NoKo: Verify, Don’t Trust

State treats the North Korean regime like an errant child, while John Bolton says treat it as a dishonest mass-murdering, warlike dictatorship. Guess which approach is most likely to get us nuked?

State (my emphasis):

North Korea agreed yesterday 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, chief U.S. envoy Christopher Hill said…

“One thing that we agreed on is that [North Korea] will provide a full declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of 2007,” Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Hill said the declaration will also include plutonium and uranium enrichment programs, which the United States fears could be used to make nuclear weapons.

Here’s the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last year:

  • North Korea’s million man army and missile arsenals continue to threaten South Korea and U.S. forces along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
  • North Korea has produced nuclear weapons and is pursuing fissile material through two processes, plutonium separation and uranium enrichment.
  • North Korea probably has active biological and chemical weapons programs and probably has chemical and possibly biological weapons ready for use.
  • North Korea has an aggressive ballistic missile program and is developing missiles or space launch vehicles capable of hitting the continental United States.
  • North Korea generates hard currency by proliferating ballistic missiles and associated technology as well as conventional weapons. It has sold ballistic missiles to other states, including Iran and Syria.
  • North Korea has engaged in a range of illegal activities more typical of an organized crime entity than a nation-state, including kidnapping, narcotrafficking, and counterfeiting U.S. currency.
  • North Korea’s leadership has impoverished the nation and created refugee flows. North Korean refugees are a minor problem for neighboring states at this time but could precipitate a regional crisis if the North Korean regime were to someday fall.

North Korea’s security policy is erratic and unpredictable. It is less susceptible to diplomatic pressure than other states and seems more willing to engage in provocative actions.

So a declaration from this thug state is worthless.

Here’s a better suggestion from John Bolton (my ellipsis):

…we need an intrusive, indeed invasive, verification mechanism before having any confidence that North Korea’s nuclear program is in fact being dismantled. We need smart and extensive verification activities inside North Korea, including no-notice inspections, a full range of sensors and sampling, unrestricted interviews and document reviews. If the North rejects effective verification, that is yet another basis to repudiate the Feb. 13 quicksand deal.

We need to know…precisely how many nuclear weapons the North has manufactured, how and where it manufactured them, how many it now has, and how much reprocessed plutonium remains available for weaponization. If any devices, fissile material or nuclear manufacturing equipment have left North Korea, we need to learn the specifics.

We need to understand the full extent of its uranium enrichment program, and if weapons-grade enriched uranium was produced, where it is and how much there is of it. We also need to know specifically if North Korea possesses any enriched uranium metal or any weapons- or missile warhead-design information.

…we must also deal with Pyongyang’s biological, chemical and ballistic missile programs. We must address these programs, especially the missiles, soon. Failure to make explicit the important connection between weapons and delivery systems will certainly come back to haunt us, and we are on the verge of allowing this point to slip away entirely.

Finally, we need to learn the details of North Korean nuclear cooperation with other countries. We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched. Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be “safe havens” for North Korea’s nuclear weapons development, or may have already participated with or benefited from it, must be made clear.

The president must be exhausted by now, but let’s hope he’s able to summon the strength to get State’s appeasers out of these negotiations – our lives depend on it.

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