Monday, September 19, 2005

This Move Seems Familiar

It seemed like good news on sunday: N. Korea Agrees to Stop Building Nukes. Many conservative commentators wanted to start talking this up as another Bush foreign relations victory. While right on, Bush probably won't get any points for sounding cautious:
President Bush called it a positive step, but he expressed some skepticism about whether North Korea will live up to its promises.

"They have said — in principle — that they will abandon their weapons programs," Bush said. "And what we have said is, 'Great. That's a wonderful step forward.' But now we've got to verify whether that happens."

"The question is, over time will all parties adhere to the agreement," Bush said.

Score one for the presidential prognosticator. North Korea has whipped out a deal killer:
But the North's statement Tuesday indicated it was again raising the reactor demand as a prerequisite for disarming.

"We will return to the NPT and sign the safeguards agreement with the IAEA and comply with it immediately upon the U.S. provision of LWRs, a basis of confidence-building to us," the North's Foreign Ministry said in the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"The U.S. should not even dream of the issue of (North Korea's) dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing LWRs," the North said.

The countermove to this stategem is to hurt North Korea in some way, probably through China's leverage. Then again, recall that I am among the non-privy to details, especially just what the cost that China will exact in order to use said leverage. The game plays on.

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