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Blackmail payments just don't go that far these days

Here's a shocker: authoritarian states can't be trusted. North Korea has acknowledged that it still has a nuclear program, in violation of a 1994 agreement it had reached with the United States.

North Korea's surprise revelation came 12 days ago in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, after a senior American diplomat confronted his North Korean counterparts with American intelligence data suggesting a secret project was under way. At first, the North Korean officials denied the allegation, according to an American official who was present.

The next day they acknowledged the nuclear program and according to one American official, said ``they have more powerful things as well.'' American officials have interpreted that cryptic comment as an acknowledgment that North Korea possesses other weapons of mass destruction.

Damn, what was Bush thinking, calling such an honest, peaceloving country part of an Axis of Evil?
American officials used the past dozen days to formulate a common response. At a press conference in South Korea on Thursday morning, local time, Lee Tae Sik, deputy minister for foreign affairs, urged North Korea to abide by a series of agreements it now clearly violates: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 1994 agreement, and a ``joint declaration'' signed with South Korea to keep the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free.
Whoda thunk that a country -- other than the evil United States -- might violate a treaty or three? I bet we don't hear many accusations of North Korean "unilateralism" from our "sophisticated" European allies. And I doubt many multilateralists will get a clue that words on paper don't prevent criminals from committing crimes.

The United States confronted North Korea in the early 1990s, and some thought that we were close to war over the issue. Guess which recent Nobel Prize winner got credit for "solving" this problem? Hint: he grew peanuts. I wonder whether his bio will be revised to reflect these new developments.


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