Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Kim Jong Il: "Did somebody say Six Party?"

The past 48 hours there was some success in the six party talks aimed at disarming North Korea. Like most, I'm cynical until I see some action, but it does seem like a positive development, and from what I've seen a real shock to most Korea-watchers. I got the feeling that most though that the six party talks were all but dead after a failed round two month back, so this agreement has come out of the blue.

Back at the last talks in July, here was my suggestion for a workable solution:

For what it's worth, here's my solution to the North Korea tensions (you listing George, Hu, Kim?): at the next round of Six Nation talks next week in Beijing, the other five states should do a deal with Kim Jong Il. Give him an absolute assurance that the world will not seek his removal (STEP 1), if - and only if - the DPRK shut down its nuclear plants and give open access to IAEA inspectors (STEP 2). To be sure that he'll do the deal, the quiet threat needs to be made by the Chinese that if Kim doesn't play ball, then the energy pipeline that keeps the fledgling North Korean economy functioning will be progressively shut down. (STEP 3)


And here's the text of the agreement that was reached, which follow my plan (above) remarkably closely:

STEP 1:

The DPRK and the United States undertook to respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies.


STEP 2:

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.


STEP 3:

China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and the U.S. stated their willingness to provide energy assistance to the DPRK. The ROK reaffirmed its proposal of July 12, 2005, concerning the provision of 2 million kilowatts of electric power to the DPRK.


There is, though, still a major stumbling block:

The DPRK stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss at an appropriate time the subject of the provision of light-water reactor to the DPRK.


This sounds remarkably similar to the agreement Clinton reached with North Korea in 1994, an agreement which now stands almost-universally condemned as one that allowed the North Koreans to increase its nuclear capacity.

For more on North Korea, and indeed the entire region, check out a fine blog I've recently discovered, The Asianist.

1 comment:

James J. Na said...

Thank you for the link, and also for visiting one of my sites (The Asianist).

By the way, it's very neat that you were able to visit N. Korea. Half of my family hails from there originally (as running dogs of capitalism, they had to flee c. 1945), but as a former S. Korean national and now a gun-toting, 93-octane-burning, red-meat-eating, using-paper-only-on-one-side kind of American, I cannot visit the "Workers' Paradise."

Regards,

James
aka Guns and Butter
aka The Asianist