President Bush on Thursday lifted trade sanctions against North Korea and moved to remove it from the U.S. terrorism blacklist, a remarkable turnaround in policy toward the communist regime he once branded as part of an “axis of evil.”
The announcement at the White House came after North Korea handed over a long-awaited accounting of its nuclear work to Chinese officials on Thursday, fulfilling a key step in the denuclearization process.
Bush called the declaration a positive step along a long road to get the nation to give up its nuclear weapons. Yet, he remained wary of the regime, which has lied about its nuclear work before. And North Korea’s declaration, received six months late, falls short of what the administration once sought, leaving it open to criticism from those who want the U.S. to take an even tougher stance against the regime.
“We will trust you only to the extent you fulfill your promises,” Bush said in the Rose Garden. “I’m pleased with the progress. I’m under no illusions. This is the first step. This isn’t the end of the process. It is the beginning of the process.”
More like the continuation of the carrot on a stick process. You know, the one where the North Korean Gargoyle holds the stick.
Jeeezustapdancingchrist, George. You cannot be that naive about North Korea. When it comes to illusions, this one takes the cake. Taking Kim Jong Il at his word is just out and out stupid.
Don’t think he isn’t taking shit from Republicans over this:
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed her “profound disappointment” over the decision, while Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, also expressed his outrage.
“Lifting sanctions and removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism flies in the face of history and rewards its brutal dictator for shallow gestures,” said Hoekstra, who has not shied away from criticizing the White House in recent years.
“Just as the Clinton administration was fooled by the Kim Jong-Il regime, time will soon tell if the Bush administration will fall for the same bait,” he added.
If you give a despot like Kim Jong Il an inch, he’ll take a hundred miles. You cannot ply an entity like North Korea away from it’s dictatorship and nuclear ambitions, especially when it’s being propped up by China, who in turn, benefits from billions of dollars in U.S. trade.
Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton weighs in:
“I think the steps the President announced today go a long way to granting enormous political legitimacy to North Korea,” he said.
“It will facilitate their economic transactions in the marketplace.”
He says it is dangerous to give North Korea concessions in return for information that is not verified.
“The estimates that we have of their plutonium production are well in excess in what they’ve declared, and even the famous 18,000 pages of documents that they’ve given over reveal gaps in their data,” he said.
“We can’t even verify the declaration based on what they’ve given us.
“I think their record of deception and duplicity over the years is such that any deal with them would have to have extensive verification mechanisms and we don’t really have that here.”
North Korea’s nuke program is Saddam Hussein, Part II.