crisis situation primer
Let's pause briefly to recapitulate just what the heck is going on in Korea.
- In 1994, the Clinton Administration negotiated the "Agreed Framework," by which the North agreed to suspend its pursuit of nuclear weapons in exchange for economic support. It agreed to international inspectors at its plutonium-capable nuclear plants.
- By early 2001, Clinton administration officials had evidence that Korea had begun a uranium-based program. They tipped off the incoming Bushies, who proceeded to...do nothing apparent.
- Back in October, North Korean negotiators acknowledged they'd been cheating on the program, catching the Administration by surprise. The cheating in question involved the development of uranium-based nuclear weapons--in essence, the North Koreans agreed to shelve one nuclear weapons program and then started another. While alarming, the program was not expected to yield an actual weapon until some time in the future.
- As the situation--which the Administration refuses to define as a crisis--escalated, North Korea announced it would fire up the closed plutonium-capable nuclear plants, booting inspectors out destroying monitoring devices. These actions shortened the timetable for weapons production from many months to few dozen weeks.
- Meanwhile, South Korea elected a President who favors peaceful engagement with the North, rejecting a more hawkish candidate.
- Most recently, the US has agreed to "talk"--but not "negotiate"--with Korea.