North Korea Might Drag the Talks

[imText1]While the resumed six party talks started on Monday with initial skirmishes of keynote speech, the talks already seem following expected steps.

North Korea’s delegate Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan strongly urged revocation of sanctions first in his opening speech. And he worsened the situation by emphasizing North Korea being a nuclear state and bilateral disarmament of nuclear weapons.

In contrast, US head delegate Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill insisted on North Korea’s sincere approach toward denuclearization, although he was “not yet out of patience.” On BDA issue, Hill expressed his intention to talk about it.

In the US perspective, which highlights North Korea giving up nuclear warheads in exchange of retrieval of sanctions, NK’s claim to be a nuclear state and bilateral denuclearization between Pyongyang and Washington makes the talks deadlocked.

North Korea’s argument for bilateral denuclearization aims at obtaining as much US compromise as possible.

Officially, North Korea is boasting a nuclear-state status, whereas, inside negotiation room, reassuring that it can give up nuclear weapons if the US calls off “anti-North Korea policy.” Pyongyang’s strategy is this; keep negotiation alive in order to satisfy China and South Korea, and procrastinate in the six party talks by blaming on the US for making NK’s nuclear weapons development inevitable.

North Korea came back to the roundtable of negotiation not to give up its much-invested nuclear bombs but to end financial sanctions. North Korea was firm that denuclearization could only be negotiated if anti-North Korean policy was repealed.

Saying retraction of anti-North Korean policy by the United States, Pyongyang includes BDA financial issue, US sanctions, recognition of regime, PSI and the US army in Seoul. In other words, North Korea is disguised to have negotiation while actually pursuing to become nuclear state.

This true intention of Pyongyang can be proved by Kang Seok Ju, NK Vice Foreign Minister’s remarks “We did not make nuclear bombs to dump it back” and other similar words by senior officials.

Although some experts anticipate progress in the talks through North Korea’s suggestion to stop operating nuclear reactors, the United States would be hesitant to reach a deal with Pyongyang unless Kim Jong Il provides more apparent evidence of steps toward denuclearization, such as freezing of reactors and acceptance of international inspection team.

In sum, if North Korea does not change its position, the six party talks is doomed to be nothing more than Pyongyang’s tactical move to avoid more international sanctions and isolation.