It should be noted that last week’s secret US- North Korea discussions didn’t come entirely out of nowhere. In fact, North Korea has recently been suggesting such talks.
While Pyongyang obviously backed away from its demands that SecState Rice apologize to them for her “tyranny” remarks, the secret talks also seem to have been North Korea’s way of both giving and getting face-saving paths back to the six-party talks.
The meeting last Friday was probably in response to statements like this 8 May gem from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry:
There were only press reports that the U.S. is ready to recognize the DPRK as a sovereign state and hold bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party talks.
If there be any request from our side, we only expressed our intention to directly meet the U.S. side to confirm whether those reports are true before making a final determination.
This does not mean any intention to hold the DPRK- U.S. talks for discussing the issues between them. What we mean is a simple working procedure for confirming the U.S. stance in the true sense of the word.
Additionally, Selig Harrison reported last month that, according to First Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju, the United States must indicate that it will respect North Korea’s sovereignty. Kang added that “we want to hear it directly in open or secret discussions with the United States.”
According to Harrison, Kang also said:
We need a springboard to be at the six-party talks … some signal that the United States treats us with respect. We have to convince our Army and our people that we are acting in a way consistent with the dignity of a sovereign state that is respected as a strong military state. Itâ€™s not a difficult thing to be at the six-party talks, but we canâ€™t do so if we are going there under pressure.
It’s not directly related, but we should also note that the North Koreans “have also hinted”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2005_05/NK_Talks.asp that they’ll discuss their HEU program:
[A] congressional source, as well as a witness to at least one such discussion, told Arms Control Today that these officials have suggested to unofficial interlocutors within the past several months that Pyongyang is willing to discuss U.S. concerns about the program in private bilateral talks.
Hopefully, another round of six-party talks will happen soon. But the Bush people know that if their policy is failing, they can always resort to lying and blaming the Clinton administration.
For example, Tim Russert “asked Andy Card”:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7698687/ a couple of weeks ago, “Could it be said that President Bush was so focused on Iraq that another far greater threat emerged and that six nuclear bombs were developed by North Korea on his watch?”
Card then lied through his teeth:
Or on President Clinton’s watch. Some of those weapons may well have been produced as the North Koreans were violating the agreement that they had with President Clinton. And that’s what a North Korean delegate said to an American diplomat, and they said it with great pride.
This is total bullshit. Russert was clearly referring to weapons that may have been produced from the spent nuclear fuel that had been monitored by the IAEA until the Bush administration screwed the pooch in fall 2002. When Card mentioned that North Korea was “violating” the Agreed Framework, he was talking about North Korea’s HEU program. But Pyongyang has no uranium-based weapons that we know of.
The Washington _Times_, “shockingly”:http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20050502-094119-9101r.htm , referred to critiques of the Bush North Korea policy as “political cheap shots.”
Speaks for itself.