Same old song
Six way talks on North Korea and its nuclear program have begun again in China.
BEIJING - North Korea defiantly declared itself a nuclear power Monday at the start of the first full international arms talks since its atomic test and threatened to increase its arsenal if its demands were not met.What happened above should be no surprise to anyone who even modestly knows the political climate in North Korea. Kim sees his nuclear weapons as a crutch to prop up his failed regime. He fears a US or ROK attack northward and feels the nuclear threat is the only thing stopping it. Kim is at least half right, even the threat of a conventional artillery bombardment on Seoul makes any military action against the DPRK very unlikely. Who wants to put the lives of 11 million people at risk? As I've blogged before, the military options against North Korea are mostly bad.
Reiterating those demands in its opening speech, the North said the United Nations must lift the sanctions imposed on the communist nation for its Oct. 9 nuclear test. It also said the United States must remove the financial restrictions that led the North to break off the six-nation negotiations 13 months ago.
The North also said it wants a reactor built for it and help covering its energy needs in the meantime, according to a summary of the speech released by one of the delegations involved. Five nations are trying to persuade the North to abandon nuclear weapons — the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.
The North said that now that it is a nuclear power, it should be treated on equal footing with the U.S. It warned that if its demands were not met, it would increase its arsenal, according to the summary.
The U.S. offered in its opening comments to normalize relations with Pyongyang, but only after it halted its atomic program.
I doubt Kim will give them away no matter what concessions the other powers or the US concede to Pyongyang. Nor do I think China can influence Pyongyang enough to reform their policies. Captain Ed thinks otherwise. It is also certain that without any promise to remove sanctions, North Korea will refuse to discuss their nuclear program. Then even if the sanctions end, I don't see anything meaningful coming out of these talks.
Bottom line- Unless a regime change occurs in Pyongyang, The US, South Korea and the world will have to live with a nuclear North Korea.
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