More than a year after State Department special envoy Chris Hill triumphantly announced he had struck a denuclearization deal with North Korea, there’s still no denuclearization, and the only real deal has been the bonanza of cash, cosseting and orchestral entertainment provided courtesy of the U.S. to the regime of Kim Jong Il. North Korea has slowed even its disabling of the Yongbyon reactor complex, and completely missed the Dec. 31 deadline to come clean about its entire nuclear program, including such awkward matters as clandestine uranium enrichment.
But fear not! Having stifled the dissenting voice of its own human rights envoy, Jay Lefkowitz, the Condi Rice State Department grinds on. Special envoy Chris Hill, like the host of some interminable daytime TV game show, seems determined to come up with a deal, some deal, any deal — reality no object. Hints are now wafting through the press that a deal might yet be reached if only North Korea might be allowed to make only a partial declaration of its nuclear program. Or perhaps a secret declaration. Or perhaps a partial, secret declaration — which is fascinating, because one of the main points of the original deal was full and complete nuclear disclosure by North Korea. For details, such as they are, here’s a dispatch from The Christian Science Monitor, on “High-level talks keep North Korea nuclear deal alive.”
Note: Among the many intriguing items in this story is the following explanation of how — amid all this powerhouse U.S. diplomacy — one is supposed to infer that North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan just couldn’t wait to talk with U.S. envoy Chris Hill (emphasis mine): “In a sign of the North’s eagerness to talk, Kim asked to see Mr. Hill in Geneva after failing to meet him as expected in Beijing the weekend after the New York Philharmonic’s performance in Pyongyang on Feb. 25.”