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IAEA Invited Back to North Korea

As part of an agreement struck with the U.S., in exchange for food aid, North Korea agreed to suspend nuclear work. To that end, they've invited inspectors to come in and check things out. They were kicked out three years earlier.

It's not all sunshine and roses, though, because on the same day they sent out those invitations, they also announced they were going to launch a satellite and that sent up a big red flag for the U.S.

Without disclosing North Korea's terms, the IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said it had received the invitation on Friday. That was the same day Pyongyang announced plans to launch a satellite on a rocket, a move that Washington has suggested could jeopardise a nuclear moratorium deal reached with the United States last month.
"Obviously there's benefit for any access that the IAEA can get," [US state department spokeswoman Victoria] Nuland told reporters. "But it doesn't change the fact that we would consider a satellite launch a violation not only of their UN obligations but of the commitments they made to us."
"The launching of the satellite is part of our right to develop space programmes," [senior North Korean nuclear negotiator] Ri said, warning that North Korea would respond to any threats on its sovereignty.

"Regarding the peaceful purpose of the satellite launching, if others are practising double standards or inappropriately interfere with our sovereign rights, we will be forced to react to it. But we will try our best for these things not to happen," he said.

It's interesting that North Korea is seemingly more open to negotiations. I don't know if it's the new leadership or if it's that their people are starving and they really want that food aid. The response from the N. Korean negotiator is certainly more tempered than what we're used to hearing from North Korea under Kim Jong-Il.

He's also got a point. Yes, satellites are a gateway technology to long-range missiles, but you can't seriously think it's a convincing argument to say "You can't have a satellite in space" because you might shoot missiles at us one day. You can trust we have your best interests at heart. Afterall, we're the good guys."

Can you imagine saying this to Russia? Putin would fall off his chair laughing. And then he'd shoot you. Ofc, I don't know what the agreement actually says. Mebbe there's a line in there that specifically says "And you can't have satellites - for any reason", in which case, yeah, that would be a violation of the agreement.

I think getting North Korea to suspend nuclear testing and to let inspectors back in seems pretty amazing. I hope it doesn't get undone by a political pissing contest.

Also, using food aid as a bargaining tool against a starving populace is a pretty shitty thing to do. Just saying.

By min | March 20, 2012, 2:17 PM | Liberal Outrage