North Korea will return to the table in Beijing in December and the Six Party Talks brokered by China will recommence after a fifteen month hiatus with the two Korea's, the US, Japan and Russia in attendance. Yet unless President Bush makes a sharp turn of direction the prospects for a solution are bleak. The North has returned to talks it abandoned in late 2005 after the September 19th Joint Statement that was portrayed at the time as a breakthrough. But it fact it was the papering over an enormous division between the two main protagonists. Complete Verifiable Irreversible Disarmament would only be acceptable to Pyongyang in exchange for an end to US hostility and a new indigenous supply of power.
For the North the reference to negotiations on the supply of a nuclear power plant at the appropriate time meant 'now', while the US read 'never'. It might have kept the North from testing its nuclear bomb for a few more rounds of inconclusive talking, but it was a pause not a plan. As it turned out the ink was barely dry before, from a North Korean perspective, the US demonstrated their continued hostility and unilateralism. They forced North's bank of choice in Macau to freeze their assets on the grounds the North was money laundering.Obviously according the Moronically EUseless Pontificator the whole crisis is due to the US. The fact that N Korea demonstrably broke the conditions under which it received assistance in the 1990s, thus making an unreliable partner, and the fact that it has been named repeatedly as a major supplier of counterfeit currency, drugs etc etc is not worthy of mention. Obviously the fact that MEPs can blatently break the law and recieve nothing more than minor slaps on the wrist has meant that Glyn thinks that all people he likes (i.e. anyone who disagrees with America) should receive the same light non-punishment. But it gets worse, claiming that enforcing sanctions for a mere $24M loss can only be a sign of either stupidity or an evil plot:
In light of the earlier Joint Statement screwing it up for $24M, small change for American organised crime, is either stupidity or conspiracy. The North chose to interpret it as the latter. So off the went on the road to demonstrating their nuclear credentials and on October 9th got half way there with an underground nuclear test that was a whimper rather than a bang, yielding a blast of only 1000 tonnes of TNT a quarter of that forecast.One wonders at what point it is OK to apply sanctions. $100M? $1B? never? He then goes on to make it clear that even arms-dealing is OK so long as you aren't American:
[...] As an Axis of Evil country that coincidently had a high-level Delegation in Teheran meeting with President Ahmadinejad in mid-November, one of the more enthusiastic consumers of its short and medium range missile, it will take some convincing that the US leopard has changed its spots. They are looking for complete verifiable irreversible suspension of US hostility, both military and economic towards them and a nuclear package deal.Surely it would be better to say that the suspension of dealings with Iran would help convince the US that the N Korean leopard has changed its spots? The US has made no military threats against them and has merely enforced UN resolutions in economic terms. Admittedly the US helped get the UN resolutions to pass but, contrary to Glyn's apparent theory, the US has been far from alone in its stance. Indeed given the example of Libya a few years back it is clear that the US can quickly remove economic pressure once the regime stops trying to create and/or export WMD etc. Unlike Libya, N Korea has not benefitted from the suspension of such pressure because, unlike Libya, it has persistently refused to stop its activities.
Neither can be the result of a bilateral deal. Pyongyang and Washington agree on one thing, that you can't trust the other. And they're both right. Any final solution requires both sides' agreement, but not enthusiasm. The nuclear package could be put together with South Korean money, Russian technology and Chinese political will. The South is just too petrified of a shotgun reunification to do otherwise, will the Russians were keen right back at the beginning to sell their nuclear technology for Northern consumption.
As for the Chinese they want to avoid a regional arms race, which will be triggered if in response to the North Korean 'threat' Japan goes ahead and deploys Theatre Missile Defence. This will, at the same time, neutralise China's offensive capability forcing them to multiply its 20 ICBM's by an order of magnitude and probably fit them with Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles. With a booming civilian economy about to make the global grade the last thing the Chinese want is a repeat of the late sixties when in response to the threat from the Soviet Union they increased Military spending by 80% between 1968 - 71 seriously distorting the economy and slowing the recovery from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.There is some truth here. Amazingly. Although the brief discussion of 1970s Chinese history is, IMHO, further evidence of a failure to grasp cause and effect. But as we get to the end we discover the whole reason hy Glyn has written this anti-American screed:
Yet there is a way that will not remove US hostility but rather tame it. That is by providing multiple guarantors of any settlement. The clever thing for China and the two Korea's to do now is to widen rather than narrow the number of participants, even if at least initially they only have observer status. They might force Japan and the US from their procrastination as well as give the North Koreans the confidence to start the long march to a comprehensive settlement.
First on the invitation list should be the EU. As the Pyongyang's most serious interlocutors not already present and providers of half a billion euros of financial assistance to North Korea over the past few years the EU has the financial and political muscle to make the difference.Yes it looks like Glyn wants to spend EU money on N Korea so that he can be an observer to the 6 party talks and receive VIP treatment. Yes, even if Glyn fails to get re-elected as an MEP he should still be able to wangle some sort or a EUrocratic job as N Korea expert and thus jet off the Beijing at regular intervals. Wonderful.