There was an historic breakthrough yesterday in the North Korean nuclear standoff. Apparently the North Koreans gave up some of there demands and agreed to halt its nuclear program in exchange for a civilian reactor. This was of course seen as a major diplomatic victory in the war on nuclear proliferation but North Korea was sure to put a quick halt to that:

The US should not even dream of the issue of the DPRK’s dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing LWRs (light-water reactors), a physical guarantee for confidence-building

This should come as no surprise to anyone who is informed about the position of the North for the past 2.5 years. The problem has always seemed to be who will do what when (sequencing). Diplomats were obviously led to believe that the Koreans would dismantle, sign the NPT and the safeguards prior to receiving any rewards; if this was the agreement yesterday the Koreans seemed to have unilaterally changed that agreement:

As clarified in the joint statement, we will return to the NPT and sign the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and comply with it immediately upon the US provision of LWRs, a basis of confidence-building, to us

As already clarified more than once, we will feel no need to keep even a single nuclear weapon if the DPRK-US relations are normalized, bilateral confidence is built and we are not exposed to the US nuclear threat any longer.

What is most essential is, therefore, for the US to provide LWRs to the DPRK as early as possible as evidence proving the former’s substantial recognition of the latter’s nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose.

As I pointed out yesterday I was skeptical on an agreement that was based on promises and my skepticism was obviously warranted. The signed agreements between foreign ministers and diplomats are not to be celebrated until ratified by all parties (leaders of each nation). There was similar confusion in the Iranian negotiations prior to their suspension of their enrichment programs. These latest developments does not necessarily mean that yesterday’s progress wasn’t real progress (if nothing more it shows that the Koreans are not completely opposed to dismantling of all their nuclear weapons) but it demonstrates the medias ignorance and their desire to break stories rather than explain them. Don’t sound the celebratory trumpets just yet.

A Promise Is A Comfort To A Fool

Original Diary

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