North Korea Pledges to Give Up Nuclear Weapons Program

From the AP:

BEIJING (AP) — North Korea pledged to drop its nuclear weapons development and rejoin international arms treaties in a unanimous agreement Monday with other countries at six-party arms talks. The joint statement was the first ever after more than two years of negotiations.

The North ”promised to drop all nuclear weapons and current nuclear programs and to get back to the (Nuclear) Nonproliferation Treaty as soon as possible and to accept inspections” by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the agreement by the six countries at the talks.

”All six parties emphasized that to realize the inspectable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the target of the six-party talks,” the statement said.

The North and United States also pledged in the agreement to respect each other’s sovereignty and right to peaceful coexistence, and also to take steps to normalize relations.

”The United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons,” according to the statement, assurances echoed by South Korea.

Negotiators agreed to hold more talks in November, where they were expected to move on to concrete discussions about implementing the broad principles outlined in Monday’s agreement. The main U.S. envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, has warned that could still be a long process.

The negotiations had been deadlocked over Pyongyang’s demands that it retain the right to civilian nuclear programs after it disarms, and the statement acknowledges the North has made such an assertion but doesn’t go beyond that.

North Korean officials had also demanded the country be given a light-water nuclear reactor at the latest talks — a type believed to be less easily diverted for weapons use — but Washington had said it and other countries at the talks wouldn’t meet that request.

Putting aside the question for now, the joint statement said: ”The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss at an appropriate time the subject of the provision of light-water reactor” to North Korea.

Pyongyang has also refused to totally disarm without getting concessions along the way, while Washington has said it wants to see the weapons programs totally dismantled before granting rewards. The statement, however, says the sides agree to take steps to implement the agreement ”in a phased manner in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action.”’

The other countries at the talks said they were willing give energy assistance to the North, including a South Korean plan to deliver electricity across the heavily armed border dividing the peninsula.

”This is the most important result since the six-party talks started more than two years ago,” said Wu Dawei, China’s vice foreign minister.

The talks, which began in August 2003, include China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas.

This is big news. For the past 4 years I’ve been hearing how the United States has been doing nothing about North Korea, and that either neglect or a hardline stance has been moving the US closer to conflict with North Korea, while allowing North Korea to continue the development of nuclear weapons. An enormous ammount of criticism has been directed towards the Bush administration for ‘ignoring’ North Korea while taking action in Afghanistan and Iraq. A nuclear North Korea (or the possibility of one) has been, according to most press and US (and international) media, an enormously pressing problem.

And now we have this – a major coup in international relations with extraordinarilly promising results, and during Bush’s administration. One would think that major media outlets (CNN, MSNBC, etc) would be reporting this widely, especially given the criticism that has been directed towards the US approach. But, of course, it’s not – CNN is having news reports on Hurrican Katrina, and their website has a frontpage reporting of “Everybody Loves Raymond” winning big at the Emmy’s. MSNBC’s main webpage at present is reporting on another hurricane, and it’s ‘top stories’ (at present) don’t include this.

One sometimes wonders what to think.

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Date: Sunday, 18. September 2005 22:49
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1 Comment

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    Well, what do you expect? Most of the media is someone against Bush and his admin, not to mention they are “entertainment” bound – all they care about is high ratings. Of course ELR will make top news.

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