Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Six Party Talks Follow Up Meetings

Yonhap (English service) reports that South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Shim Yoon-joe is headed our way (DC) for meetings aimed at reaching agreement on "follow-up measures" to the pact on denuclearization signed last week in Beijing.

He's apparently set to meet with a number of officials, including those working on security and nonproliferation at State and the US Deputy National Security Advisor, Jack Crouch.

It seems there's already a difference in opinion as to what the pact requires, though. US officials seem to think it doesn't deal with the DPRK's weapons programs, whereas ROK officials believe the agreement requires the DPRK to submit to the IAEA a complete list of all of its nuclear installations & programs...to include weapons programs.

I find it interesting not only that there's already a divergence of opinion on what was agreed to (and not between adversaries in this particular negotiation), but that the South, not the US, would be the party erring on the side of stricter requirements.

Even more interesting is a note at the end of the article that suggests this trip is a prelude to the visit of South Korea's Foreign Minister Song Min-soon, a trip supposedly aimed at discussing
"ways to further strengthen the trust" between Seoul and Washington. Seems like a good idea to me. Interesting though, that it comes after the talks and not before.

1 comment:

Erin Robinson said...

In some ways, I don't find it particularly surprising that South Korea is taking a harder line on this than the US. Right now, the US just needs to not be dealing with North Korea, given Iraq, Iran, and domestic politics. On the other hand, South Korea is at much more risk from North Korean nuclear weapons than we in the US are, and so is understandably concerned about that. Also, it's, I would guess, a larger aspect of their foreign policy right now. But those, of course, are just guesses.

The point about the minister coming now is also interesting, and worth pondering.