North Korean nuke deal


Austin Bay has an insightful analysis on Real Clear Politics of the recently—announced deal with North Korea to, well, continue to negoatiate to end its nuclear weapons program.

A nuclear—armed, impoverished rogue in one of the planet's most economically productive corners is trouble. Military strikes to destroy North Korea's nukes remain a distinct possibility. Seoul, South Korea, however, is within conventional artillery range of North Korea, so in any conflict, damage to people and economies is a certainty. Hence, the "six nation" talks (Russia, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China and the United States). This diplomatic forum engages the United States and North Korea's neighbors in an economic and political process intended to either coax or squeeze the nukes from North Korea's arsenal.

China is absolutely central to achieving this goal. Washington and Tokyo both believe China is the only nation that can truly pressure North Korea. China supplies North Korea with oil and food.

China, however, balked at openly nudging North Korea —— until late last week, when Beijing's diplomats produced a draft of "the Monday document" they said North Korea would sign if the United States acted quickly.

In many respects, the document merely sets conditions for further talks in November. Still, China has stepped forward and publicly used its political influence. China has no interest in "losing face" over an agreement it promoted. Thus, the small Chinese push may prove to be a plus for Washington and Tokyo.

Read the whole thing.

Thomas Lifson   9 21 05