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September 18, 2005
North Korea Gives Up Its Nuclear Program

In a stunning foreign-policy victory for the Bush administration, North Korea has publicly agreed to forego its nuclear weapons program entirely without getting a nuclear reactor from the West in return. The six-nation talks just released its first-ever joint statement announcing the agreement:

North Korea pledged to drop its nuclear weapons development and rejoin international arms treaties in a unanimous agreement Monday at six-party arms talks. The agreement was the first-ever joint statement after more than two years of negotiations.

The North "promised to drop all nuclear weapons and current nuclear programs and to get back to the (Nuclear) Nonproliferation Treaty as soon as possible and to accept inspections" by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the agreement by the six countries at the talks.

"All six parties emphasized that to realize the inspectable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the target of the six-party talks," the statement said.

George Bush needed a big win on the international stage, and this surely qualifies. He has stuck to his strategy of using multilateral negotiations instead of bilateral talks with Pyongyang, the strategy that produced the last failed agreement. The only concession made by the US was an affirmation that we had no nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and no plans to attack North Korea.

The agreement should allow the US to focus much more attention on Iran, once a compliance team gets on the ground in North Korea. We will also find out how good our intelligence on Kim's nukes have been, and that might give us an idea about how we can improve it for Iran. More importantly, it gives the Bush administration a boost in credibility for negotiating for non-proliferation, just when the EU-3 has utterly failed with Iran to get an agreement. Look for the Bush administration to leverage this win to take over the Iranian stalemate and push it towards the UN.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 18, 2005 11:56 PM

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