Monday, March 29, 2004

CHANGE? WHAT CHANGE? Scant days after the DPRK explicitly rejected CVID, the one thing regarded by the U.S. as the fundamental precondition for a negotiated settlement, we get the expected business-as-usual, nothing-has-changed spin (NYT: free registration required)
North Korea remains committed to the six-party nuclear talks, a senior Seoul official said on Monday after the top diplomats of China and South Korea met in Beijing Monday.

As South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon held talks with his Chinese counterpart, South and North Koreans held family reunions in the first inter-Korean dealings since Pyongyang canceled meetings over the impeachment of the South's president.

``North Korea has yet to make any change to its position of resolving the nuclear issue through the six-party nuclear talks,'' the South Korean official quoted Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing as telling Ban, according to Yonhap news agency.

"Yet to make any change?" So what does one make of all that talk about rejecting CVID? Diplomatic kabuki? Positioning? The sending of subtle signals that only sophisticated diplomats can decipher? I'll repeat a conclusion I came to some time ago:
There's something surreal about a situation in which we must steadfastly maintain that the North Koreans are lying in order to lure them to the negotiating table where we can resolve issues based on mutual trust.

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