North Korean Negotiations Possible by December

November 9, 2006

American and Russian diplomats met in Beijing today to discuss the North Korea nuclear disarmament talks. After North Korea’s renewed commitment to the 6-party negotiations, the five states involved (minus N Korea) are now meeting in preparation to set the frame that the negotiations will take.

The parties are reportedly in agreement on the basic notion that the Korean peninsula must be de-nuclearized. North Korea’s closer allies in the region, China and Russia, are on board and for good reason. China is the clear loser if the Koreans are to develop a credible nuclear weapons program: their Asian monopoly on the bomb would no longer stand, and their influence would diminish.

Russia has a lot to gain, if negotiations take the desired direction — North Korea signed on to the talks expecting normalization in relations as well as energy and aid. Being one of the energy moguls in the region, Russia could see a new market, something it’s been working towards already. Russia has been looking for influence in the region, going ahead with a railway project which would cross the border into North Korea. Getting energy in, would give it more influence as well as economic benefit.

A date for the talks has not been set, with the Russians suggesting a date not earlier than mid-December.

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