Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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U.S. calm, blogosphere worked up on North Korea

David Adesnik has an excellent round-up of blogospheric discussion of the proposed North Korea accord.

Meanwhile, Steven Weisman's latest report in the New York Times makes me feel just a smidgen better about the accord:

The Bush administration on Tuesday brushed off a demand from North Korea for a light-water nuclear reactor, saying that the accord announced Monday in Beijing left it clear that the North must abandon its nuclear weapons program before such a matter can be discussed.

"I think we will not get hung up on this statement," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, referring to a comment from North Korea that it would continue to insist on getting a reactor up front, as a price for agreeing to the Beijing deal. "We will stick to the text of the Beijing statement, and I believe we can make progress if everybody sticks to what was actually agreed to," Ms. Rice added at a news briefing with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. Mr. Lavrov said that "we shouldn't rely on oral statements" from North Korea or others.

In recent talks, North Korea had demanded, for its energy needs, a light-water reactor, of the sort promised in 1994 in return for an earlier agreement to freeze its nuclear programs. In 2002 the United States discovered that the North had reneged on that deal, and the Bush administration refused to supply such a reactor in any future arrangement.

The stalemate was resolved at the last minute over the weekend by China, which called on the United States to agree to discuss providing the North with a light-water reactor "at an appropriate time." Such a reactor is less efficient in producing weapons-grade fuel than a regular reactor.

Christopher R. Hill, the chief negotiator in the talks, said Tuesday that he was not surprised by North Korea's continued insistence on getting the reactor up front, but that the North understood that the American timetable for discussing the reactor was shared by the other countries in the talks.

"The North Koreans will make odd statements at their leisure, but they know precisely what the deal is," Mr. Hill said in an interview. "The deal with five other countries is that they have to get out of the nuclear business, and at an appropriate time to have discussions on a light-water reactor."

Lavrov and Hill's statements are reassuring -- they indicate that the other four members of the six-party talks agree with the American interpretation of the Beijing agreement.

And -- again -- this was the point of the six-party talks; they insured that all the major players in the region were on the same page.

posted by Dan on 09.21.05 at 10:16 AM


And around and round we go. I dont think this is the best way to address the situation. I dont think NK is serious, but in that case instead of taking a hard line and letting KJI point his finger at us, we should play along and put the ball back in their court. It takes a long time to build a nuclear reactor. It takes a few hours to turn one off. We should play ball with these snakes and back them into a corner where even the Chinese cant deny they are the recalcitrant party. Sticking to our guns may make us feel better but it doesnt advance our agenda.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.21.05 at 10:16 AM [permalink]

The Blogosphere lives to be all worked up about things. It reminds me of the pink goo in Ghostbusters II -- always upset over something. You are an oasis from this

posted by: don surber on 09.21.05 at 10:16 AM [permalink]

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