Diplomatic victory in North Korea

 In Nuclear Weapons

With tensions and saber-rattling increasing between the US and Iran, it is a key time for the US and the international community to see the potential of pragmatic, sustained diplomacy.  Such potential was revealed last week as the North Korean government agreed to disable all of its nuclear facilities by the end of the year:

This week’s agreement calls on the North to disable Yongbyon by the end of the year. Administration officials said they hoped that by disabling the facility, they would avoid a repeat of 2002, when North Korea shut down Yongbyon and then restarted the plant after talks broke down. “They were able to get the reactor up and running in two months,” a State Department official said. “By focusing on disablement, the hope is that the next interim measure is to do things to it so it can’t readily be turned back on.”

The agreement on Wednesday is part of a larger pact between North Korea, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and the United States — the so-called six parties that have been wrangling to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Hill, the chief American negotiator, said the pact also called for the United States to give North Korea assistance with its energy sector. State Department officials said the first $25 million, equivalent to 50,000 tons of fuel aid, would be making its way to North Korea shortly.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration still refuses to engage in unconditional talks with Iran, saying negotiations will only happen if Iran halts uranium enrichment.  We have seen the tragic results of using indiscriminate force to attempt to solve global problems.  The recent deal with North Korea also sets another precedent, demonstrating that diplomacy is not solely the purview of idealists, but is smart, pragmatic, and the best option for achieving our goals.

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