Let me preface this by saying that I'll completely trust North Korea when Kim Jong Il is pushing up daisies. However, news today out of the six-party talks in Geneva is encouraging.
North Korea agreed Sunday to account for and disable its atomic programs by the end of the year, offering its first timeline for a process long sought by nuclear negotiators, the chief U.S. envoy said.
Kim Gye Gwan, head of the North Korean delegation, said separately his country's willingness to cooperate was clear—in return for "political and economic compensation"—but he mentioned no dates.
Hill, a U.S. assistant secretary of state, said two days of talks between the United States and North Korea in Geneva had been "very good and very substantive" and would help improve chances of a successful meeting later this month with Japan, Russia, South Korea and China in six-nation talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program and improving relations between North Korea and other countries.
"One thing that we agreed on is that the DPRK will provide a full declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007," Hill told reporters, using the initials for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Hill said the declaration will also include uranium enrichment programs, which the United States fears could be used to make nuclear weapons.
"When we say all nuclear programs, we mean all," he said.
Don't expect the Democrats in Congress like Sen. John Kerry who pooh-poohed the six-party talks in favor of one-on-one engagement with the rogue regime to issue press releases with a "Happy Gilmore" style apology. ("I'm stupid. You're smart. I was wrong. You were right. You're the best. I'm the wrost. You're very good-looking. I'm not very attractive.")
Oh, and don't expect the press to give President Bush much in the way of credit either.