North Korea and the U.S. have agreed to the broad strokes of a nuclear disarmament deal, but hammering out the details is proving to be a monumental challenge. U.S. envoy Christopher Hill announced Thursday that talks were essentially on ice. It may or may not help that Kim Jong Il has been missing in action for months.
While Americans from the president on down were preoccupied with the financial meltdown, the disarmament deal with North Korea was quietly falling apart. Actually, talks with the nuclear hermit state have been on the rocks for some time, and have only grown more complicated since Kim Jong Il went MIA.
North Korea simply refuses to engage in the six-party talks until it receives $25 million in disputed funds. The disarmament deal struck by Washington and Pyongyang is now being held up by “technical problems.” U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill expressed his frustration: “The problem is, you can’t expect all these large delegations to sit around while it is being sorted out.”
The U.S. envoy to the six-party North Korea talks says all parties have reached tentative agreement on a deal, which would, according to previous reports, provide North Korea with energy assistance in exchange for an end to its nuclear program. A final text of the proposal has been distributed for review, and the delegates will meet again Tuesday to consider approving the agreement.