There are big hopes for next week’s 6-party talks with North Korea. Christopher Hill, key negotiator for the US, has said that the US is hoping for progress.

It’s likely that this progress will happen, and that the Koreans will get what they’ve been seeking, which is aid. It is also very likely that the financial sanctions against imposed on the regime in 2005, will be adjusted. The US has engaged in separate talks for those sanctions, but those talks are certainly linked to the nuclear issue. After all, it was after the October test and the December talks, that the US was ready to have serious dialogue about the financial sanctions.

While Hill is being careful in what he’s saying and has made it clear that specific concessions on North Korea’s side are a requirement, there have been reports that North Korea will be more lenient in accepting those concessions. And accepting US aid.

What does this all mean? If the talks next week are successful, then the Koreans would have won a double victory. Not only are they now able in nuclear technology (and could re-ignite any program that gets slowed down), they could potentially be recipients of very needed foreign aid.

The nuclear program, having yielded results, can be stalled for this aid. And rebooted if that aid stops.

Sometimes hard power can still produce results.

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