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North Korea nuke concessions raise doubt
Plan came from leader’s father
North Korea’s agreement to suspend nuclear tests and uranium enrichment in exchange for food aid provides little insight into whether new leader Kim Jong-un is seeking to soften the totalitarian nation’s posture toward the rest of the world.
The agreement revealed Wednesday would have been announced in December if longtime dictator Kim Jong-il had not died.
U.S. officials framed the agreement as a modest first step toward thawing relations with Pyongyang, where a succession process is under way to make Kim’s 27-year-old son, Kim Jong-un, the youngest person ever to head a nuclear-armed nation.
Regional analysts cautioned against reading too deeply into the development.
“It’s important to understand that the outlines in the agreement were already essentially in place in December before Kim Jong-il died,” said Scott Snyder, who heads the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“So it’s hard to say much about whether this represents anything about the decision-making process of the new leadership because it’s basically, in terms of the overall direction of the agreement, a decision that the father made. It just hadn’t been stamped.”
Mr. Snyder noted that a Feb. 23 meeting between U.S. and North Korean officials, which spawned Wednesday’s joint announcement by the two nations, actually had been scheduled for late December.
North Korea also will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to return to “verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon and confirm the disablement of the [nuclear] reactor and associated facilities,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
They will “finalize administrative details necessary to move forward with our proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance,” she said.
Concerns over the likelihood that Kim Jong-un will do little to break from the isolationist bent embraced by his father have run high since last weekend.
Getting duped by the North
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About the Author
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
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