Not only did North Korea thereby achieve at least one key objective before any performance on its part (contrary to the February 13 deal), Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill recently made a pilgrimage to Pyongyang where he said he was "buoyed by the sense that we are going to be able to achieve our full objectives." Undoubtedly, North Korea was buoyed by the visit, which marked yet another administration retreat--this one from the position that such a trip was impossible before performance by the North.Indeed they do;
This Pyongyang visit symbolizes the full return of Clinton-era, bilateral negotiations with North Korea, and their predominance over the Six-Party Talks. The Bush administration has effectively ended where North Korea policy is concerned, replaced for the next 18 months by a caretaker government of bureaucrats, technocrats and academics. So complete was the transformation that putative Shadow Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke facilitated a number of Mr. Hill's bilateral contacts with Pyongyang. Kim Jong Il will now, in all likelihood, further his slow roll, waiting for America's 2008 elections, when the Clinton era may return de jure as well as de facto.
This is not a comment on partisan disagreements, but an important signpost that Bush's clear determination in 2001 to follow a different course has disappeared, replaced with the same flawed conceptual framework that failed so badly in the 1990s. New failures lie ahead.
U.S., N. Korea Officials Start Talks on Normalization of Ties
Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. and North Korean negotiators begin two-day talks today on how to normalize their relations, as part of ongoing discussions on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program.Of course this will require an end to the armistice between the United Nations Command (headed by the U.S.)and a peace agreement.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will meet his counterpart Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan at the U.S. mission in Geneva, in a meeting on normalizing ties, one of five working groups that operate under the nuclear talks forum.
And if you don't believe that terrorism and blackmail can be used successfully against the United States, here is a document prepared by the Congressional Research Service for members of Congress;
North Korea: Terrorism List Removal?
Updated April 6, 2007
North Korea also may have increased the incentive for the Bush Administration to strengthen this linkage. The South Korean newspaper, JongAng Ilbo, quoted "a diplomatic source knowledgeable on the New York talks" between Hill and Kim Kye-gwan on March 5-6, 2007, that Kim asserted that if the United States took steps to normalize relations, North Korea could disable the Yongbyon nuclear installations within a year (i.e., March 2008). Kim specifically mentioned as a key step the removal of North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. (Yi Sang-il and Chin Se-ku. Yongbyon nuclear facility can be disabled within a year.JongAng Ilbo (internet version), Mar. 13, 2007)And for all of those leftists™ out there who think that North Korea is somehow being falsely accused or put upon by the evil, imperialistic United States, here is another report to Congress;
North Korea: Chronology of Provocations, 1950 - 2003
Updated March 18, 2003
Read it all.