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Rice (grain, not Condi) demand nukes Korean 'peace regime'

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-01-07 10:05 AM
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Rice (grain, not Condi) demand nukes Korean 'peace regime'
Source: Asia Times

SEOUL - The concept of a "peace regime" has come into vogue as the favorite catchphrase of Korean negotiators and think-tankers as they plan for a future of reconciliation and pan-Korean unification once they've done away with a few lingering annoyances to do with US bases and North Korean nukes.

But this idyllic vision of peace and goodwill clashed with hard realities in ministerial-level North-South Korean talks that ended in bitter dispute on Friday. The sticking point was the North's demand for rice and the South's refusal to send anything until the North shuts down the five-megawatt reactor at its nuclear complex at Yongbyon.

The failure to paper over differences marked the worst setback so far in efforts to get North Korea to live up to the terms of the six-nation agreement of February 13 in which the North promised to turn off the reactor within 60 days, by April 14.

The South Korean side, talking up a "peace regime" for the whole peninsula, was fortunate to have come out of the talks with a less-than-face-saving joint statement in which North and South agreed to "continue to study the issues to promote peace, reconciliation and cooperation".

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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-01-07 10:09 AM
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1. S. Korea says U.S., North snubbed its offer in dispute
S. Korea says U.S., North snubbed its offer in dispute
By Burt Herman

SEOUL, South Korea --North Korea and the United States ignored a South Korean offer to help resolve a banking dispute that has bedeviled progress on Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament, the South's president said yesterday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Roh Moo-hyun added that he thought the Pyongyang regime's nuclear program was strictly a bargaining chip, and said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il would give up the bombs if his conditions were to be met: security guarantees, economic aid and normal relations with the United States.

"North Korea harbors huge anxieties or fears toward the United States and (South Korea). And in this climate, North Korea, I believe, chose the development of a nuclear program ... ," Roh said during an interview with AP President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Curley. "This was a political strategy."

In Washington, the State Department declined to comment on Roh's assertion, repeating the longstanding U.S. position that the banking issue was not for the United States to resolve.

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