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12 April 2013


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William R. Cumming

dca! I would argue that perhaps too late but the IC did predict the collapse of the Soviet Union.

ALL: John Kerry has announced that the US is willing to engage in two party talks with the DPRK! A major error by Kerry and Obama. N. Korea is a regional not US problem now but will be a US problem if we engage in two party talks.

IMO of course!

Neil Richardson


William R. Cumming

Neil R! MSM!

Neil Richardson


I think there's still some doubt as to whether the US would bilaterally negotiate with the DPRK. I've read Kerry's statements plus Q&A comments in Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo and there's no indication of a policy shift (These would have been vetted obviously). While I'm not ruling it out given the speed with which the US provided "exit ramps" to the DPRK, but this shift would be a big deal if true. I've just seen his interview with Jill Doherty in Tokyo. He said the US would "come to the table" if the DPRK would comply with previous agreements. That's not an acknowledgement of a major policy shift. It would be an enormous unilateral concession on the part of the United States.

And the only comment I could find that might remotely suggest some flexibility on the negotiation format is this from NYT. That isn't a persuasive indication IMHO.


Mr. Kerry indicated there were some circumstances in which he could imagine sending a representative to talk to North Korean leaders or engaging directly with the North Koreans through a diplomatic back channel. “It may be that somebody will be asked to sit down,” he said. “I am open personally to exploring other avenues; I particularly want to hear what the Chinese have to say,” Mr. Kerry said. “I am not going to be so stuck in the mud that an opportunity to actually get something done is flagrantly wasted. But fundamentally the concept is they’re going to have to show some kind of good faith here so that we are not going around and around,” he said. “They have to indicate that seriousness of purpose to go toward the denuclearization, and there are ways that they can do that.”

Remember that we've always maintained channels in NY and elsewhere. And there have been direct talks with the DPRK via envoys as late as April 7 last year. That's not the same as direct bilateral negotiations. There are enormous diplomatic and political costs to the United States for making this concession unilaterally for obvious reasons. The PRC wants us to negotiate bilaterally with the DPRK because they hope it would lead to a negotiated withdrawal of USFK (it's been their longstanding policy).

William R. Cumming

Thanks Neil! While I am positive I read of the shift as always could be wrong. But fully agree would be a major policy shift and that is why I flagged it.

Of course if President I would send a Nixonian shock to the rest of the 6 power negotiators dealing with N.Korean nuclear issues by stating is was the problem for others and if N. Korea becomes fully ballistic missile capable then we would ensure proper defensive and offensive capability to meet that threat in any nation-state not formally at peace with N.Korea that requested US assistance.

In other words a "ring of fire" around N. Korea!

BTW in nuclear targeting nuclear power stations often a priority target.

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