Condoleezza Rice sees no breakthrough with N. Korea

Posted Mar 14, 2008 by Owen Weldon
According to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice there is not going to be an immediate breakthrough with North Korea because differences remain with North Korea on its overdue nuclear declaration.
Rice spoke after Chris Hill, the lead U.S. negotiator with North Korea, on Thursday to try to revive a 2005 stalled agreement in which North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for diplomatic and economic benefits.
North Korea did not produce a promised declaration of its nuclear programs last year and that is why the deal has been bogged down. The deal also suffered a severe setback when North Korea tested a nuclear device two years ago.
North Korea suspected pursuit of uranium enrichment and its reluctance to discuss any transfers of nuclear technology to other countries has been a sticking point of the declaration.
"My understanding is that there will now have to be some period of referral to capitals and so I wouldn't expect anything immediate, but it's time to solve this issue of the declaration and that's what we are going to keep doing," Rice told reporters.
Rice goes on and said that the disagreements was still over the substance of what North Korea may disclose and has nothing to do with the form.
U.S. officials said the possibility of North Korea addressing the proliferation and uranium enrichment issues in separate documents, providing what might be a face-saving solution for Pyongyang.
Rice said that Hill has no plans on going back to Geneva even though other U.S. officials remained for talks with the North Koreans.
The two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States hammered out the 2005 agreement and under the second phase of the agreement North Korea committed to disable its nuclear facility where plutonium was produced.
U.S. officials have stressed that North Korea must lay to rest U.S. questions about any proliferation activities and its suspected pursuit of uranium enrichment.
Back in September a Syrian nuclear site was bombed by Israel and the United States has questions about any possible North Korean role. Syria has denied having a nuclear program.
An enriched uranium program would give North Korea a second source of fissile material and than it would be able to produce nuclear weapons in addition to its plutonium-based nuclear facilities.
It is only a matter of time when North Korea will be forced to give up it's nuclear program. Hopefully this will not lead to another war in the future but it seems that talking is not really getting the job done in this case.