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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

North Korea diplomacy

New York Times:

President Bush has authorized a team of American negotiators to offer North Korea, in talks in Beijing on Thursday, a new but highly conditional set of incentives to give up its nuclear weapons programs the way Libya did late last year, according to senior administration officials.
So are we caving to North Korea? Giving them what they wanted? Not exactly.
But Mr. Kim would have only three months, what the officials call a "preparatory period of dismantlement,'' to seal and shut the North Korean nuclear facilities, similar to what Libya committed to late last year. After that, Mr. Bush's aides say, the continuation of the oil and the talks would depend on North Korea giving international inspectors access to suspected nuclear sites, and meeting a series of deadlines for disclosing the full nature of its facilities, disabling and dismantling then, and then shipping them out of the country, as Libya did.
This is a far more serious, and verifiable, demand than Clinton's 1994 agreement for South Korea to freeze its weapons development. This is saying give it all up, for good, and we'll work with you.
Mr. Bush has been under rising criticism - from South Korea, China, Russia and most recently his presumptive Democratic opponent, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts - for failing to make a serious offer to the North Koreans since coming into office.
A big part of diplomatic negotiations is proving who needs the deal more. North Korea tried to provoke a crisis, something that would demand immediate response and concessions. South Korea, China and Russia were also a part of these negotiations, basically trying to convince the U.S. that this was our problem not theirs. We have convinced them otherwise. As for John Kerry, with his expirience in politics he either should know this, or does know it but has been ignoring that fact for political gain.


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