February 13, 2007
If the new agreement painstakingly negotiated by the United States, North Korea, and the other participants of the six party talks holds, it will be an important milestone in efforts to denuclearize North Korea. But in and of itself, the deal is a nuclear freeze on North Korea’s program. It contains only the promise, unspecified in time and scope, with no guarantee that the next step will ever be taken. This is neither surprising nor unwelcome. Given the total lack of trust between the United States and North Korea, the two sides have to gain some basic momentum before moving forward. We have to crawl before we can walk. U.S. government spokesmen will claim in every way possible that this deal is entirely different from the one struck by the Clinton administration in 1994, but the facts speak for themselves – a freeze is a freeze is a freeze.