[Originally, “Hill: We Have a Deal.”]
[Update: I’ve pasted the full text of this “agreement” onto the bottom of this post. Thanks to a reader.]
The U.S. envoy to talks on nuclear program said Tuesday that a tentative agreement had been reached on initial moves for the communist nation’s disarmament. “I’m encouraged by this that we were able to take a step forward on the denuclearization issue,” Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said.
He declined to give details of the draft, but said it outlined specific commitments for Pyongyang and would set up working groups to implement those goals to begin meeting in about a month.
Hill said the draft still needed to be reviewed by the home governments of the six countries at the talks, but he was positive about its contents.
“We feel it’s an excellent draft, I don’t think we’re the problem,” a weary-looking Hill told reporters after a fifth day of negotiations at the talks in Beijing that lasted more than 16 hours. [AP]
Any wagers on how long this one holds? The last one didn’t make it for an entire day.
My guess is this thing will last slightly longer, only to unravel sometime between the New Hampshire Primary and the Republican Convention. This strongly smells of a “handoff strategy.” How ironic if Bush ends up handing this problem back to the same people who handed it to him in the first place.
Afterthought: Oddly enough, our hopes are now invested in Kim Jong Il being dumb enough to renege on this deal publicly. Could he be that stupid? Well, yes, he could. But my greater fear is that he’ll pretend to agree, knowing that will buy him time. In any event, I’ll leave my mind slightly ajar until I see what the North Koreans will have to do, when they’ll have to do it, and how irreversible it will be.
Update: Having read Richardson’s post and this article, I don’t think it’s a deal at all. Pretty much everything — including the North’s nuclear stockpiles, its uranium program, light water reactors, and the amount of
Dane Geld energy aid it will receive — all are left unresolved. Nor is it clear whether we’ve lifted any blocks on North Korea’s laundered money. I’d say that if we deliver Kilowatt One on those amorphous terms, we can safely declare that the Administration caved. The critics will say that we could have had the same deal in 2002 by overlooking the same lies we’re agreeing to overlook now. Sadly, they will be right. Our only hope is that this will dissolve on contact with higher authorities in Washington and Tokyo.
Update 2: Looks like I’m on record hating this thing even before John Bolton.
Update 3: Agreed Framework II:
In essence, if the North agrees to the deal, a country that only four months ago conducted its first nuclear test will have traded away its ability to produce new nuclear fuel in return for immediate energy and other aid. It would still hold on to, for now, an arsenal that American intelligence officials believe contains more than a half-dozen nuclear weapons or the fuel that is their essential ingredient.
The accord also leaves unaddressed the fate of a second and still-unacknowledged nuclear weapons program that the United States accused North Korea of buying from the Pakistani nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan in the late 1990s, in what appeared to be an effort to circumvent a nuclear freeze the North negotiated in 1994 with the Clinton administration. [NYT]
Elsewhere, the article speaks of the “permanent disablement” of the Yongbyon reactor within 60 days, which seems inconsistent.
Congress will have to agree to this awful deal. I suspect it will; I hope it won’t. Hill’s explanation of why North Korea will comply this time just made me shake my head:
If they renege on this,” said one senior administration official, who would not speak on the record because the deal had not been signed, “they are sticking their fingers into the eyes of the Chinese.
Yeah. That would be the same Chinese who kept right on giving them aid and trading without restriction after Resolution 1718. What this deal means is that we’ll be talking about North Korea’s nukes for years. Former Clinton official Gary Samore summed it up pretty accurately:
“This is a freeze with a promise to negotiate subsequent disarmament,” said Mr. Samore. “And a North Korean promise to negotiate later is pretty worthless.
If this thing is not completely worthless by the time of the New Hampshire primary, it will only be because everyone wants to pretend that it’s not. The Bush Administration will have its false victory, and the Dems tell them how much sooner they could have had an equally false one. The lesson for Ahmedinejad and Chavez will be to make their deals just as election season begins, when American presidents tend to look for a deal — any deal, no matter how facially defective — to cover their exits.
Like Richardson, I suspect that there are many “points of failure,” and that at least one of them will split wide open promptly. Unfortunately, I think this Administration is perfectly ready to overlook multiple failures. After seven years in power, it never really managed to make up its mind about which Korea policy it was really pursuing.
[Update: Full Text below; fisk away.]
The Third Session of the Fifth Round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing among the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States of America from 8 to 13 February 2007.
The Parties held serious and productive discussions on the actions each party will take in the initial phase for the implementation of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005. The Parties reaffirmed their common goal and will to achieve early denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and reiterated that they would earnestly fulfill their commitments in the Joint Statement. The Parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the Joint Statement in a phased manner in line with the principle of “action for action”.
II. The Parties agreed to take the following actions in parallel in the initial phase:
1. The DPRK will shut down and seal for the purpose of eventual abandonment the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility and invite back IAEA personnel to conduct all necessary monitoring and verifications as agreed between IAEA and the DPRK.
2. The DPRK will discuss with other parties a list of all its nuclear programs as described in the Joint Statement, including plutonium extracted from used fuel rods, that would be abandoned pursuant to the Joint Statement.
3. The DPRK and the US will start bilateral talks aimed at resolving pending bilateral issues and moving toward full diplomatic relations. The US will begin the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state-sponsor of terrorism and advance the process of terminating the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act with respect to the DPRK.
4. The DPRK and Japan will start bilateral talks aimed at taking steps to normalize their relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.
5. Recalling Section 1 and 3 of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005, the Parties agreed to cooperate in economic, energy and humanitarian assistance to the DPRK. In this regard, the Parties agreed to the provision of emergency energy assistance to the DPRK in the initial phase. The initial shipment of emergency energy assistance equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) will commence within next 60 days.
The Parties agreed that the above-mentioned initial actions will be implemented within next 60 days and that they will take coordinated steps toward this goal.
III. The Parties agreed on the establishment of the following Working Groups (WG) in order to carry out the initial actions and for the purpose of full implementation of the Joint Statement:
1. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
2. Normalization of DPRK-US relations
3. Normalization of DPRK-Japan relations
4. Economy and Energy Cooperation
5. Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism
The Working Groups will discuss and formulate specific plans for the implementation of the Joint Statement in their respective areas. The WGs shall report to the Six-Party Heads of Delegation Meeting on the progress of their work. In principle, progress in one WG shall not affect progress in other WGs. Plans made by the five WGs will be implemented as a whole in a coordinated manner.
The Parties agreed that all WGs will meet within next 30 days.
IV. During the period of the Initial Actions phase and the next phase – which includes provision by the DPRK of a complete declaration of all nuclear programs and disablement of all existing nuclear facilities, including graphite-moderated reactors and reprocessing plant – economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO), including the initial shipment equivalent to 50,000 tons of HFO, will be provided to the DPRK.
The detailed modalities of the said assistance will be determined through consultations and appropriate assessments in the Working Group on Economic and Energy Cooperation.
V. Once the initial actions are implemented, the Six Parties will promptly hold a ministerial meeting to confirm implementation of the Joint Statement and explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
VI. The Parties reaffirmed that they will take positive steps to increase mutual trust, and will make joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum.
VII. The Parties agreed to hold the Sixth Round of the Six-Party Talks on 19 March 2007 to hear reports of WGs and discuss on actions for the next phase.