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North Korea Nuclear Deal: Wrong On Many Levels

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By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 14, 2007

Nearly euphoric headlines this week announced: "North Korea To Give Up Nuclear Program."More specifically, the situation is this: in exchange for a huge amount of oil, North Korea has "promised" to dismantle its nuclear weapon program.

And who made all the concessions?

Why, the United States, of course.

"It is rewarding bad behavior of the North Koreans by promising fuel oil," said former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton.

The concessions made as inducements to good behavior include supplying some $400 million in aid to North Korea, including 1 million tons of fuel oil.

The United States also agreed to end U.S. Treasury Department banking restrictions on Banco Delta Asia in Macao. That bank was found to be laundering North Korean counterfeit $100 bills to finance the regime.

"We had the North Koreans on the ropes" with the banking restrictions, Mr. Chuck Downs said. "We're losing all of that real leverage once we open the door to identifying legitimate funds there."

Mr. Downs is an expert in the North Korean situation and the former Associate Director of the Asian Studies Program at the American Enterprise Institute.

Six Party Talks

The six powers are the United States, North Korea and the key Asian nations with a stake in the outcome of talks with North Korea on its nuclear program.. Involved in negotiating with North Korea to keep their stated bellicose intentions in check are the other members: China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia.The United States has refused to engage North Korea in one-on-one talks.

Background: The 1994 "Agreed Framework"

In 1994, during the Clinton Administration, the parties made an agreement known as the "Agreed Framework."

The Agreed Framework signed by the United States and North Korea on October 21, 1994 in Geneva agreed that:

-North Korea would freeze its existing nuclear program and agree to enhanced International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards .

-Both sides would cooperate to replace the D.P.R.K.'s graphite-moderated reactors for related facilities with light-water (LWR) power plants.

-Both countries would move toward full normalization of political and economic relations.

-Both sides will work together for peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

-And that both sides would work to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

As part of the agreement, two light water reactors would be constructed in North Korea by 2003 at a cost of $4 billion, primarily supplied by Japan and South Korea.

Also, North Korea would be supplied with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel annually, at no cost, to make up for lost energy production.

On October 4, 2002, the United States confronted North Korea by claiming that the North Koreans had violated the agreement. The United States said that North Korea was secretly developing a program to enrich uranium to weapons grade. Since North Korea had cheated, the United States said it was no longer bound by its side of the agreement.

Accordingly, on November 14, 2002, the United States and its allies suspended the oil shipments they had been providing North Korea under the 1994 agreement.

Despite an agreement since 1994 to freeze its nuclear program, on October 6, 2006, North Korea announced that it had tested a nuclear weapon.

The "six party" allies were, of course, shocked.

Beijing Agreement 2007: Implications

The agreement reached this week in Beijing is a bad one on several levels.

"It's a bad signal to North Korea and it's a bad signal to Iran," Mr. Bolton said.

According to Mr. Bolton, the signal being sent is that "if you hold out long enough and wear down the State Department negotiators, eventually you get rewarded."

This is an old trick of Asian negotiators facing the United States. Classic examples of the United States reaching the point of exasperation in negotiations while Asians played the waiting game include the Vietnam War Paris Peace Talks and the peace talks at to end the war in Korea.

Can North Korea be expected to abide by the agreement?

Frankly, no. North Korea's record of abiding by international agreements is abysmal.

In fact, North Korea is probably the leading nation, currently, with a policy of violating international law in order to fund the regime.

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John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.
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