U.S. Offers North Korea Aid For Dropping Nuclear Plans

U.S. Offers North Korea Aid For Dropping Nuclear Plans
December 6th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. Offers North Korea Aid For Dropping Nuclear Plans

U.S. Offers North Korea Aid For Dropping Nuclear Plans
New York Times
December 6, 2006
Pg. 14

By Helene Cooper and David E. Sanger
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 — The United States has offered a detailed package of economic and energy assistance in exchange for North Korea’s giving up nuclear weapons and technology, American officials said Tuesday.
But the offer, made last week during two days of intense talks in Beijing, would hinge on North Korea’s agreeing to begin dismantling some of the equipment it is using to expand its nuclear arsenal, even before returning to negotiations.
It is unclear whether North Korea will accept the offer, which is more specific — in both the details and the timing — than a vaguely worded statement of principles that the North signed in September 2005, a year before its first nuclear test.
The combination of incentives and demands was the focal point of three-way meetings on Nov. 28 and 29 involving Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill; North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Kim Kye-gwan; and Chinese officials at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. The incentives offered by the United States include food aid from the United States, Japan and South Korea, a senior administration official said.
The offer is significant because the administration has resisted making clear to North Korea exactly what kind of aid it would receive if it agreed to begin taking apart facilities like the plutonium reprocessing facility that turns spent fuel into weapons, and to provide a list of all its nuclear facilities. Hawks in the administration, particularly in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, have long opposed what they call “rewarding” North Korea for its nuclear test.
But State Department officials have argued that while the argument has gone on in Washington, the North has produced fuel for six or more weapons. They say the only successful strategy will be one that results in the beginning of dismantlement.
The incentives package also includes a pledge by the United States to work with North Korea toward finding a way to end the financial restrictions placed last year on a Macao bank, Banco Delta Asia, that was a main hub of the North’s international financial transactions. The Bush administration accused Banco Delta Asia of helping North Korea to launder money from drug smuggling and other illicit activities and to pass counterfeit $100 bills manufactured by the North’s government.
While the United States remains unwilling to lift the sanctions until the counterfeiting issue is resolved, a senior administration official said American officials had told the North Koreans they would work with them on the issue. “We would help them to help themselves,” the official said. “We would expect them to come forward with what they know, and we’d work through the problem.”
Describing the North Koreans’ response to the entire package of incentives and demands, the official, who was in the room during the exchanges in Beijing, said: “They listened intently. They were clearly in a listening and probing mode, and they said they were glad to be hearing this from us.”
The Beijing discussions took place in advance of planned six-country talks on the nuclear program. Diplomats from the other five countries — the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia — are wary that the off-again-on-again talks risk irrelevancy; they began in 2003 and have yet to produce anything beyond the agreement in principle of dismantlement for eventual aid.
No date has been set for the official talks.
North Korea boycotted the six-party talks last year after the United States cracked down on Banco Delta Asia, and on Oct. 9, Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test. On Oct. 31, North Korea agreed to return to the six-party talks.
Since then, though, American officials have balked at scheduling a meeting until first receiving a commitment from the North to start dismantling the nuclear program.

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