How Much Longer Do We Have to Wait for the U.S. to Toughen Up?

[imText1]The 14th passed with minimal fuss, despite it marking the 60 day limit of the Feb 13 Agreement which aimed to disable North Korea’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyun.

Last March, the U.S. State Department agreed to release the $25mn of North Korean funds tied in Banco Delta Asia (BDA) bank. However, due to a falsified North Korean account name and technical issues, the Bank of China failed to transfer the funds over and the six party talks lost value.

Since then, the U.S. made painstaking efforts to resolve the BDA issue with China and ultimately decided to relieve North Korea’s $25mn frozen funds on the 10th. The only thing remaining is for North Korea to collect the money.

Then again, North Korea took no action until the 14th regarding the 60 day period determined by the Feb 13 Agreement. Subsequently on the 13th, North Korea’s foreign affairs spokesperson revealed in an interview with the press on the Chosun Central News Agency that, “We will not act until it is proven that sanction on BDA will be removed.”

In response, U.S. State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack said on the 14th that U.S. patience towards North Korea would not be infinite, though the limit had been extended with the unexpected issues revolving around North Korea’s funds.

McCormack asserted that it was now North Korea’s turn to take action regarding the Feb 13 Agreement and that preliminary action had been taken to disable the Yongbyun nuclear facility under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s regulations.

He further stressed that the remaining 5 nations would only aid North Korea with 50,000 tons of fuel when the agreement had been fulfilled and that the six party talks would now focus on implementing the Sept 19th Declaration settled in 2005.

The U.S. made minimal comments regarding the fact that North Korea did exceed the Feb 13 Agreement’s 60 day limit, only revealing that the U.S. would be closely collaborating with the other six party talks members.

Regarding this, a high U.S. official said that actual progress was more important than the deadline itself. In the case North Korea deludes the U.S. once again and does not follow through with the promises made, the U.S. will not remain quiet and North Korea will face a verbal beating.

Since last year November, the U.S. has certainly lowered its ground by changing its appeasement policy against North Korea once deemed the “axis of evil.” In additional to this, not only has the U.S. Administration displayed concerns for the inner well being of North Korea, the U.S. has also broken rules for North Korea’s BDA funds to return to normal.

Still, North Korea has responded unyieldingly. Rather, with only a few months left in government, the Bush Administration is positive that resolutions will be made prior to the end of its term in office, positioning itself as a hegemony over the other nations of the 6 Party Talks.

The U.S. is not even in the position to relinquish the Feb 13 Agreement simply because North Korea failed to initiate the promise. On the other hand, there aren’t any substantial pressurizing measures to force North Korea to take action either.

While U.S. representative to the six party talks, Christopher Hill reasons that there is ‘momentum’ to the current Feb 13 Agreement and the 6 Party Talks, he has ultimately admitted that there is not much anyone can do but wait for the signal from Pyongyang.

With the U.S. compromising $25mn, analysts argue that this game play between the U.S. and Kim Jong Il may just continue with the U.S. making additional concessions.