Christopher R. Hill says North Korea has agreed to disable its main nuclear fuel production plant by the end of the year
The New York Times reports that Hill met in Geneva for two days of one-on-one negotiations with Kim Kye-gwan, who heads the North Korean negotiating team, and that North Korea had agreed to disable its main nuclear fuel production plant by the end of 2007 and to account for all of its nuclear programs to international monitors. North Korea had also agreed to turn off its main nuclear reactor this summer. "One thing that we agreed on is that the D.P.R.K. will provide a full declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007," Hill told reporters.
If the North Koreans meet the schedule and disable their equipment, it would be a major victory for the Bush administration, at a time when it is eager to claim progress on some diplomatic front to offset its problems in Iraq. Whether to offer the North rewards, including oil and, eventually, removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and diplomatic recognition, has been the subject of a six-year struggle within the Bush administration.
The hawks are still unhappy, and have suggested that Mr. Hill is giving away too much. “There is still simply no evidence that Pyongyang has made a decision to abandon its long-held strategic objective to have a credible nuclear-weapons capability,” John R. Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations and, in President Bush’s first term, the top State Department official on counterproliferation, wrote in The Asian Wall Street Journal this weekend. Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. Read more.
Robert Blackwill handling contract to help pave Ayad Allawi's attempt to oust the current Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
No sooner did Allawi hire Barbour Griffith two weeks ago than congressional staffers said they began to be bombarded with e-mails from Allawi (from an Internet domain registered by the lobbying firm) featuring news stories that depict the Maliki government as hopelessly deadlocked and riddled by sectarian militias. “All the e-mails make the Iraqi government look bad,” said one congressional staffer who asked not to be publicly identified talking about the Iraq issues. Adding further intrigue to the lobbying campaign was the disclosure that the Barbour Griffith principal overseeing the firm’s Allawi account was former ambassador Robert D. Blackwill—the former Bush White House deputy national-security adviser in charge of Iraq policy, who later served as U.S. special envoy to that country. Documents filed by Barbour Griffith with Justice show that Blackwill personally signed the firm’s contract with Allawi on Aug. 20, stating that he will “lead the team” that will assist “Dr. Allawi and his moderate Iraqi colleagues as they undertake this work.”
In light of Blackwill’s close ties to Bush White House policymakers, his role has lead to speculation that the retention of Barbour Griffith was a move at least implicitly endorsed, if not encouraged, by some elements of the administration that are fed up with Maliki. While the White House has been critical of Maliki, they maintain official support for his government and have had no comment on Allawi’s campaign.
Robert Blackwill served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Ambasssador to India, and as a Deputy National Security Advisor to Condoleezza Rice. Read more.
Read more about Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Read more about Robert Blackwill, former Deputy National Security Advisor to Condoleezza Rice.