North Korea has agreed to all U.S. nuclear inspection demands and the Bush administration responded Saturday by removing the communist country from a terrorism blacklist. The breakthrough is intended to salvage a faltering disarmament accord before President Bush leaves office in January.Not everyone thinks it's good news.
"Every single element of verification that we sought going in is part of this package," State Department Sean McCormack said at a a rare weekend briefing.
North Korea will allow atomic experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites on mutual consent. The North will permit experts to verify that it has told the truth about transfers of nuclear technology and an alleged uranium program.
Critics pilloried the development because it addresses only the North's plutonium program and does not deal with its involvement in spreading nuclear weapons technology or alleged uranium enrichment activities.The farthest-reaching legacy of the Bush administration may not be the wars fought, but the war avoided.
"With today's action, the administration has given up a critical instrument of leverage," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "By rewarding North Korea before the regime has carried out its commitments, we are encouraging this regime to continue its illicit nuclear program and violate its pledge to no longer provide nuclear assistance to extremist regimes."
"We are also sending a strong message to other rogue nations, such as Iran and Syria, that we will not hold them to their commitments, even as we give in to their demands," she said.
I hope it's good news.