[Marxism] North Korea, U.S. Appear Closer to a Nuclear Accord (WSJ)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 8 09:59:46 MST 2007

(It's good to see that some problems today might be amenable 
to solution through discussion, though it seems Washington has 
to go all the way across the planet to find someone to talk to. 
Of course, there are people only ninety miles away who are ready, 
willing and able to talk through any difficulties. Right now.)
GRANMA: August 18, 2006
Raul Castro: No Enemy Can Defeat Us
or http://tinyurl.com/2hg32w

February 8, 2007

North Korea, U.S. Appear Closer to a Nuclear Accord

February 8, 2007; Page A6

SEOUL, South Korea -- With talks set to begin again today on North
Korea's nuclear program, a deal appears more likely -- despite
repeated failures in the past -- because the North's top negotiator
has signaled it is willing to compromise and the U.S. has settled on
a more conciliatory approach.

U.S. officials said they are cautiously optimistic North Korea will
agree to take the first steps in abandoning its pursuit of nuclear
weapons, ending an 18-month negotiating stalemate and six years of
intensified acrimony between the two countries. The U.S. said it
expects North Korea to agree to turn off its Yongbyon nuclear
reactor, which it uses to produce the core material needed for atomic
weapons, and allow international inspectors to visit it and other
weapons-related facilities.

In return, the U.S., along with China, Japan, Russia and South Korea,
would begin to deliver on economic assistance that was broadly
offered in an agreement made in September 2005.

The result would be a start to stabilizing a major threat to regional
security. Officials caution that nothing is certain, however, and
that North Korea has walked away from previous deals.

In the U.S., the election of a Democratic Congress and the departures
of John Bolton, the ambassador to the United Nations, and Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- both of whom took a hard line against
North Korea -- have given moderates in the State Department more
leeway to compromise.

Meanwhile, impoverished North Korea grows more desperate. The U.N.
imposed more economic sanctions after North Korea tested a nuclear
device in October. Food rations last month in Pyongyang, the capital
and most prosperous city, amounted to three days of rice for ordinary
citizens and 15 days for the elite, according to aid agencies in
South Korea.

Upon arriving in Beijing for the talks yesterday, U.S. envoy
Christopher Hill said "real success" for the six-party process would
be ending the North Korean nuclear program under the terms of the
September 2005 agreement.

At the time, North Korea agreed to give up nuclear weapons in return
for economic assistance, normalized relations with Japan and the
U.S., and a start to a peace process that formally ends the Korean
War of the 1950s.

The North balked at the deal soon afterward, citing banking
restrictions imposed by the U.S. that are still unresolved. That set
up the negotiation stalemate. In October, North Korea further
challenged the pact by testing its first nuclear device.

The U.S. delegation is upbeat after Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's
envoy, positively responded in a meeting with Mr. Hill in Berlin last
month to some of the proposals the U.S. made at the last round of
talks in December.

Neither country has disclosed details, though Mr. Hill referred to
the meeting again yesterday. "We did have some good signs in Berlin,
but I think we also know that there is going to be some rather hard
bargaining, so we'll see how we do," he said.

If the North agrees to freeze production at its nuclear plant, U.S.
officials envision the six nations will meet as often as once a month
to work on details for full-scale denuclearization.

--Jason Dean in Beijing contributed to this article.

More information about the Marxism mailing list