Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Victor Cha Reveals NSC Time Machine Secret

I'll bet that got your attention. For clarification see my previous post and Prof Larsen's comment.

Some interesting non-development developments in the 6 Party Talks this week. First, the un-frozen BDA funds might actually have a new home/homes. Banks in Russia and Italy, two bastions of clean government and effectively-controlled organized crime, have offered their services to the North, according to this article from the South China Morning Post. Given Professor Larsen's comparison of Kim Jong-Il to a mob boss, I find this development most amusing. Of course, as the issue of where to transfer the money may soon be resolved, the issue of what institution will oversee the transfer emerges as the next obstacle in the road. Stunner...

Also, in other non-news news, the U.S. still considers North Korea to be a state sponsor of terrorism! According to this piece from the JoongAng Daily, the so-called hermit kingdom was included in a report on the subject released Monday. Do not fret though, advocates of engagement, "the process of removing the reclusive nation from the list has started."

It's nice to see that both sides are working hard to make it seem like they're thinking about moving forward with the talks.

In the event that things do start to move forward, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has offered its perspective on where things will/need to go. For those not familiar with ICG, it's an excellent organization that concentrates on "hot spots" for...well...crises. Examples include Taiwan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and the Korean Peninsula. They publish some outstanding stuff in my opinion, combining thorough reporting with optimistic yet pragmatic analysis.

The latest Korea report is entitled "After the North Korea Nuclear Breakthrough: Compliance or Confrontation?" I haven't had the chance to read through it thoroughly, but it appears to offer a legitimate roadmap for progress. If I get to it soon, I'll post a synopsis.

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