Here’s the entire text of an AP wire story:
North Korea startled a six-nation conference in China on East Asian security by announcing its intentions to formally declare its possession of nuclear weapons and to carry out a nuclear test, an administration official said Thursday.
North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il also told the gathering that his country has the means to deliver nuclear weapons, an apparent reference to the North’s highly developed missile program.
The comments cast a pall over Thursday’s plenary session, which included representatives of the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia, in addition to North Korea.
Last week I wrote:
Kim has all kinds of cards to play, which means these talks will be a six-ring circus featuring nuclear weapons on the flying trapeze.
Yep. Crazy bluff and bluster is North Korea’s preferred negotiating stance. The question is: Does it help them?
We’re trying to negotiate away Kim’s nukes. Kim is trying to keep his program, while getting dollars, fuel oil, and food from us. If he scares us enough, he might just get what he wants, so, yes, the Raving Loon Strategem is probably his best option.
The good news is, the Bush Administration has yet to flinch when dealing the the DPRK — so Kim’s best option is still a slim one.
But what about our goal of getting (or if you’re a dreamer, “maintaining”) a nuke-free North Korea? Frankly, our chances are about the same as a drunk cheerleader keeping her panties on at a frat party.
So why do we bother? Simple: Time. We have it, and Kim doesn’t. If he’s being a maniac at the negotiating table, then he’s not being maniacal on the south side of the DMZ. Meanwhile, the clock on his doomed regime keeps ticking.
(Steven Den Beste covered all this a while back much better than I ever could, but his site won’t load up today — so no link just yet.)
UPDATE: Here’s the link to the Den Beste essay.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Den Beste has more, and argues we accomplished more than just keeping Kim busy for a couple of days.