Monday, 12 February 2007

Breakthrough in North Korean nuke talks

I was skeptical of this news at first when CNN reported it earlier today, but it seems to be making the press rounds now...

BBC News:

Delegates at the six-party North Korea talks have reached a tentative deal, the US nuclear negotiator has said.

A "final text" outlining initial steps for disarming North Korea was now being referred to each government for approval, Christopher Hill said.

His comments followed late-night meetings on what was meant to be the last day of the talks in Beijing.

If approved, a deal would be a significant step forward in a process stalled since September 2005.

There has been no comment from North Korea.

The BBC's Daniel Griffiths in Beijing says the deal has yet to be approved by the leaders of each country involved.

Even then it would only mark the first step in what is likely to be a very long, slow process with further delays almost inevitable, he says.

The current round of talks - aimed at persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programme - began on Thursday with a renewed sense of optimism from all sides.

But negotiations faltered over the amount of energy aid the North was demanding in exchange for disarming.

Reports suggest North Korea is seeking large-scale deliveries of heavy fuel oil in return for shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

If only we could get this seeming progress on Iran's nuclear program. N Korea tested a nuclear missile back in October and there was plenty of reaction from the international community. As one might guess, the reaction was one of scorn and dismay as one of the world's most brutal closed states tested the most powerful weapons. What is really worrying is not that N Korea possibly could nuke a barren area in Alaska, but their other motives. N Korea is not well off financially — at all — so their best moves are to use nukes as leverage from incentives from the international community and sell nuclear technology, whether it be to al-Qaeda or Libya. The whole nuclear missile incident was confusing to say the least.

China has played a major role in the while issue. Obviously they do not want their neighbor to collapse for a number of reasons; the fact that both North Korea and China are supposedly communist is really not a factor at this point.

Three cheers for diplomacy — in re to North Korean nukes? We will have to see.

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