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North Korea: Getting Not Giving February 9, 2007

Posted by David in North-East Asia.
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It’s a major topic in North-East Asia these days. Today the BBC News, Taipei Times, Asahi Shimbun, and China Daily all have stories on the recently resumed nuclear talks involving the US, Japan, China, South Korea, Russia and, of course, North Korea.

What’s the latest? All parties involved are “discussing a draft agreement which reportedly calls on Pyongyang to shut down its nuclear facilities in the next two months, in exchange for aid.”

Doesn’t it all sound familiar?

In any case, everyone is optimistic about these new rounds of talks because, “Washington is reportedly showing an increased willingness to sit down and discuss North Korea’s demands to lift financial sanctions.” As well, we can’t ignore “reports that the North is enduring a winter food crisis”. Once again due to terrible management of the country, but which will hopefully make the North Koreans more flexible during their negotiations.

However, as they often claim “the isolated nation’s chief atomic envoy said disarming was a possibility, but that the onus rested with the US.” North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said, “We are ready to discuss the initial steps, but whether the US will give up its hostile policy against us and come out for mutual peaceful co-existence will be the basis for our judgement. There are still lots of contentious points yet to be settled. It depends on how we settle those contentious points. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Yes, let’s all wait and see how North Korea will pretend to play along, for a while, until they believe it is time to demand more from their neighbours.

Those countries being asked to give more will eventually begin to object, and point out that the North should be doing much better, considering all the aid they are receiving.

Words will be exchanged. North Korea will throw a tantrum.

Then we will all be shocked to learn that their nuclear ambitions had remained strong, and that the DPRK possesses several nuclear missiles.

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