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9/19/2005

North Korea

Kevin Drum:
Is it just me, or has the blogosphere been remarkably silent about the breakthrough in talks with North Korea?
The breakthrough he's talking about is this:
NORTH Korea yesterday promised to give up its nuclear weapons programme, apparently bringing to an end a tense three-year stand-off.

In exchange, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China - the other players in the six-party talks being held in Beijing - said they would provide oil, energy aid and security guarantees as well as allowing a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

Washington and Tokyo agreed to normalise ties with the impoverished and diplomatically isolated North, which pledged to rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

South Korea's unification minister, Chung Dong-young, said the agreement would serve as a first step towards dismantling the Cold War confrontation between the two Koreas and the seven-day session ended with a standing ovation by all delegates.
I think part of the reason for the silence is that it's hard to tell at this point how significant this will turn out to be. There's still no concrete agreement; N. Korea has basically just said that they are willing, in principle, to give up the program - whether they actually do or not remains to be seen. As the article suggests, this is more of a "first step" than a conclusion. Hopefully it will lead to something, but it's too early to be anything more than cautiously optimistic.


UPDATE: Matt Ygelsias says that this news proves the efficacy of John Kerry's North Korea policy.

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