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Thread: Talking to the "Axis of Evil":not just for "liberal sissies" anymore

  1. #1

    Talking to the "Axis of Evil": not just for "liberal sissies" anymore

    For all those who disagree with chatting with countries like Iran and NK, even the Bush Administration apparently now thinks it was wrong not to do so.

    _________

    From the NYT today...

    U.S. Holds Direct Talks in North Korea
    By NORIMITSU ONISHI and DAVID E. SANGER
    Published: June 21, 2007
    TOKYO, June 21 — The United States’ chief nuclear negotiator began a surprise two-day visit to North Korea today, saying he wanted to speed up six-nation talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program.

    In the first visit to Pyongyang by a senior American official in nearly five years, the envoy, Christopher R. Hill, was scheduled to meet senior North Korean officials, including his counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, for one-on-one talks.

    Mr. Hill was scheduled to spend the night in the North Korean capital before leaving on Friday.

    Television footage showed Mr. Hill being greeted at Pyongyang’s airport by Ri Gun, the North’s deputy nuclear negotiator.

    “We want to get the six-party process moving,” Mr. Hill said. “We hope that we can make up for some of the time that we lost this spring, and so I’m looking forward to good discussions about that.”

    Mr. Hill’s trip was organized in such secrecy and so suddenly that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice alerted American allies, Japan and South Korea, just prior to his departure from Tokyo, where he had been visiting. Mr. Hill flew from Japan to South Korea, and then to Pyongyang aboard a small jet.

    “We’re all waiting for you,” Mr. Ri told Mr. Hill, as the two men could be seen smiling and chatting at the airport.

    Mr. Hill said that he received the invitation on Monday, adding, “We had to work fast to find an airplane.”

    Mr. Hill’s trip came just hours after the United States found a way to return to the North roughly $25 million in funds that were frozen for several years. The United States had frozen the money, saying it came from counterfeiting and trade in missiles and nuclear equipment.

    It took months for Washington to clear obstacles preventing the money’s return, a move that hawks in the administration had argued was deeply mistaken.

    Now Mr. Hill can pursue the next items on his agenda: Persuading North Korea to fulfill a commitment it made in February to slow down its main nuclear reactor, whose spent fuel has enabled the country to manufacture plutonium and gain the fuel for eight or more nuclear weapons, according to public American intelligence estimates.

    In the next step, the North is supposed to provide the United States and the other participants in the six-party negotiations on the issue — Japan, South Korea, Russia and China — with a detailed list of all of its nuclear programs and facilities.

    The Bush administration is also considering authorizing Mr. Hill to offer to buy from the North Koreans nuclear equipment that they are believed to have purchased several years ago from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear engineer. That equipment could conceivably give the North a second path to building a bomb, by enriching uranium.

    But American officials do not know whether the North ever learned the secrets of enrichment, or where enrichment facilities might be. So far, the North has denied that it possesses the equipment.

    “This is critical to the administration’s plan,” one senior official involved in the North Korea strategy said, “because unless they get their hands on this stuff, there is no way we can argue that we’ve stopped the North from making more nukes.”

    But it was unclear whether Mr. Hill was prepared to make the offer to the North now, or what form it would take. While Washington or its allies could offer cash for the equipment, they might also promise future deliveries of nuclear fuel to power the civilian nuclear reactors the North insists it needs.

    Mr. Hill’s trip was organized in such secrecy that he apparently did not convey his plans to top Japanese officials, whom he visited Wednesday in Tokyo. Japan has refused to join the disarmament deal that North Korea signed in February. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan will only consider joining the deal after resolution of the cases of about a dozen Japanese said to have been abducted by North Korea.

    In confirming reports of Mr. Hill’s trip on Wednesday night — after sidestepping questions during the day to give Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice time to alert the Japanese and other American allies — the State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, cast the trip as “part of the consultations” with all of the countries in the North Korea talks, trying to make it sound routine.

    But for years the administration has refused to engage one on one with the North Koreans.

    Ms. Rice had to maneuver around Vice President Dick Cheney, officials said in February, to reach the deal that gives the North hundreds of thousands of tons of fuel oil in return for step-by-step disablement of its facilities. It was exactly the kind of grand bargain the administration had avoided for years, as Mr. Cheney and others argued that the United States should not prolong the life of the North Korean government of Kim Jong-il, but rather seek ways to speed its demise.

    “Condi knows she needs a big win here,” said a senior administration official who has dealt with her often on North Korea. “They know they are getting nowhere on Iraq, and they probably won’t get far on Iran. She needs to show that she can reduce at least one big threat.”

    Late last week North Korea invited the return of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, presumably to witness the shutdown of its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

    Those inspectors were thrown out of the country in late 2002, after American officials confronted the North with evidence that it had sought to cheat on a previous nuclear accord by purchasing from Dr. Khan the centrifuges to enrich uranium. Under the first phase of the accord reached in February, North Korea agreed to shut down the reactor after its frozen funds were returned.

    In addition, South Korea will deliver 50,000 tons of fuel oil to the energy-starved North after the shutdown is confirmed. Mr. Hill said in Tokyo that the next round of talks should focus on how to carry out the February agreement’s second phase: declaring where the North has hidden decades of secret work, on the way to dismantling it. That is expected to prove even more difficult; several American officials say they did not believe the North would ever give up all of its nuclear program.

    The last time an American delegation traveled to Pyongyang to negotiate, it ended badly. Mr. Hill’s predecessor, James Kelly, went to Pyongyang in 2002 and opened the talks by telling the North Koreans that the Untied States had evidence they had purchased centrifuges and other equipment, and were breaking a 1994 accord. The Americans said the North first confirmed it had obtained the equipment, then later denied it.

    That started a confrontation that resulted in a cutoff of American fuel oil supplies to the North. In retaliation, the North ejected the international inspectors and moved its nuclear fuel for what it said was conversion into plutonium. That began a downward spiral of events, culminating in North Korea’s test of a nuclear device last October.

    Now, some Korea experts say the confrontation was avoidable. But President Bush was focused on Iraq, and his former aides say he was convinced that once Saddam Hussein fell, the North would be intimidated into giving up its weapons.

    David E. Sanger reported from Washington, and Norimitsu Onishi from Tokyo.
    Last edited by nuu faaola; 06-21-2007 at 03:25 PM.

  2. #2
    JetsInsider.com Legend
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    *sigh* :rolleyes:

    No one said the act of communication with these Nations is "wrong".

    The issue is WHAT is said, HOW it is said, and what POSITION we take when and if we do choose to talk/engage in "diplomacy". What we demand. What we are willing to give. Simply giving away the farm by giving them whatever they want without repurcussions or concessions is exactly the issue here. Not the act of discussion.

    You know, for folks who just loooooove to mock FoxNews Conservatives as "Sheeple", you sure do make a heck of alot of amazingly ill informed and vastly oversimplified arguments on this forum.

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Warfish]*sigh* :rolleyes:

    No one said the act of communication with these Nations is "wrong".

    The issue is WHAT is said, HOW it is said, and what POSITION we take when and if we do choose to talk/engage in "diplomacy". What we demand. What we are willing to give. Simply giving away the farm by giving them whatever they want without repurcussions or concessions is exactly the issue here. Not the act of discussion.

    You know, for folks who just loooooove to mock FoxNews Conservatives as "Sheeple", you sure do make a heck of alot of amazingly ill informed and vastly oversimplified arguments on this forum.[/QUOTE]

    You know, for someone who *sigh* gets frustrated with having their perceived argument oversimplified, you have no problem doing the same thing to others.

    I'm unaware of anyone who advocates giving NK and Iran "whatever they want."

    There are plenty of people on this board who argue all the time that there is no point to talking to these nations, and the Bush people agreed for a long time (the article says this was done over Cheney's objection, basically).

    This article describes a significant policy shift. I posted it because I thought it was worth discussing.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=Warfish]No one said the act of communication with these Nations is "wrong".[/QUOTE]

    Really? I guess you haven't been paying much attention the last few years...

  5. #5
    JetsInsider.com Legend
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]You know, for someone who *sigh* gets frustrated with having their perceived argument oversimplified, you have no problem doing the same thing to others.[/QUOTE]

    Of course I don't. I am an arrogant schmuck.

    Duh.

    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]I'm unaware of anyone who advocates giving NK and Iran "whatever they want."[/QUOTE]

    Bill Clinton.

    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]This article describes a significant policy shift. I posted it because I thought it was worth discussing. [/QUOTE]

    I agree, it is worth discussing.

  6. #6
    NK has nukes and rockets but they get diplomacy.

    Iran is trying to get nukes and rockets and they get saber-rattling, probably warfare.

    What's the difference? aren't both a threat to nat'l security?

  7. #7
    Jets Insider VIP
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    [QUOTE=bitonti]NK has nukes and rockets but they get diplomacy.

    Iran is trying to get nukes and rockets and they get saber-rattling, probably warfare.

    What's the difference? aren't both a threat to nat'l security?[/QUOTE]


    please list the acts of terrorism worldwide the NK's are responsible for or have helped promote/support.....


    now do the same for Iraq......

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]please list the acts of terrorism worldwide the NK's are responsible for or have helped promote/support.....


    now do the same for Iraq......[/QUOTE]

    Haven't they been labeled a terrorist state by us? If they have not committed acts of terrorism why would Bush have labeled them as part of the Axis of Evil?

    I'm shocked that you don't buy the Bush administration's view on this lock, stock and barrel.

    Recently they haven't been responsible for a lot but they have sent arms to an AQ linked group in southeast asia (which on the funny side is known as MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front :eek: ).

    Why wouldn't Iran want nukes when they see the US become buddy-buddy with Pakistan and extensively try diplomacy with North Korea?

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