March 23, 2007


North Koreans hungry for a deal (Donald Kirk, 3/24/07, Asia Times)

Rising food shortages in North Korea, however, lead analysts to believe that the country is in no position to stay away from the talks for long - and is indeed willing to give up its nuclear program, including its 5-megawatt experimental reactor, after extracting as many concessions as possible.

The World Food Program as well as non-governmental agencies say North Korea is again in the throes of a food shortage in which many people are expected to die. Good Friends, headquartered in South Korea, reports starvation after a "poorer than expected" harvest last year. South Korea has promised to resume food and fertilizer shipments, cut off after the North test-fired seven missiles in July, but North Korea needs far more to meet its needs this year, according to the WFP.

In fact, analysts in Washington and at the United Nations in New York believe that North Korea by now is no longer interested in flaunting its nuclear strength - one reason it signed on to the deal to give up its nukes. A number of reports from North Korea indicate that it had been planning for some time to discontinue activities at the Yongbyon complex but is keeping it open for purposes of negotiations for food, fertilizer and other forms of aid.

To be a Realist is to believe in negotiations for their own sake, even when your opponent across the table has nothing to offer.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 23, 2007 7:24 AM

It would be nice if somehow the world community could force NK and SK back together, get rid of Kim, and have SK deal with rebuilding NK.

Posted by: AWW at March 23, 2007 7:58 AM

The world community (UN) would declare a National Rutabaga Reunificiation Week and pronounce their job done.

Posted by: Gideon at March 23, 2007 10:20 AM

In negotiations like this, no one has anything to offer the US. All they can do is plead that they won't make (additional) trouble. But for dimwits like John Kerry and the "Realists", that's really all they want.

Posted by: ratbert at March 23, 2007 10:43 AM

AWW: I doubt the South Koreans have much interest in reunification, repeating the disastrous German experiment.

Posted by: jd watson at March 23, 2007 3:31 PM