Well, on paper it looks like North Korea has agreed to start in the direction of potential de-nuclearization. But it is not yet, as some in the media are already calling it, nuclear disarmament by any means. And they are going to get substantial amounts of bribe money to even take those first steps.
Under the deal, the North will receive initial aid equal to 50,000 tons heavy fuel oil within 60 days for shutting down and sealing its main nuclear reactor and related facilities at Yongbyon, north of the capital, to be confirmed by international inspectors.
For irreversibly disabling the reactor and declaring all nuclear programs, the North will eventually receive another 950,000 tons in aid.
The agreement was read to all delegates in a conference room at a Chinese state guesthouse and Chinese envoy Wu Dawei asked if there were any objections. When none were made, the officials all stood and applauded.
The main U.S. nuclear envoy said Washington was satisfied with an agreement on initial steps for North Korea to disarm but called it just the start of the process.
"Obviously we have a long way to go, but we're very pleased with this agreement," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters. "It's a very solid step forward."
My guess here – and it is only a guess – is that China finally leaned on Pyongyang enough to get them off of top dead center. But unless they keep up the pressure, North Korea will likely try to double-deal as they have in the past. It's a good thing that the US insisted on the six party talks, however. There are now other stakeholders that will be willing to help keep that pressure on.