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Firsthand details on how the US had undermined the nuclear deal with North Korea


Paul Jay of The Real News informs us that there was an agreement about the North Korean nuclear program and that's towards the end of 1994 with the Clinton administration. And, at least the main points, went like this:

  • North Korea would allow the IAEA to conduct routine inspections of nuclear facilities and remain a party to the nuclear proliferation treaty.

  • US would lead the effort to build two light water nuclear reactors in North Korea to compensate for the loss of nuclear power. Target date to build those, 2003. 
     
  • Until they were built, the US would supply the North with 5,000 tons per year of heavy fuel and the US would suspend team-spirit military exercises with South Korea. 
     
  • The US would lift sanctions and remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, normalize the political relationship, which is still the subject to terms of the 1953 Korean War armistice. 
     
  • Both sides would provide formal assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

Former top US official, Larry Wilkerson, explained that the deal had failed because many from the US camp were undermining it.

As he said among other things:

What happened to the deal, is questionable even to the intelligence community.

Why would I say that North Koreans thought we weren't living up to it? [the deal] Because we weren't. We shipped the heavy fuel at times that were not exactly per the schedule. We shipped in quantities that might over a year or 18 months have finally added up to what we said we'd give them, but it never looked as if it was going to and it was never in one shipment.

More importantly, we 'dragged our heels' - as did the Europeans for a certain amount of time because they were in it too - on funding what was called 'The Korean Energy Development Organization', which was the consortium set up for the agreement between the US and the DPRK, but funded by others, like Japan, China and so forth. That money was not forthcoming, so, by 2003 we had not even poured all of the foundations for the two light water reactors.

If I'd been the North Koreans at that time, I probably would have been cheating too.

Steve Bosworth who was appointed the first head of the consortium, actually said about two weeks after the ink was dry on the agreement, 'it's two weeks, the ink is not even dry yet and it's a dead agreement.'

And he knew that the Republicans in the Congress and a few Democrats too, just as with the Iran nuclear agreement today, there's blame on both sides of the aisle, but the dominant blame is on my side, the Republican side, who didn't want this agreement to be successful, and so they stood right away to try to undermine it.

I think there is an element in the Congress and an element in the country, very wealthy element, that sees war to its benefit and needs these threats. And so, is not about to let these threats to go away.

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