October 23, 2004

Powell refuses to pay tribute to nK

Secretary Powell bluntly rejected nK's demand for tribute by the US, which it insists must be paid before multilateral talks recommence. The AP reports:

In a statement apparently timed for Powell's visit, a spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman indicated the North would agree to a new round of nuclear discussions only if the United States dropped its "hostile policy" and consented to a "reward" for a nuclear freeze the North is proposing.

Secretary Powells response to the typical nK blackmail was firm and entirely lacking in nuance.

Powell said any proposals from North Korea should be discussed as part of the negotiating process established more than a year ago that involves both Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

"This is a six-party discussion, not a U.S.-North Korea discussion or an exchange of U.S. and North Korean talking points," Powell told reporters during his flight to Tokyo, the first stop on a three-nation trip to East Asia.

According to the Boston Globe, nK actually set three conditions which must be met by the US before it would generously agree to another round of talks:

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the official KCNA news agency that the United States must drop its hostile policy and be prepared to join a compensation package in return for the North freezing its nuclear programs.

The North also said the United States must accept its proposal to discuss what it called "South Korea's nuclear problem" first at the talks, referring to tests with nuclear materials conducted in the South by scientists in the past that Seoul said were never authorized.

Since summits and international appeasement have been critical elements of Kerrys campaign, one cannot expect him to hold the line against nK demands for tribute. Hes even promised to go back to the bilateral talks that worked so well for Clinton. Expect a dangerous reversal of current policy should he actually be elected come November.

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