N Korea agrees disarmament steps

From the BBC:

North Korea has agreed to take the first steps towards nuclear disarmament, as part of a deal reached during six-nation talks in Beijing.

Under the agreement, Pyongyang has pledged to close its Yongbyon reactor within 60 days, in return for 50,000 metric tons of fuel aid or economic aid of equal value.

The closure of Yongbyon will be verified by international inspectors.

The North will eventually receive another one million tonnes of fuel oil or an equivalent when it permanently disables its nuclear operations.

The US has agreed to begin the process of removing North Korea from its list of terror states and establish diplomatic relations.

Japan will also discuss normalising relations with the North.

Chief US negotiator, Christopher Hill, said the agreement reached this week was “only one phase of denuclearisation. We’re not done.”

One of the topics that looks set to be left for later discussion is the fate of any nuclear weapons the North already possesses.

The US and Japan have also pledged to begin talks with North Korea on building closer ties.

The agreement was read out in front of delegates at the close of the talks, by China’s chief envoy Wu Dawei.

Mr Wu said the deal was “favourable for the peace process in north-east Asia and for the improvement of ties between relevant countries”.

White House spokesman Tony Snow called it “a very important first step” towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Delegates from the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia had been meeting in Beijing since Thursday.

This is promising, let’s hope that it continues down this path, because we have enough to worry about with Iran.

Now, this is what I think happened. China has been applying real pressure and building a security wall on the N. Korean border. China is N. Korea’s major source of food and heating oil aid. This winter has been really hard on N. Korea and people are starving. Kim Jong-il is losing popularity and things are getting desperate. Now add to that that the U.N. sanction will cut off all the luxury goods mentally il loves so much and you can see why mentally il has decided to deal.

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