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I’m not sure you can do anything quickly or easily with the North.
– Mitchell Reiss
Sometimes we tend to focus more on the personalities and the conflicts, and it really caricatures the issues.
We are hopeful that the North Koreans can show a little bit more realism, a little bit more flexibility.
It’s time for the IRA to go out of business.
First of all we have to recognize that despite all the problems – and in some cases failures – that this regime has been much more successful, much more resilient, than people had anticipated.
Everyone I have spoken with so far recognises the need for the IRA to respond positively and every has said sooner is better than later and I think there is some concern if it does continue to delay much longer that the situation isn’t going to remain the same.
So the president set out the policy guidance and said it had to take place in a multilateral fashion so that other countries in the region could be invested in the success of this process.
You are either going forward or you are not.
The other countries did not share the same concern the United States had in the early ’90’s – that North Korea actually had an ongoing nuclear weapons program.
Again, I think we have much greater diplomatic weight by having all of us sit on the same side of the table wanting the same thing, and putting it to the North Koreans.
The nexus between terrorism and nuclear weapons, or even nuclear material, is obviously a current concern.
You have to play the cards you are dealt and if it has made it harder, it doesn’t matter, you still have to get the deal done.
Any agreement that you have isn’t going to be based on North Korea’s intentions or trust.
We have a model that we’re following, and it’s the Libya model.
And it has to do with having no inventory or stockpiles on the shelf, but items arrive as you need to build your product. What that means is that it’s much more difficult to actually find stockpiles of already built weapons.
There is a different future that is available to North Korea, if they choose differently.
What we can do is to explain as clearly as possible what the benefits would be of him going down one path, and what the potential consequences would be if he chooses another path.
The format’s better because it gives us a much stronger hand to play when going to the North Koreans unified, with our allies and partners in the region, all of us saying the same thing: telling them their current course is unacceptable.
Now North Korea certainly is located in a different place geographically, but I think it faces the same type of strategic decision. Does it want a different future for its people?
It’s up to Kim Jong Il to make that decision, and we can’t make that for him.
But with lots of good ideas, implementation is the key, and so we need to keep our eye on the ball as we go forward and make sure that people honor their pledges in terms of financial commitments, and that we actually use this money so that it makes a real difference.
We need to do a lot more thinking about how the regime is going to evolve, how the bad guys are going to adapt their tactics, and what measures we’re going to need in order to go forward.
First of all, I think the situation today is different. We’re in a different place than we were in ’93, ’94.
And so there has been a lot of diplomatic movement.
So, in a sense, the verification piece is irrelevant to the format issue.