Monday, December 24, 2007

North Korea Nutshell: Wish List for a New Year

As I'll be out of town for the holidays, I won't be able to provide any in-depth weekly review of events in and around North Korea (congrats to Lee Myung-bak as the new SKorea President). But instead of leaving a week with no post, I thought I would complete an important yearly exercise for those of us caught up in the pessimism that abounds in foreign policy. That exercise being to harness the positivity that surrounds the holiday season and attempt to view the next year in the most optimistic light possible. So in that spirit, I’ve put together a list of events that could, and I would argue should, happen in 2008. Most of the events here are linked in one or more ways, but the numerical order is random.

1. North Korea decides to make a complete declaration of all information pertaining to their production and usage of plutonium.

2. North Korea reveals information on its possible covert uranium program. This would include information on aluminum tubes purchased from Russia as well as possible centrifuges or other technology imported from Pakistan through the AQ Khan network.

3. During discussions concerning removal of North Korea from the terror related lists as well as the Trading with the Enemy Act, the United States makes completion of these removals contingent on progress on the Japanese abductee issue.

4. The North Koreans do the calculus and decide that it is more within their interest to move forward on Japanese abductees than risk losing U.S. cooperation.

5. The relationship between the U.S. and Japan avoids a possible pitfall and the Japanese lessen strict sanctions against North Korea and engage more thoroughly in the 6-Party talks.

6. Disablement of the 3 facilities at Yongbyon is completed and all related fuel rods are accounted for. A plan is agreed upon to have these rods shipped to either Russia, South Korea or Japan.

7. The U.S. Congress fully funds all aid requested by Ambassador Chris Hill.

8. Dialogue between North Korea and South Korea continues under the leadership of Lee Myung-bak. However, aid to the North becomes more contingent on progress in the denuclearization efforts.
8.5. A compromise is found over the extremely contentious Joint Fishing Zone on the two Koreas’ western coasts.

9. The 6-Party talks reconvene and agree on a final complete listing of North Korean facilities and certify the completion of disablement at Yongbyon. Upon completing this, a Joint Agreement is drafted and signed concerning the dismantlement of all existing nuclear facilities in return for a long-term comprehensive aid and development package.

10. The 6 parties assembled in these negotiations (Russia, China, U.S., Japan, South Korea, North Korea) agree to form a permanent organization for the purpose of regular meetings to discuss regional security issues. I would call it the North Asia-Pacific Peace and Security Initiative (NAPPSI), but that is just because it has a much snappier ring than “The 6-Party Talks.”

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