POSSIBLE FRESH START WITH NORTH KOREA?
The Korea Times, March 2, 2012
The cartoon strip "Peanuts" left an enduring leitmotif: Lucy would tee up a football and cajole Charlie Brown into kicking it, only to snatch the ball away at the last minute.
That inevitable and predictable outcome could serve as a metaphor for negotiations with North Korea. Desperate for aid, Pyongyang agrees to compromises on its nuclear-weapons program and, once it has the aid, reneges on its promise.
Once again, the U.S. has reached an agreement, very promising on paper, with North Korea. It will suspend major portions of its nuclear-weapons programs, forgo further nuclear tests and long-range-missile tests and allow the return of Western inspectors to verify compliance.
The North Koreans are believed to be capable of producing six to 12 nuclear warheads and to have tested nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009.
Included in the inspections is access to a secretly built nuclear-enrichment facility at Yongbyon that the outside world only found out about in 2010 when the North Koreans unexpectedly revealed its existence.
In return, the U.S. made an initial commitment of 265,000 tons of food aid to North Korea and a pledge of "no hostile intent." Somewhat surprisingly, the North Koreans seem to have agreed to allow monitors to ensure that the aid reaches starving common people, especially women and children, instead of the party elite and military.
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