Monday, September 19

File under When Pigs Fly: North Korea agrees to give up nuclear weapons program

Associated Press Report:
North Korea Demands Nuke Reactor From U.S.
Sep 19 11:14 PM US/Eastern
By JAE-SOON CHANG, Associated Press Writer
SEOUL, South Korea
North Korea said Tuesday it would not dismantle its nuclear weapons program until the United States first provides an atomic energy reactor, casting doubt on its commitment to a breakthrough agreement reached at international arms talks. The North insisted during arms talks that began last week in Beijing that it be given a light-water reactor, a type less easily diverted for weapons use, in exchange for abandoning nuclear weapons. [...]

Both the United States and Japan, members of the six-nation disarmament talks, rejected the North's latest demand. "This is not the agreement that they signed and we'll give them some time to reflect on the agreement they signed," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in New York [...]
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Where there's life there's hope but Pundita awaits details of the agreement and sight of flying pigs. Tehran and Pyongyang have a sweet deal: Tehran builds the missiles and buys the nuke material for the missiles from Kim Jong-il's crew.

Maybe if the other parties to the six-way talks and the EU can periodically cough up enough money to match Tehran's payments, the North Korean announcement to give up nukes might hold a grain of truth. In that event, the announcement should read "Successful Extortion Attempt" instead of "Agreement."
[...] Chinese chief negotiator Wu Dawei described the key point in the statement to reporters this way: "The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards."

North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2003 and declared itself a nuclear-weapons power. North Korea is widely believed to have at least two nuclear weapons.

In exchange for North Korea saying it will give up its nuclear programs and weapons, the other five parties in the talks have expressed willingness to provide oil and energy aid and security guarantees to Pyongyang.

Washington has declared it has no intention of attacking North Korea and will respect its sovereignty. It also affirmed it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

Washington -- which had previously dubbed North Korea part of an "axis of evil" -- has also declared it will work to "normalize" relations with Pyongyang over time. Japan has said it will do the same.

U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill said in Beijing today that North Korea had made the "right decision."

"It is a big decision for them (North Korea), a big undertaking, but it's absolutely the right decision for them," Hill said. "The security, the success, the prosperity of the DPRK does not depend on nuclear weapons. In fact, it depends on relations with others. So this is a moment which I think will be a very important moment in their history, to make this turn, and to turn away from these sorts of weapons and toward interactions with their neighbors and with other countries in the world."

Analysts say the agreement is a statement of principles whose details must still be worked out. But many today are expressing "cautious optimism" that the North Korean nuclear crisis will indeed be solved peacefully.[...]
Click here for rest of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report.

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