U.S. negotiator Chris Hill is leaving Beijing without a breakthrough, he was hoping to get the North Koreans to agree in writing to allow weapons inspectors to collect samples at nuclear sites. He said the North Koreans were not ready to accept a deal. The goal for the Bush administration has been to achieve a key diplomatic breakthrough on North Korean denuclearization before Bush leaves office in January. Instead they will hand over to the Obama administration a stalled two-year negotiation process. This analyst says there is an upside because this is better than handing over a crisis, so the overall situation is a positive one because a framework is in place. Some experts say the way for Obama to move forward is to take the diplomacy up a notch by appointing a high level special envoy for North Korea. The situation on the Korean peninsula is especially delicate right now and North-South relations are not good. There's also the issue of Kim Jong Il's health and he's said to be recovering from a stroke. It's unclear what might come after Kim and what it could mean for North Korea's nuclear status. And this analyst says that countries like the U.S., Japan, China, and South Korea haven't talked about preparing for a new North Korean leader much. Most analysts think the North Koreans are simply holding out to try and get a better deal from the next U.S. president.
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