Thursday, December 11, 2003

North Korea announced Tuesday that it would freeze its nuclear weapons programs in return for energy aid and being removed from the U.S. list of countries that sponsor terrorism. President Bush rejected the offer.
Why did Bush reject the offer?
While Washington and its allies have sought the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs, the new proposal from Pyongyang offered only to "freeze" them as a first step. The North added, however, that the long-term goal would be to "de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula."

"The goal of the United States is not for a freeze of the nuclear program," Bush said. "The goal is to dismantle a nuclear weapons program in a verifiable and irreversible way."

"That," he said, "is the clear message we are sending to the North Koreans."
Why weren't the North Koreans willing to accept the U.S.-ROK-Japan-proposed multi-step solution?
A spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called the proposal "greatly disappointing," because its aim is to "completely eliminate our nuclear deterrent force by giving just a piece of paper called 'written security assurances,'" which is "no more than a commitment."
One wonders how the much sought after non-aggression pact would be anything more than a similar piece of paper.

So, we're essentially back where we started. Both sides want the other side to give major concessions first. Neither side is willing to compromise too much. And, since the U.S. is presently dealing with the Iraq problem and will soon be dealing with a presidential election (and since the DPRK appears to recognize that it is better off not testing a nuclear weapon for the time being), it is likely that this is all we're going to get for some time. Talks, talks about talks, and then some more talks.

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