At this point, nothing but limitless concessions and a willingness to forego strict verification could rescue the talks from their deadlock. Multilateral talks have failed. Bilateral talks have failed. Years of generous South Korean offers and payments have produced no significant discernable change in the North Korean regime, despite the cost in taxpayer dollars, political scandals, lost North Korean lives, and frayed relations with the United States. Not even China, with its supposed power to coerce North Korea, has proven itself both willing and able to make North Korea negotiate in good faith. And although the parties but a brave face on the outcome by describing it as a “recess,” it was difficult to imagine what further talks could achieve without a dramatically changed North Korean attitude toward verifiably dismantling its nuclear programs. It is the sort of conclusion that leads us to the question that so many have studiously evaded:Hmmm.
By presenting its bizarre new demands and refusing to agree to the draft statement agreed on by the other five parties to the talks, North Korea may have allowed the United States to leave the talks with tangible progress toward proposing some answers to that question.
Friday, August 12, 2005
North Korea Zone has here an excellent summary of the recent Six-Party Talks.