Monday, February 12, 2007

Pending North Korea deal?

Possibly. Maybe. It sure sounds like a nice pay off.

There is new hope that North Korea may be nearing a nuclear disarmament agreement. A compromise was reached that would give North Korea one million tons of fuel oil and electricity, ABC News' Martha Raddatz has learned.

The major sticking point in the six-party-talks in Beijing had been North Korea's demand for an energy package. The country had requested two million tons of fuel oil and two million kilowatts of power before it would agree to begin shutting down its nuclear program.

While the deal gives North Korea half of what it initially demanded, it's twice as much fuel oil as was offered to Kim Jong Il during the Clinton adminstration's 1994 U.S.-North Korea disarmament agreement. That deal would have sent 500,000 tons of fuel oil a year to North Korea, but it was squashed five years ago when North Korea was accused of conducting a secret uranium enrichment program.

You'll have to pardon me for not dancing in the street. I have no doubt that this deal will be broken eventually, too. It's North Korea's M.O. It isn't a matter of if, it is a matter of when. The nuclear program will go silent for a while. Then, a little way into this fuel aid, the North Koreans will feign offense at something and quietly start it right back up again. But hey, if this deal gets done, it let's us pretend that there isn't a problem on the Korean peninsula for a little while, and that's what the world is about today, isn't it? Pretending problems don't really exist?

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