Early this week, we heard all about the great diplomatic breakthrough that brought North Korea to agree to end their nuclear weapons programs. In fact, it was "breaking news" on CNN late in the night on Sunday. By Monday morning, reports I heard on TV and the radio tended to include a warning that there was still much work to do with US-North Korea relations, and by the evening it was being described as only a last-ditch effort to keep talks alive. Now, if it even ever was a breakthrough, it seems to have fallen apart altogether:
North Korea's Foreign Ministry said: "The US should not even dream of the issue of [North Korea's] dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing light-water reactors, a physical guarantee for confidence-building."So we'll have more talks in November to try and hold them to an agreement they made in September that's similar if not identical to the one they made in 1994, that they admitted, in 2002, that they broke, necessitating these talks to begin with. Really sounds like progress, huh?
The Bush administration immediately rejected the demand, and said the issue would be discussed at the next round of six-party talks in November.
"This was obviously not the agreement they signed and we will see what the coming weeks bring," the State Department's Sean McCormack said.