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December 22, 2006
No Agreement On North Korea

The six-party talks have adjourned without any agreement, the BBC reports:

Despite five days of negotiations in Beijing, the talks broke up and no date for a resumption has been announced.

The talks involved the US, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

They had resumed after a 13-month break, and two months after North Korea sparked international condemnation by carrying out a nuclear test.

Chinese envoy Wu Dawei released a statement that simply reaffirmed an agreement from September 2005 that the North would agree to disarm in return for aid and guarantees of security.

The US accused the Kim regime of failing to take the talks seriously, which in this case is akin to noting the sunrise in the East. Kim Jong-Il wants his nukes, and diplomatic niceties will not shake him from his pursuit of WMDs. Only China can put enough pressure on him to achieve that result, and China still has not found the will or the desire to do so in sufficient measure. As Christopher Hill pointed out, each day the DPRK came up with a different excuse -- the banking sanctions that shut down their profitable counterfeiting ring, some perceived diplomatic slight, or another impossible demand. It all adds up to continued intransigence by Pyongyang.

What next? If China cannot get Kim to agree to any concessions, then we will probably see Japan take further steps towards militarization and possibly nuclearization. The US will start to fortify its positions in the Pacific Rim, and we have already begun talking about military expansion. China, which wants to establish East Asia as its economic playground, will see their efforts eroded by the projection of power from America and its allies -- and at some point, they will find the motivation to get Kim to agree to take the talks seriously.

Or, perhaps, the Chinese will find someone to take Kim's place. That possibility still exists, and since Kim is not as successful in keeping the North Koreans benighted these days, they may have plenty of help for that kind of mission. At this point, it's hard to see how we could do much worse than Kim.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 22, 2006 6:21 AM

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