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September 20, 2005
North Korea Tosses In Late Demand

The path will never go easy with the Kim regime in Pyongyang. The US already knows this, but now the Chinese have had a taste of it after making the official announcement of an agreement on disarmament with the North Koreans, only to have Kim Jong-Il publicly add a demand for a nuclear reactor afterwards:

North Korea insisted Tuesday it won't dismantle its nuclear weapons program until the U.S. gives it civilian nuclear reactors, casting doubt on a disarmament agreement reached a day earlier during international talks.

Washington reiterated its rejection of the reactor demand and joined China in urging North Korea to stick to the agreement announced Monday in which it pledged to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for economic aid and security assurances.

North Korea's new demands underlined its unpredictable nature and deflated some optimism from the Beijing agreement, the first since negotiations began in August 2003 among the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. ...

China, North Korea's closest ally in the talks, urged Pyongyang to join the other negotiating partners in implementing the commitments in "a serious manner." ... Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was asked in Beijing whether North Korea might have misunderstood the order of commitments laid out in the statement Monday.

"The common statement was adopted by all six parties and I don't think North Korea has any misunderstanding," Qin said.

Again we see the wisdom of the six-party negotiations and why bilateral talks would do no good with the Kim regime. In this case, even the Chinese sound embarrassed by Kim's prevarications and would like him to politely shut the hell up. If this had happened in bilateral talks, Kim would face no pressure to meet his signed obligations. Now, with the Chinese risking their diplomatic prestige to an even greater degree than the US, they will not likely put up with much nonsense from Pyongyang, giving Bush more leverage in enforcing some compliance from North Korea.

None of the other nations believe that Kim actually takes this seriously, and that the November meetings to plan for the reintroduction of the IAEA and verifiable compliance will still take place.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 20, 2005 6:28 AM

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