Sunday, March 16, 2008

Standoff Continues over North Korean Nuclear Program

U.S. Hails Progress in N. Korea Nuke Talks? Not really, though that’s what the CNN headline for the AP report says. True, Chris Hill is quoted as saying, "We certainly are further along in this consultation than we were when I arrived this morning," and "There has been progress." But the AP article says nothing about any progress on the dismantlement of the Yongbyon facilities, while North Korea continued to deny that it had a uranium enrichment program. There’s no mention of North Korea’s plutonium and plutonium explosives stockpiles either.*

The State Department spokesman is unhelpful, as he all but denies any knowledge of the talks with North Korean chief negotiator Kim Gye Gwan and pushes it back to Mr. Hill. Secretary Condoleezza Rice also appears to think little of the event and also refers to Mr. Hill. I hope I’m wrong, but the two sound an awful lot like “Not my baby,” in bureaucratese.

All may not be lost though. It looks like the US push for biofuel is putting pressure on the Kim Jong Il regime. Problem is, half the people in North Korea may have to starve before things change there. Kim Jong Il has basically taken the 22 million North Koreans hostage. It’s the “Buy this book or we’ll shoot this dog” gambit.

* Reuters headlines its article as: Rice sees no immediate breakthrough with N. Korea. Now that’s better. Or worse.

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