A Deal Within Days?
The Joongang Ilbo optimistically reports that a deal to end the Six-Party Talks impasse is at hand:
Sources said negotiations between the United States and North Korea over the North’s nuclear program declaration “have reached a final phase,” suggesting Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy for the nuclear talks, may meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Gye-gwan during Hill’s tour this week to Asian countries, including Indonesia and East Timor.
“If they meet again this time, the meeting will not be for another negotiation but for striking a deal,” the source said.
The deal is expected allow North Korea to skirt around allegations it helped Syria develop a nuclear facility despite Israeli Prime Minister Barack’s recent admission to Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, as well as avoid declaring it’s highly-enriched uranium program. Joongang picks up the story:
According to the source, the anticipated declaration is expected to state that the North perceives the U.S. suspicion that the North may have uranium-enriched programs and may have exported nuclear programs to Syria, allowing the country to address the thorny issue while neither acknowledging nor denying it.
It will be interesting to see the results of this deal, if there are any. However, if the HEU program is no longer up for discussion, then I’m not sure what the point of any deal would be. Afterall, it was North Korea’s admission regarding the development of an HEU program that got us into this mess in the first place. Could the U.S. be setting the stage to allow North Korea to hang on to its nuclear stockpile?