Monday, September 19, 2005

Agreement Reached With North Korea

From the Washington Post:
North Korea pledged Monday to abandon its entire nuclear energy program, but U.S. officials including President Bush and other diplomats participating in six-party talks warned there would be a long, difficult road of detailed negotiations before achieving the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The agreement, although vague, was the first real achievement of the six-party negotiating process sponsored by China since the talks began here in August 2003. Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and the chief U.S. negotiator, called it a "turning point" in the United States' long quest to prevent a nuclear-armed North Korea from becoming part of the Northeast Asian landscape.
It is a good sign to see China using its influence, although I'm always skeptical about agreements that are only agreeing to further negotiations. There is still a long way to go:
In the upcoming negotiations, North Korea will be asked to reverse the long-established pattern of concealment and deception by agreeing to highly intrusive U.N. inspections. Increasing the difficulty, specialists pointed out, North Korean diplomats are likely to seek immediate economic and energy aid in return for each step toward verification. Looking forward to those talks, Hill jokingly held his head in his hands in the classic pose of a man with a large headache.