I Can Already Write The Rest of This Story. So I Did.

BEIJING, March 10 (UPI) — North Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Saturday said the United States has promised to lift its financial sanctions against his country.

“The North is keeping a close eye on the promise,” Kim Kye-gwan told reporters at Beijing’s Shoudu Airport as he headed home to Pyongyang, the Korea Times reported. “If the U.S. fails to solve the issue completely, we will have to take partial actions against it,” Kim said.

I wonder if this could be true.  There was a time when I would have dismissed it instantly.

BEIJING (AFP) – North Korea will retaliate if the United States fails to keep its promise to lift financial sanctions imposed on the communist regime, Pyongyang’s chief nuclear negotiator said Saturday. [….]

“The US has promised the North it would scrap financial sanctions on the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) and the North is keeping a close eye on the promise,” Kim Kye-Gwan was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency at Beijing international airport before boarding a flight to Pyongyang.

Promises like this are not only inconsistent with Chris Hill’s testimony in the House last week, as well as his written statement, it’s pretty questionable that he could keep them if he wanted to.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The abrupt end to normalization talks between Japan and nuclear-armed North Korea is casting a shadow on US-led efforts to halt the Stalinist state’s nuclear weapons drive.
 
While experts ruled out any immediate impact on an aid-for-disarmament accord signed with North Korea last month, they warned that the emotional dispute over North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens could dampen Washington-Pyongyang normalization efforts.

I think the time stamp will end up being the most interesting part of this post, which from here on consists of  news reports that have not  yet been written.    Wire services take note, copy the text into a file, and book yourself a  month or two of well-earned rest.  Give or take a few months on each byline, with the margin of error increasing with the passage of time, I’m guessing I  can already chart the flight path of this controlled stall.

Beijing, Mar. 15.    Chinese  Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said today that  next session of six-party talks, scheduled for March 19th, will be postponed while diplomats try to resolve what he termed “minor differences” in implementing  the breakthrough February 13th denuclearization accord ….

Washington, April 3.   Amb. Christopher Hill, the U.S. negotiator to denuclearization talks with North Korea, defended a  troubled  nuclear  agreement amid signs that North Korea would fail to meet an April 13th deadline to shut down and seal its 5-Megawatt reactor at Yongbyong.  Hill, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, urged the audience to consider the unique difficulties of negotiating with North Korea.

“The diplomatic process  sometimes requires exceptional patience, and that’s often the case with North Korea in particular,” Hill said, “but if we intend to accomplish the important goals of many years of patient diplomacy, we have to understand that there will be setbacks, and we have to be prepared to work around them.”

Macau, April 5.   A senior official of the Chinese Finance Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Times that the U.S. Treasury Department has completed its investigation into Banco Delta Asia and  Macanese authorities had released  $15 million in frozen  North Korean assets….

Washington, April 6th.   Japanese  Prime Minister  Shinzo Abe  used a hastily arranged visit to Washington to  ask President Bush not to remove North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism until North Korea accounts for Japanese citizens Japan believes North Korea abducted.  According to senior administration officials,  who spoke to the Post  on condition of anonymity, the issue could put significant new strains on U.S.-Japanese relations, which had recently drawn closer as the nations coordinated their response to the North Korean threat.

A working group on the resolution of bilateral issues between Japan and North Korea deadlocked in March over North Korea’s refusal to discuss the abduction issue.

State Department spokeman Sean McCormack, asked to comment on Aso’s visit, reaffirmed that the United States continues to view the abduction issues as one of serious concern ….

Seoul, April 11.  Mohammad El-Baradei, Chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters today that North Korea had permitted inspectors to visit North Korea’s 5-Megawatt reactor at Yongbyon for the first time since 2002.  El-Baradei, who visited Pyongyang  last month to help secure North Korea’s cooperation with IAEA inspectors,  deflected questions, however, about whether North Korea had shut down the reactor as agreed in a breakthrough agreement signed  last February.

Seoul, April 15th.   North Korea’s state-run Korea Central News Agency, monitored from Seoul, claimed that North Korea would never give up its “nuclear deterrent” and said that any further pressure on the North would “draw unyielding countermeasures to make the imperialists and their puppets  tremble.” 

The broadcast,  which marked the birthday of North Korea’s late  founder, Kim Il Sung, marked another potential setback to a February denuclearization agreement.  The Bush Administration had heralded the February agreement as a rare diplomatic breakthrough.

South Korean Unification Minister  Lee Jae-Joung, interviewed  as he departed  for the Kumgang Mountain resort in North Korea for  talks on the resumption of aid, downplayed the statement’s significance  and suggested that its language was more restrained than previous years’ broadcasts.  Lee expressed confidence that the North would abide by the terms of the agreement  once “minor misunderstandings” were resolved, and also  predicted that North Korea would attend a new session of six-party talks before the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the  final  shipment of  an initial  promised delivery of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil left the port of Incheon in the South for the North Korean port of Nampo….

Beijing, August  26.  North Korea’s delegate to six-party talks walked out of the first session  today, after  accusing the United States  of breaking promises to  normalize diplomatic and trade relations with the North.  The North  Korean walkout was the  latest sign of trouble for  a February denuclearization agreement.  Asked to comment on reports that North Korea had failed to show for denuclearization working group meetings in Beijing for  more than two months, State Department spokesman Sean McCormick …. 

Nashua, Jan. 4, 2008.   Presidential candidates traded barbs today over North Korea’s decision to evict IAEA monitors from  the reclusive nation, dashing hopes for a  diplomatic resolution to the crisis that had been raised by a breakthrough  February 2007 agreement. 

North Korea’s  KCNA new agency  said the eviction was justified by the U.N. agency’s “belligerent and arrogant demands” to inspect an underground facility below  Mount Chunma,  a suspected  site for a uranium enrichment program whose existence North Korea denies.  Democratic front-runner Al Gore denounced a call by Republican ….

New York, Mar. 12.   General Secretary Ban Ki Moon expressed “grave concern” at reports that a North Korean shipment of highly enriched uranium was intercepted in the Strait of Molucca by an Australian frigate while bound for an unnamed nation in the Middle East. 

In Beijing, Ambassador Joseph DiTrani left the Chinese capital without meeting his North Korean counterpart to discuss restarting stalled denuclearization talks.

The U.N. Security Council, meeting in emergency session, struggled to agree on language for a nonbinding resolution.  According to diplomatic sources, Chinese and Russian delegates objected to language  ….

Pyongyang, Mar. 26, 200?.   Foreign diplomats in North Korea’s capital reported calm on the streets today, following  reports of food riots and a bloody  massacre in the city of Sinuiju, near the country’s border with China.   The U.S. Interests Section remained under heavy guard.

North Korean state radio and television  continued to broadcast martial music and harvest scenes for a third consecutive day.  North Korea has had no official reaction to the reported violence in Sinuiju, and North Korea’s newly established interests section in Washington remained closed, though staff could be observed inside.

Reporters on the Chinese side of the border witnessed Chinese police and soldiers turning away refugees  crossing the Yalu River  from the North Korean side, including some who appeared to be seriously wounded.   Chinese  merchants  in Sinuiju, reached by cell phone,  offered conflicting accounts on whether the army had reestablished control over the city and whether army and police units had also clashed. 

Along the Yalu River border, Chinese police and soldiers continued to detain both journalists and refugees, and the International Committee of the Red Cross criticized China’s refusal to allow ….

9 Comments

  1. Great post!! Do you hold out any hope that Kim Jong Il actually felt this last round of sanctions and bank freezes, and will actually do something to denuclearize in order to return to his previous lifestyle, as disgusting as that is?

  2. Yes, he felt the sanctions, no he won’t denuclearize, because we seized defeat from the jaws of victory and eased up on the pressure.

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