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North Korea Agrees to Shut Down Main Reactor
Feb-13-07 07:58 am
The AP is reporting this morning:
North Korea agreed Tuesday after arduous talks to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program, just four months after the communist state shocked the world by testing a nuclear bomb.

The deal marks the first concrete plan for disarmament in more than three years of six-nation negotiations, and could potentially herald a new era of cooperation in the region with the North's longtime foes _ the United States and Japan _ also agreeing to discuss normalizing relations with Pyongyang.

Under the deal, the North will receive initial aid equal to 50,000 tons heavy fuel oil within 60 days for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor and related facilities at Yongbyon, north of the capital, to be confirmed by international inspectors.

For irreversibly disabling the reactor and declaring all nuclear programs, the North will eventually receive another 950,000 tons in aid.

This is good news! But a couple of comments:

First, I have no faith that North Korea will keep this deal. I could easily see the government renouncing it at some future point-- or covertly developing nuclear systems. The United States and its allies will need to be vigilant.

Second, it reminds me a bit of the 1994 Agreed Framework that Ambassador Robert Gallucci negotiated-- and the current Administration failed to honor. 

About the editor:

Anthony Clark Arend

Professor

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.

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» Learn more about the M.A. in International Law and Government at Georgetown University.


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