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Bush Lifts Sanctions Against North Korea

Old 06-26-08, 07:47 AM
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Bush Lifts Sanctions Against North Korea

http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss...r_wh/us_nkorea

Bush says he will lift sanctions against N. Korea

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

President Bush said Thursday he will lift key trade sanctions against North Korea and remove it from the U.S. terrorism blacklist, a remarkable turnaround in policy toward the communist regime he once branded as part of an "axis of evil."

The announcement came after North Korea handed over a long-awaited accounting of its nuclear work to Chinese officials on Thursday, fulfilling a key step in the denuclearization process. Bush said the move was "a step closer in the right direction" although he made clear the United States remains suspicious about the communist regime in Pyongyang.

"The United States has no illusions about the regime," Bush said in a statement that he read to reporters in the Rose Garden.

Specifically, Bush said the U.S. would erase trade sanctions under the Trading With the Enemy Act, and notify Congress that, in 45 days, it intends to take North Korea off the State Department list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

North Korea's declaration falls short of what the administration once sought, and the White House already has come under criticism from some conservatives. Bush said there was still a long way to go.

Bush said the U.S. message to North Korea was, "We will trust you only to the extent you fulfill your promises. I'm pleased with the progress. I'm under no illusions. This is the first step. This isn't the end of the process. It is the beginning of the process."

"If North Korea continues to make the right choices it can repair its relationship with the international community ... If North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and its partners in the Six-Party Talks will act accordingly."

While welcoming North Korea's declaration, Bush repeatedly said it was just a first step.

The president said the U.S. action would have little impact on North Korea's financial and diplomatic isolation. "It will remain one of the most heavily sanctioned nations in the world," Bush said. All U.N. sanctions, for example, will remain in place.

Bush said the United States would monitor North Korea closely and "if they don't fulfill their promises, more restrictions will be placed on them."

He formally notified Congress of his intention to remove North Korea from the terrorism blacklist within 45 days, and said the United States will monitor the North's activities during that period to make sure it is living up to its promises and is serious about cooperating in the process of denuclearization.

Bush said that to end its isolation, North Korea must, for instance, dismantle all of its nuclear facilities and resolve outstanding questions on its highly enriched uranium and proliferation activities "and end these activities in a way that we can fully verify."

Bush thanked all members of the six-party talks, but singled out Japan. Tokyo has argued that the U.S. decision to remove North Korea from the list of terrorist nations should be linked to progress in solving North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

"The United States will never forget the abduction of Japanese citizens by the North Koreans," said Bush who called Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Wednesday to express U.S. concern about the issue. "We will continue to closely cooperate and coordinate with Japan and press North Korea to swiftly resolve the abduction issue."

Besides providing information about its nuclear facilities, North Korea's declaration is to provide a verifiable figure on how much plutonium they have. That still won't answer the question of how many bombs North Korea has stockpiled, but plutonium is the "heart of the game because that is the stuff they make bombs out of," says Christopher Hill, the lead U.S. negotiator in the talks under way between Pyongyang and the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

What's not in the declaration is as important as what it includes.

It won't illuminate North Korea's suspected program of developing weapons fueled by enriched uranium. As a result of the six-nation nuclear talks, the North has stopped making plutonium and begun disabling its nuclear facilities, but it still has a stockpile of radioactive material that experts believe is enough to build from six to 10 bombs.

The North proved it could build a working nuclear bomb when it carried out an underground nuclear test blast in October 2006. Details on the bombs, however, will be left to the next stage of the talks, when Pyongyang is supposed to abandon all its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea's declaration also won't give a complete accounting of how it allegedly helped Syria build what senior U.S. intelligence officials say was a secret nuclear reactor meant to make plutonium, which can be used to make high-yield nuclear weapons. Israeli jets bombed the structure in the remote eastern desert of Syria in September 2007.

The North is expected in the declaration to say how much plutonium it has produced at its main reactor facility at Yongbyon.

"If we can verifiably determine the amount of plutonium that has been made, we then have an upper hand in understanding what may have happened in terms of weaponization," Rice said earlier Thursday in Japan.

If the declaration can be verified, it also would clear the way for the highest diplomatic engagement the Bush administration has had with North Korea. But the U.S. remains wary of North Korea because of its history of broken promises.

Rice has said the U.S. won't take the word of the North Koreans based on what they put on a piece of paper. She says there would be no hedging on the onsite verification of North Korea's weapons and technology — that inspectors must be free to verify what North Korea discloses.

"Any effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula must contend with the fact that North Korea is the most secretive and opaque regime on the planet," she wrote in an opinion piece published in Thursday's Wall Street Journal. "We will not accept that statement on faith. We will insist on verification."

To demonstrate that it is serious about foregoing its nuclear weapons, North Korea is planning the televised destruction of a 65-foot-tall cooling tower at its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. The cooling tower is a key element of the reactor, but blowing it up — with the world watching — has little practical meaning because the reactor has already been nearly disabled.

Exempting North Korea from the enemy trade law, which also limits trade with Cuba, will have minimal impact as major U.S. companies aren't lining up to do large amounts of business in North Korea.

North Korea was put on the list of nations that sponsor terrorism for its alleged involvement in the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner that killed 115 people. The designation effectively blocks North Korea from receiving low-interest loans from the World Bank and other international lending agencies.
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I suppose you could spin this another way - it's a major diplomatic victory for the Bush Administration.

Didn't this 'breakthrough' only occur because the U.S. finally engaged in direct talks with North Korea?

Will Iran be next?

Last edited by classicman2; 06-26-08 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 06-26-08, 08:14 AM
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Any word on the reaction from Seoul?
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Old 06-26-08, 08:21 AM
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Bush is probably more concerned with the reaction of a number of Republicans.

The Democrats can't really be too critical.
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Old 06-26-08, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Bush is probably more concerned with the reaction of a number of Republicans.
Yes, but the thing is, I don't care how a bunch of Republicans feel about this.
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Old 06-26-08, 08:32 AM
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I'm assuming (I really don't know) that Seoul was consulted on this decision.

I can't believe Seoul didn't, at least, give its tacit approval.
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Old 06-26-08, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Any word on the reaction from Seoul?
Answer
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Old 06-26-08, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I'm assuming (I really don't know) that Seoul was consulted on this decision.

I can't believe Seoul didn't, at least, give its tacit approval.
One would assume so, but the Korean government could be showing one face to the ROW and another face to it's own populace.

Thanks crazyronin.
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Old 06-26-08, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
I can't believe Bill Clinton got himself quoted in that. What an attention whore!
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Old 06-26-08, 08:59 AM
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McCain's been making some veiled comments about "those who would appease our enemies" lately. I guess now we know who he was talking about!
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Old 06-26-08, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Yes, but the thing is, I don't care how a bunch of Republicans feel about this.
Now, isn't that an intolerant statement...

I think I'm offended.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by B5Erik
Now, isn't that an intolerant statement...

I think I'm offended.
I don't care how Democrats feel about this either.

Feel better?
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Old 06-26-08, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
McCain's been making some veiled comments about "those who would appease our enemies" lately. I guess now we know who he was talking about!
Unfortunately, he can't remember what he said.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:15 AM
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I don't believe McCain is too happy about this morning's event, but he's not going to be very critical of Bush's decision.

I think real criticism will come in the Congress.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
I don't care how Democrats feel about this either.

Feel better?
You betcha.




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Old 06-26-08, 09:21 AM
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Wait. You mean diplomacy worked?

Meanwhile, back in Iraq...
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Old 06-26-08, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Wait. You mean diplomacy worked?

Meanwhile, back in Iraq...
We'll see if it worked or not about 5-10 years from now if we can find another secret program, but in the meantime, it was worth a try.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:33 AM
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North Korea is fine to do business with, but Cuba isn't?
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Old 06-26-08, 09:35 AM
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Meanwhile, back to Iran.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
North Korea is fine to do business with, but Cuba isn't?
There are perfectly legitimate reasons why the North Korean case is different from the Cuban one. First, Korea is on the other side of the planet while Cuba is about 100 miles from Florida. Second, the ultimate goal of any Korean policy is the reunification of the divided country. There's already a free, democratic, allied-with-the-U.S. country on that peninsula, and its presence changes things. There's no divided Cuba to re-unify. It's a whole country.

The illegitimate reason why it's a different case is the presence of a large number of Cuban-Americans living in the strategically important (in the EC sense) state of Florida. Eliminating sanctions with Cuba hands Florida to the Democrats. Bad move.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:50 AM
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The last sentence of wendersfan's post is the most important one.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:52 AM
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Now that we're making nice - can we start trading with Cuba again, so that I can legally get Cuban cigars??
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Old 06-26-08, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
The last sentence of wendersfan's post is the most important one.
I'd make a poor journalist. I always bury the lead.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:55 AM
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I was going to mention that there probably aren't many North Korean immigrant voters in the US.
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Old 06-26-08, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Second, the ultimate goal of any Korean policy is the reunification of the divided country. There's already a free, democratic, allied-with-the-U.S. country on that peninsula, and its presence changes things.
I dunno about that. I consider South Korea to merely be the tip of a massive communist empire.

And recently, the South Koreans seemed to REALLY be pissed off about the U.S. beef deal. I am not sure if it was all about food safety.
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Old 06-26-08, 10:20 AM
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Bush just did this so he'll have a "success" to point to in his foreign policy legacy. Expect an entire wing dedicated to How President Bush Brought North Korea to its knees in his preidential library.
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