Friday, July 28, 2006

North Korea Rejects Six-Party Talks, Again

North Korea wants nothing to do with six-party talks. The reason the North gave for leaving the talks in the first place was that the U.S. froze some of its overseas accounts in the belief they held the proceeds of Pyongyang's counterfeiting scheme. North Korea wants the freeze lifted before it returns to the table:

"The U.S. says it's difficult to lift the financial sanctions, but there is nothing difficult. If the U.S. wants to, it can do it easily," North Korean spokesman Chong Song Il said in Kuala Lumpur. "We believe if the U.S. earnestly wants dialogue, it can do this."

The defiance may be because the North really isn't interested in talks, but rather is pursuing what Joshua Richardson at Korea Liberator calls "strategic disengagement". From the Washington Post again:
The North's diplomatic isolation was evident in the decision by the United States and other nations to hold a separate meeting on the sidelines of ARF without Paek, ostensibly to discuss northeast Asian security.

"They are completely isolated," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill. "If it's isolation they want, it's going to be isolation they get."

It may be what they want. Leaving the negotiations means they can develop and sell their weapons without restraint, and will be beyond the reach of international responsibilities.

The greatest advantage North Korea has right now is that China and South Korea desperately want that state to survive: they are petrified at the tought of a North Korean collapse, perhaps only for economic reasons. The North can be as reckless as it wishes knowing that the wealthy states at its border will ultimately choose to support it with trade and charity, and that those states will oppose any sanctions that might cripple the Pyongyang regime.


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James J. Na said...

That term actually came from Richardson, who is, along with Joshua, my blog-partner at The Korea Liberator.

Joshua then ruminated about it further.

McKreck said...

Sorry for the mistake and thank you for the clarification.

Love your blog.