Friday, September 16, 2005

The 6-Party Talks. Stalled Again???? Go Figure.

After having just reconvened after a long break in the 4th round of the super-duper 6-party talks, an impasse between North Korea and the US has left the talks stuck in the mud...once again. Similar to the situation before the long 'break', the North Koreans cannot agree with the US on the issue of having a peaceful nuclear energy program in the form of a Light Water Reactor (LWE) power plant.

The situation was predictable as most countries agreed with North Korea's request for a nuclear power program to fill its domestic needs rather than being dependant on its neighbors. But I think the problem goes deeper. North Korea is at heart still at war. The US and Japan are still seen as active enemies that North Korea fears will attack any time. For North Korea to suddenly accept to be dependent on its enemy (or their allies, such as South Korea) to supply them with crucial resources, is silly. There are many steps that need to be fulfilled first. So in other words this calls for a comprehensive plan, or a Grand Bargain (thank to Mr. O'Hanlon over at Brookings) to solve most of these problems at once, to prevent some problems standing in the way of each other.

A Grand Bargin should include not only the dismantling of the North's nuclear program, but also signing a comprehensive peace treaty, agreeing to de-militarizing the peninsula, re-establishing diplomatic relations, etc. etc. Before this happens, it seems very unlikely that the North will engage in an economic and inter-dependence role with its enemies, basically due to the threat it perceives in the other 6-party members, and the US' lack of a comprehensive strategy to finally come to terms and solve the North Korean dilemma.

Comments, please.


Ahistoricality said...

You go first...

That's the problem with the "Grand Bargain": if it can't all happen simultaneously (and I agree that you've got the parameters pretty much right), then someone looks like they're backing down.

cookiesap on-line said...


I agree that's a problem. alas, that's also the problem with other negotiations, especially with George Bush where the US is very hesitant to take any "first steps" which may seem (in his eyes) appeasing (or in my eyes , conciliatory). The US may have to take that first step, as it is the "stronger" - to show it is a more mature country, and may have some ideals that North Korea should follow (albeit not all). But the problem, I guess, is that Americans are constantly sceptic about North Korea's human right's record, which often brands the country as a "looney nation". I think this could be helped by looking at history (US-Libya, the European Union, and US-USSR conflicts) and how vigilant reconciliation can reshape history from a suspicious power political (realist) ethos to a world where forgiveness and helping those that are weaker is the modus operandi.

I talk too much - but thanks for your comment.

Ahistoricality said...

Well, maybe it can happen...

It looks pretty good on paper.