Global Politics

North Korea halts nuke disabling

(Is this for real in your view? Is this the unraveling of this process, or is this just bluffing?) this situation is very unique. There have been a number of documents signed by all the parties in the six-party talks. This is a legalistic way of looking at all the parties' grievances. Everyone was looking at August 11th as the date when North Korea would be taken off the list of state-sponsors of terrorism, because it takes 45 days for that process to complete. The U.S. made it contingent on North Korea to accept a verification protocol, but North Korea has yet to agree to this and as a result, August 11th has passed and North Korea is still on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea is now worried that the U.S. is reneging on its part of the denuclearization deal. (So what's the bigger picture here? Is the U.S. culpable?) The North Koreans believe this is an impasse caused by the U.S., but there are different interpretations of the U.S.'s actions. Some believe the North Koreans are waiting out the Bush administration, others believe North Korea is just trying to get as much out of this administration as it can. (How easy would it be for North Korea to start activities at this nuclear plant again?) Time is a factor here, and it would cost money and time for North Korea to get these facilities up and running again. (So how serious is this threat then?) Nuclear proliferation experts say the damage is already done in the sense that North Korea has already produced some quantity of weapons-grade plutonium.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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