels. It is highly unusual for a secretary of state's first destination in a country to be a military site instead of a diplomatic event, especially an American installation instead of a South Korean one.
Past presidents and secretaries of state and defense have traveled to frontline defenses against North Korea, but not to any underground bunker. And they have usually been careful not to come across as bellicose, accompanying their moves with conciliatory language, in part not to alarm South Koreans.
In contrast, almost everything about Ms. Rice's tour was abruptly direct. As she spoke in the bunker, its huge monitor screens and banks of computers were acting as the nerve center for annual war games being conducted by 20,000 American and South Korean troops practicing for an invasion.
While her first move on Korean soil was aimed directly at North Korea, the major push of her visit is to persuade China to "squeeze the North," as one aide said. China is North Korea's only ally, and Ms. Rice arrives there on Sunday. The United States and other parties to the disarmament talks say they are concerned that China is holding back, declining to pressure North Korea as effectively as it could.
"I hope China can play an even more important role," Nobutaka Machimura, the Japanese foreign minister, said during a joint appearance with Ms. Rice in Tokyo earlier Saturday.
On Friday, Ms. Rice said, "Well, I assume that because China says it wants a non-nuclear Korean peninsula" that "they are trying to be effective in their diplomacy." But she added that she would urge the Chinese to do more "when I get to Beijing."
In her Tokyo speech, which aides described as a major policy address, Ms. Rice pushed China to change its form of government, saying, "Even China must eventually embrace some form of open, genuinely representative government."