Tuesday, February 13, 2007

6PT Progress

Well, according to an article in the NYT this morning a tentative agreement has been reached between the US, China, Russia and South Korea as to what to offer North Korea ($400 million in fuel oil and aid) in return for dismantling of the nuclear reactors and allowing IAEA officials back into the country. It's believed that the 5 participants will agree to it and North Korea has 60 days to accept the agreement.

Unsurprisingly, Japan has refused to offer any aid to North Korea unless the issue of the Japanese abductees has been separately resolved. (Not that Shinzo Abe has any choice since his hardline stance on North Korea and the abductee issue is what elected him). Thus, the burden of providing aid falls to the shoulders of South Korea, the US and China, and Bush will have to get Congressional approval for the aid package.

There seems to be greater efforts this time to go step-by-step, issue-by-issue, to make sure the talks don't collapse, and there are big hopes that China signing the agreement as well will ensure North Korea's compliance. However, the collapse almost collapsed on Sunday due to North Korea's energy demands and there are a lot of kinks to work out, not least the Japanese abductee issue. Hopefully though there will be more steps forward than backwards.


Sean said...

Whenever I hear about these ridiculous North Korean demands, I'm reminded of the old Chris Rock routine about people who want credit for things that they're SUPPOSED to do, like staying out of jail and taking care of your kids. I hope I'm wrong, but I just feel like it's only a matter of time before they'll make additional threats.

Grace said...

There is truth to what you're saying and John Bolton seems to share your skepticism. He blasted the deal and said that it sends the wrong signals to other would-be nuclear powers. But with other nations involved, I'm hopeful that this deal will actually go through. And from this recent Chosun Ilbo report,

it seems that all states involved are a bit more hopeful this time around (or is it the photo of all of them standing together that makes it seem so?).

Eric said...

By allocating only 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) to the first phase of the agreement and making the rest (950,000 tons of HFO) contingent on additional measures of transparency, I think the non-DPRK powers are hedging.

The DPRK's rationality in following through with what has been agreed is difficult to understand, so I think we'll be back to square one by the fall, but for now I think hedging was the right thing to do.

Who knows, maybe in the meantime there will be drastic changes in the DPRK regime.

Sean said...

I may be wrong on this, but it appears as though while NK will allow outside inspectors into the country for inspections, they will retain control over how those inspections will be conducted. If this is true, how can these inspections be taken seriously by Congress?

Also, does the agreement only apply to the main nuclear facility? I read that there are rumors of hidden facilites as well.