Envoys to the six-party talks trying to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program have reportedly reached a tentative agreement on the draft of the plan.
BEIJING – Negotiators at North Korea's disarmament talks tentatively agreed to a draft plan Sunday on disabling the country's nuclear facilities by year's end, though they said the detailed blueprint required further consideration by their governments.
The four days of talks, which began on an optimistic note after North Korea earlier agreed to a Dec. 31 deadline, were supposed to set specifics for the disabling, among other issues. Envoys described the talks as being in recess, with host China saying that they may reconvene in 48 hours depending on what the six governments — China, the United States, Japan, Russia and North and South Koreas — decide.
The draft "lays out an entire roadmap until the end of the year" for the North's nuclear disarmament, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters before boarding a plane for New York.
"We're into the nuts and bolts now of implementing de-nuclearization," Hill said. He said the level of detail, which he declined to discuss, made it necessary for him to return to Washington for consultations.
Whatever agreement is finally reached will be meaningless if it does not include provisions for inspections and verification. North Korea has a long history of cheating on agreements. Still, it is at least hopeful that they have gotten this far. Keep in mind that the North Korean government was forced to return to the table when Washington managed to hit them in the wallet with real sanctions on their money. The only way to force tyrannies to talk meaningfully is to act in such a way that they are forced to do so.