The Six-Party Talks October 3rd, 2007 agreement calls for the sealing of North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor – which has already reached its end-of-life – as well as the “complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs, including its nuclear weapons.” Just yesterday, a State Department spokesman said that the U.S. will not accept a faulty declaration from Pyongyang. However, the agreement provides no mechanism for independent verification of its veracity. In exchange for the declaration the U.S. will be “rescinding the designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism and the termination of the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) with respect to the DPRK.”
Today, according to press reports, the CIA is to reveal that the military facility destroyed in the September 6th, 2007 Israeli airstrike was a nuclear reactor modeled on the Yongbyon facility in North Korea. The Norks not only provided technical knowledge but technicians to help the Syrians as well.
The continuation of this farce after the Norks missed the deadline for their declaration five months ago – five months ago! – is nothing less than a capitulation by the Bush Administration and it will haunt us for years to come. When the Norks (predictably) failed to live up to their end of the bargain (and what a bargain for them!) we should have declared this awful agreement dead on arrival and ceased negotiations. Coupled with the continued intransigence of the Iranians who are flaunting their obligations to abide by the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty they signed, what we’ve got is a de facto abandonment of meaningful (i.e., effective) efforts at nuclear non-proliferation.
Democrats, take note: Diplomacy is not pixie dust. Been there, tried that, didn’t work. With North Korea facing yet another acute food shortage in 2008, and few other means of applying leverage short of the application of military force, we have an opportunity to wrest real concessions and compliance. Unfortunately it would mean forcing the thugocracy to contend with another food crisis, and the suffering of the prisoner populace of North Korea has never been too high a price for their aristocracy to pay.