In the Six-Party Talks with North Korea, it gets ever more difficult to tell which side of this erstwhile hexagon Condi Rice’s State Department is negotiating for. On Feb. 6, the U.S. special envoy to these talks, Chris Hill, gave the Senate Foreign Relations Committee an update on the North Korea denuclearization agreement reached almost a year ago, which keeps running into snags such as North Korea’s insistence on first receiving a refund of some $25 million in allegedly crime-tainted funds frozen in Macau (which Hill arranged for Kim Jong Il to receive last spring, but Hill did not bother to mention that in his testimony), and North Korea’s missing the Dec. 31, 2007 deadline for giving a full declaration of its nuclear program (which Hill did mention, but he doesn’t want that to get in the way of the deal with North Korea).
Glance down in this link for a video of Hill’s spoken testimony, now posted prominently on the State Department web site. It’s about 23 minutes long, so if you have better things to do than watch the entire performance, the part to catch is the opening statement in which Hill mentions the Dec. 31 deadline missed by North Korea. Except he doesn’t put the blame squarely on North Korea, where it belongs. What he says is: “We have not met that deadline.”
Stop that tape. Who is “we”…?
Later in Hill’s testimony, he does it again. “We are not at all happy that we’ve missed our deadline.”
Right-o, but who is “we” working for?
That’s just a sample of the statements here that start to sound like out-takes from The Manchurian Candidate. There are such stunning moments as Hill’s mention in passing that North Korea needs to improve its human rights record -which is true in spades. But then, presumably lest he offend what is arguably the world’s most brutal regime, Hill adds, in that same spirit of “we” (yes, you, me, America, North Korea, and perhaps any future nation state established on Mars, all of us striving together): “Every country needs to improve its human rights record.”
There are also such gems as Hill’s mention of signs that North Korea, most inconveniently, has a clandestine uranium enrichment program, and (get ready for it): “Obviously, if it continues, we need to ensure that it is terminated.”
Thus, the latest utterances of the main man of the Condi Rice State Department for dealing with the veteran nuclear extortionists of Kim Jong Il’s North Korea. Meanwhile, the speech in which the U.S. special envoy for human rights in North Korea, Jay Lefkowitz, courageously — and accurately — noted that the Six-Party Talks have been a failure, remains erased from the State Department web site. Of course, Lefkowitz was clearly way off message. Not once did he refer to the regime of Kim Jong Il as “we.”