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January 2, 2004
Visit North Korea -- See Our Lovely Bombs

North Korea has invited the US to inspect its nuclear facilities prior to the next round of nonproliferation negotiations:

North Korea has agreed to allow a U.S. delegation to visit its main nuclear complex next week, the first such inspection since the isolated communist country expelled United Nations monitors more than a year ago.

The visit appeared to be an effort by North Korea to prove that it has built a nuclear bomb - or capable of doing so - and strengthen its negotiating position ahead of planned talks with the United States and four other nations on ending the nuclear standoff.

Pyonyang could also be signaling its willingness to allow more extensive inspections in the future - if Washington meets its demands for humanitarian aid and a promise not to attack the North.

While the notion that Pyongyang can prove it has a bomb sounds unsettling, it would merely confirm what the US has been saying all along -- that previous treaties had no deterrent effect on North Korea, and the only way to rein them back in is to do so with a multilateral approach. While the Bush administration routinely gets criticized for its supposed unilateral, go-it-alone approach -- despite building large coalitions of nations for action in both Afghanistan and Iraq -- the left has also been attacking Bush for rejecting North Korea's insistence on bilateral negotiation, at least until recently, and now even North Korea has backed down:

In its New Year's Day message, North Korea reconfirmed that it wants to resolve the dispute peacefully, through six-nation talks with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

In negotiating parlance, what has happened with Libya and North Korea is known as moving the game. It underscores the need to negotiate from strength, not from a policy of retreat and appeasement. The North Koreans have been using the former strategy since the early 1990s, and now they have finally recognized that the US is not afraid to do the same -- and that they have no hope of winning when we play for keeps. "Come see our bombs" is their last play, after which they will negotiate for whatever economic concessions they can get from the six-nation talks, understanding that true verification will be required. It's either the end of their nuclear program or the end of their iron grip on power, and it may well be both.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 2, 2004 10:55 AM

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The North Koreans are at it again as the Zergs invited a delegation of U.S. experts to visit its main nuclear complex. According to the AP story, the Bush admin has nothing to do with this visit but would welcome... [Read More]

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