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The Military Technology

North Korea Agrees To Suspend Nuclear Activities 221

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the otherwise-we'll-nuke-you dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "In a breakthrough in negotiations with the secretive communist nation the Guardian reports that North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear activities and to a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. According to U.S. State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, North Korea has agreed to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. In return for the moratorium on nuclear activities at this key site, the United States has agreed to finalize a package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to North Korea. There will be intensive monitoring to assure the delivery of such assistance is made to those in need, and not diverted to the military or government elites."
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North Korea Agrees To Suspend Nuclear Activities

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  • Still in violation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:54PM (#39199597) Homepage Journal

    In 1992 North Korea agreed to keep the peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

    But let's be optimistic, maybe this time around the inspectors will be allowed to do inspections.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:01PM (#39199677)

      In 1992 North Korea agreed to keep the peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

      and in return the U.S., Japan and S. Korea would build light water reactors in N. Korea. The construction stalled and the rest is history. It is not just about whether N.Korea allows inspectors. There is no free lunch. N. Korea won't give it up without rewards.

      • by gfxguy (98788)

        There is no free lunch. N. Korea won't give it up without rewards.

        How ironic. Apparently all N. Korea has to do to get it's free lunch is... nothing. I'd call it extortion but, while I realize the dangers of certain countries having nuclear weapons, I don't believe we have the right to deny them or dictate to other countries. But that's just me.

    • by HBI (604924) <kparadine&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:01PM (#39199693) Homepage Journal

      Next time they want something, the inspectors are kicked out and more nuke and missile tests.

      Essentially, we bribed them with food to keep quiet through an election year. Nice.

      • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:14PM (#39199891)

        Alternatively, we sent desperately needed food to people who are starving to death by the tens of thousands and got a temporary concession out of the North Korean government in the process. And don't tell me it just supports the dictatorship either, do you really think the people of North Korea are about to rise up and overthrow the Kim family business? It's not going to happen until something major goes down, either a military coupe from within or a 2 week war with one of their neighbors, neither of which will be effected by us giving them food aide.

        • by HBI (604924) <kparadine&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:19PM (#39199959) Homepage Journal

          Starvation is a great motivator. Feeding the people extends the regime's lifespan. Stalin feared famine. Napoleon understood this. The Romans understood it, too.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:30PM (#39200111)

            Stalin used famine to crush those who opposed him. He caused one! Holodomor not ringing a fucking bell for you?

            North Korea saw true famine in the 90s, it only made their people more sure that the west was the evil empire. Famine only proves to the people of North Korea that we are their enemies and only the Kims are keeping them alive.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by HBI (604924)

              North Korea saw true famine in the 90s, it only made their people more sure that the west was the evil empire. Famine only proves to the people of North Korea that we are their enemies and only the Kims are keeping them alive.

              Citation, please.

              Stalin starved relatively small minorities of his population. Stalin accepted vast amounts of Western aid during WWII to avoid famine amongst the Great Russian population. He would not have done this if he could have avoided it. Those cans of spam were a message to his people that they heard loud and clear, as later evidence proved.

              A better argument against me would have been based on the effects of that western aid on the Soviet Union. Of course, the desired result took the better part

              • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:43PM (#39200313)

                You don't know about the North Korean Famine?
                The "Arduous March" is not something you are familier with, but you think we should take your opinion seriously?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_famine [wikipedia.org]

                Famine is not new to North Korea, it will not topple their regime.

              • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:47PM (#39200347)

                So genocide is a relatively small thing?
                Google Holodomor. 2+ million people died, at the very least. The state prevented food aid from reaching these people. Even the US govt recognizes this as an act of genocide.

              • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:15PM (#39200717)

                Here's a little tidbit from Slate: ... he seized all the grain and food that was grown in 1932 and 1933 to feed the rest of Russia and raise foreign capital, and in doing so left the entire Ukrainian people with nothing to eat—except, sometimes, themselves. ...

                One more horror story. About a group of women who sought to protect children from cannibals by gathering them in an "orphanage" in the Kharkov region:

                        "One day the children suddenly fell silent, we turned around to see what was happening, and they were eating the smallest child, little Petrus. They were tearing strips from him and eating them. And Petrus was doing the same, he was tearing strips from himself and eating them, he ate as much as he could. The other children put their lips to his wounds and drank his blood. We took the child away from their hungry mouths and we cried."

                If interested, read the whole article at http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_spectator/2011/02/stalins_cannibals.single.html

                • by mug funky (910186)

                  fuck man, thanks for the nightmares. i wish i hadn't read that.

                  happy to be living in a rich country...

                  • happy to be living in a rich country...

                    It isn't a question of wealth. It is a question of being ruled by cruel, sadistic despot with nearly unlimited power and a cult of personality - the very thing that seems to be a regular outcome of Communist governments [harvard.edu].

                • Congratulations, sir, on posting the single most horrifying thing I've ever read.
              • Stalin feed the Russian population. His enforcement of collectivization starved the *Ukranian* population. The ethnic Ukranians have not forgotten the Holodomor even if the Russians (and interestingly enough, the Russian Ukranians I've come across) are taught to dispute the Holodomor (the usual story, when you get to re-write the textbooks you can say anything, just how glorious life was under Stalin [not!]).
            • So we send more food to North Korea, the military and elites get bigger rations.

              While the exact food supplied as aid may not be going to the military/elites the food aid would allow them to divert other supplies elsewhere.

              Food aid is a great idea though, it is one of the most economically damaging things you can do to a country. Start dumping cheap/free food on their markets, put all the local farmers out of business. Farmers and families become disgruntled, have no income or work. The land degrades and the

              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                I am not contesting any of that, only the GPs claim that starvation would change anything. Also his absurd claim that Stalin feared famine.

                For a great example of what you are talking about see Haiti. They now depend on rice from the USA. As little as 20 years ago that was not the case.

              • Re:Food is fungible. (Score:4, Informative)

                by nahdude812 (88157) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @04:38PM (#39202527) Homepage

                Start dumping cheap/free food on their markets, put all the local farmers out of business.

                Those don't exist in DPRK, at least not legally. The "Market" was extinguished in the 60's. Almost everything you get comes from the government, and money is almost symbolic. Until the later part of the 80's peasants were not even permitted a private garden for producing their own food.

                Also, only about 1/5 of North Korea is arable. This is a country which falls far short of being able to produce enough food to feed its people even under ideal circumstances. Since most farms of any significant size are government owned or controlled, and those working them are not guaranteed any share of what they produce. Aid to the people is a good thing, and trying to spin it otherwise is disingenuous.

            • by KhabaLox (1906148)

              Holodomor not ringing a fucking bell for you?

              That's the holodeck program Wesley used to re-enact the Lord of the Rings, right? I thought the Arwen sub-routine went a bit too far.

        • by Bardwick (696376)
          By most accounts, that food went to feed the military, not the civilians. I'm with you though, no chance NK citizens will go against thier government.
        • neither of which will be effected by us giving them food aide.

          +1 for proper use of *e*ffected in that sentence.

      • I'm not sure that feeding starving people counts as a "bribe" per say.

        More likely it's the new leader trying to shower his people with food to associate a good year with his rise to power--and an attempt at good will from the international community who are hoping they can relax.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Desler (1608317)

          It's so cute that you think they'll will actually use this food for anything but feeding the military and the government people or to sell it for money. You do realize that dictators routinely lie about these things, right?

        • More likely it's the new leader trying to shower his people with food to associate a good year with his rise to power--and an attempt at good will from the international community who are hoping they can relax.

          Exactly. It's worth noting that this is a completely new leader than Kim Jong-il, who is the one who set N. Korea to developing nuclear weapons. It's yet to be seen what he does.

          Most notably, Kim Jong-un was born nearly thirty years after the Korean war. His viewpoint on politics is going to be vastly different than the previous generation.

          That doesn't mean "celebrate, Korea is going to be a free country and flying unicorns are going to be dropping gold nuggets from the clouds." It does mean "things are

      • There's that. There is also the possibility of starting on real reform after the "Dear Leader" died knowing that leading the way his father did only leads to ruin. Assuming for a moment he even remotely cares. I doubt the son has much power though. The consolidation and stronghold, while impressive, has always been on the waning side starting with Kim Jong Il. Perhaps it's all smoke in mirrors and what we're really seeing is political infighting. Who the hell knows. Just my two cents.

    • It's a long shot, but the price is cheap compared to wars.

  • Metric 'Tons'? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oldmac31310 (1845668)
    TONNES!!! /. is truly broken today
  • by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:55PM (#39199607)
    Played this game before. As soon as the food arrives they will go back to business as usual. Maybe pump a few more billion counterfeit $100 bills on the European markets.
    • Re:Suspend not end (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:05PM (#39199753)
      Yes. Once again, the West plays grocery store to NK, propping up the dictatorship so they can continue development of nuclear weapons, sell military tech to our enemies, shell South Korea and oppress their own people to the point of starvation. The phrase rinse and repeat comes to mind.
      • Re:Suspend not end (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:17PM (#39199923)

        The only way keeping food aide out of North Korea is going to take down the dictatorship is if so many North Korean civilians die of starvation that there aren't enough peasants left to support the military. The upper levels just don't care if their people die, and the common people are too overworked, hungry, brainwashed, and outnumbered to even consider rising up in rebellion.

        • Re:Suspend not end (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:31PM (#39200125)

          The lack of food giveaways may not bring down the NK dictatorship, but the presence of the aid helps it. Why pay to help a government that is so immutably hostile to us? It does nothing to further our interests. We get no real concessions, just lip service until they have extracted more tribute from us. This is not theoretical, we have been down this road many times before and NK has proven themselves reliably dishonest.

          NK is China's client state, let China feed their populace.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:57PM (#39199635)

    I'm more than a little Tired of reading about all these triumphant negotiation sessions over the years where NK promises to be a good boy just long enough to get the trade concessions, only to violate the agreement shortly there after. This is like the third or forth president in a row that has been duped by these tactics. As each agreement falls apart, there are the usual dire warnings about "grave consequences". These are the code words by which the US State Department looks tough, but signals the other side that the only "grave" involved is the one in which the whole issue will be buried as soon as the grandstanding is over with.

    Son of Whack-Job, and Grandson of Whack-a-Doodle has absolutely no incentive to honor this agreement any more than his predecessors did the prior ones. However, a certain government leader needs a feather in his re-election hat. So we get another useless agreement with a perpetual liar state.

     

    • by tomhath (637240) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:04PM (#39199735)

      Oh for some mod points...

      Yea, Six Party talks, humanitarian assistance, blah, blah, blah. Instead of giving them the reward ahead of time, how about an agreement where they have to do something first and get the carrot afterward?

      • by khallow (566160)
        Let's not go crazy here. They wouldn't agree to that sort of thing, because that would mean they'd have to do something.
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:07PM (#39199777) Homepage

      A lot of oppressed, hungry people will get some food to eat. It will be like Christmas for them.

      Isn't that a good enough reason to allow yourself to be "duped" once in a while...?

      • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:38PM (#39200231)

        A lot of oppressing, poorly-fed soldiers will get more food to eat plus some for their relatives. It will be like Christmas for them as they get to use the extra food to reward their favorites.

        Isn't that a good enough reason to allow yourself to be "duped" once in a while...?

        FTFY

      • What makes you think this is going to help the poor people in North Korea. Dollars to donuts, this food gets resold to generate cash which is then used to prop up the regime. Which, in a few months, will restart (assuming they ever stopped) their nuclear and missile programs.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        A lot of oppressed, hungry people will get some food to eat. It will be like Christmas for them.

        Isn't that a good enough reason to allow yourself to be "duped" once in a while...?

        Sure. Humanitarian aid is fine.

        Just don't sell it as a nuclear agreement.

      • Still not a justification for all the "Duped" articles posted on Slashdot!

        But nice try anyway! :)

      • Just as long as every single tin of Spam has the US State Department seal stamped into the side of it, so that the people know where it came from.

        Enough is enough.

        • I read that apparently the streets of Pyongyang are often lined with US flags. This is because the US aid comes in large sacks with US flags stamped on them. The populace then puts these handy sacks to all sorts of uses - which results in the US flag being everywhere. Quite ironic.
    • The plain fact of the matter is that people are starving in North Korea, not a handful, not by the hundreds, but by the thousands or tens of thousands. I'm well away that giving food aid is seen by some as supporting the regime but in all honesty I don't see the people of North Korea rising up to overthrow their oppressors in any event. Given the choice between letting tens of thousands of people die so that we can look tough or sending some food... I'm gonna send the food. I may as well try to get some

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        The plain fact of the matter is that people are starving in North Korea, not a handful, not by the hundreds, but by the thousands or tens of thousands.

        Guess what everyone wants to do to Iran?

      • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:42PM (#39200297) Journal

        This is like coming to a conclusion with an abusive husband that you'll supply his wife with band-aids.

        • This is like coming to a conclusion with an abusive husband that you'll supply his wife with band-aids.

          No, it's like coming to a conclusion with an abusive husband that you'll supply *him* with band-aids, with the assurance that they'll be used to treat his wife. You never actually get to see if the band-aids are used that way, though.

      • by TheSync (5291)

        Given the choice between letting tens of thousands of people die so that we can look tough or sending some food... I'm gonna send the food.

        Much of the food is likely to end up profiting government elites...exactly how much will make it to the starving masses is unclear.

      • im all for it as long as one thing is sorted

        MAKE SURE THAT THE POOR FOLKS ACTUALLY GET FED.

        If the papers say that this block was given X pounds of rice , Y dozen jars of Kimchee and Z pounds of chicken then i want to see proof that it landed up on tables in that block.

        Otherwise it will be shunted to some warehouse sold and things will be WORSE

      • by Bardwick (696376)
        How many times will you do that to a openly hostile military based nation with nuclear weapons? Most of the food will feed the army, who just recently threatened war over being able to see christmas lights across the border? I have no problem sending them food, as long as the people that recieve it are told that it came from the United States.
    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      There is a big different now. Their previous policies were under the new deceased leader who was very isolationist by nature. His son, was traveled and educated in and around Europe growing up. He knows how the world works, and enjoyed many of the freedoms that came with it.

      That is the only reason we are talking. If Kim were still alive, we would have never bothered. However, his son may have different ideas how he would like to run the country.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Not this son.

        That was the other son, the one that was passed over for the throne, -, er, ah, chairmanship.

  • ... to suspend nuclear activities.

    Again.

    • Perhaps the new leader is a bit more sane, and actually looking for the welfare of his country. We have a younger leader who never really really felt the strong hand of the cold war or the revolution. He probably has a more world view that in order for his country to succeed that it needs to dig it self out of its own mess.
      • Assuming he's really the leader of course.

      • Or, he's counting on the optimistic left to get duped into thinking that, again; and just like in a Peanuts comic where Charlie Brown is going to kick the football, Lucy just yanks it away one more time.

        I believe the phrase you're looking for here is "oh, bother."

  • As Usual... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:06PM (#39199769) Journal
    Hoping for the best, expecting the worst. Could the change in leadership really amount to actual change this quickly?
    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      Yes. Remember his son was educated in the outside world. He was not brought up in isolation. Granted, that doesn't mean he doesn't hold views of his father, but there is hope that he may be tired of his country being the poor kid on the block. He might also care for his people more as well. Maybe he has aspirations to better his people rather than complain that the world is at fault instead.

      • Re:As Usual... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @03:08PM (#39201427) Journal
        All that may be true, but I think the bigger question would be about his father's cronies who are still there. Just because he's the new leader, it doesn't necessarily follow that he immediately has all of his father's power and influence. And if he moves too quickly away from the policies of the past, I'm sure it could put him at risk within his own power structure. NK is about to enter "interesting times," for better or worse.
  • by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:08PM (#39199801)

    I'm from corporate and I'm here to help.
    The check's in the mail.
    Korea agrees to suspend nuclear activities.

  • North Korea describes fantastic bridge you can buy.
  • ... until the next shipment of food aid is within the country borders. Then, they'll just go back to sabre rattling.
  • by l00sr (266426) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:11PM (#39199847)

    Unlike, say, Iran, NK doesn't actually need nukes to level its sworn enemy. It would probably be faster and more convenient to just level Seoul with conventional artillery. Is there any doubt that their nuclear program is just a bartering commodity for aid?

    • There's also money to selling either the refined material or other components to make a bomb. I'm sure Iran among other nations are one some sort of waiting list to purchase at a moments notice.

    • North Korea is a known source of proliferation of nuclear and ballistic missile technology (where it can sneak them past the eyes of the international community). It is also known to use diplomatic immunity to transport in drugs such as heroin and very high quality counterfeit US currency (made using NK government printing presses using ink from the same Scandinavian supplier the US does). It is a good thing to get rid of their nuke programme.
    • Unlike, say, Iran, NK doesn't actually need nukes to level its sworn enemy. It would probably be faster and more convenient to just level Seoul with conventional artillery. Is there any doubt that their nuclear program is just a bartering commodity for aid?

      Seoul, yes. Large SK and US troop concentrations farther south, not so much. It's always difficult to understand the thinking of a government as notably insane as NK's, but I think there is a definite miltary aspect to their nuclear program as well as the obvious "bargaining chip" aspect. If NK ever does develop an arsenal of nukes that can be carried by SRBM -- and by "arsenal" I mean ten or twenty warheads -- they could, to put it mildly, seriously impede the ability of UN forces to operate on the peni

  • Kim Jong-un (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:16PM (#39199905)

    You get one chance to keep your word. This is it.

    • by Myopic (18616) *

      I doubt it. We'll see this headline in 2018, except where today it reads "Barack Obama", then it will say "Jeb Bush".

      But, I share your hope, just not much of it.

  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:20PM (#39199979) Homepage

    Talk is cheap, but at least it's cheaper than body bags. I do like that even the most official statements on this seem to be the equivalent of "Welp, here we go again."

    “The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas, but today’s announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

    Those words were echoed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called the agreement a “modest first step in the right direction.”

    I think that's Pol-speak for "We've played this game before, we know how it ends, but what's the alternative?"

    • by jvkjvk (102057)

      "We've played this game before, we know how it ends, but what's the alternative?"

      Let the implode. Let China deal with that problem, that they are creating, and have created.

      Let them do whatever they want, just don't give any energy until *after* a reversal.

      In my honest opinion, we are creating more suffering with our "help" through extending the lifelines of these Dictators than both the downward spiral and the short sharp shock that would follow from the people tyrannizing their former oppressors.

      I just don't believe the analysis that they are a threat to the US.

      Regards

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:28PM (#39200085)

    It seems like the USA is always picking up the tab on stuff like this. Why not NATO?

  • is that Best Korea will now be printing all 100 dollar bills and passing the savings along to the US Treasury. Plus some vague rider about extraditing Trey Parker and Matt Stone to Pyongyang.
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:00PM (#39200505) Homepage Journal

    Somewhere in the insane ramblings of the original Kim was the comment that no great breakthrough can come without great struggle.

    Couple this ideology with the total worship of self-reliance and you can see where this is going:
    NK is too proud to ask for food from outsides (it would defeat their total self-reliance) even though it needs it, instead it rattles the sabre and makes threats, then 'agrees' to back down if the West will provide food.

    Wash, rinse, repeat. It all comes together if you keep the first fact in mind. This is the way of NK and will be until the gov't is removed from power.

  • I heard on the radio today that within 5 years we will see Chinese companies build factories in NK because the Chinese factory workers are starting to ask for too much money. Why pay a Chinese worker $1 an hour when you can pay $.05 an hour to a NK factory worker? China will continue to make products for the US, and products made for the Chinese market will be made in NK.

    • by HungWeiLo (250320)

      This is not new. South Korea has been doing this for years. The Hyundai chaebol / business conglomerate has factories there along with some other companies.

    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      This would break a lot of trade laws. They can go ahead and do this, but any company found selling products that were made this way will be fined into oblivion, shut down, or jailed.

    • South Korea used to have joint industrial ventures with the North Koreans. That didn't stop the Norks from infiltrating assassins and saboteurs into the South. The Norks also set up industrial disputes to twist the arm of the South a lot too. Good luck to the Chinese if they make the same mistakes.
  • North Korea thinks that it is getting food. Instead, . . .

    240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance

    . . . consists of Happy Meals (with toys), Hostess Ding Dongs, Slurpees, Pork Skin Chips, Aerosol Easy Cheese, Chez Doodles, cotton candy, candy corn, etc.

    These highly pre-post-processed sugary food stuffs will transform them into fat, lazy drones, unable to construct complicated nuclear weapons.

  • So inexpensive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What amazes me about this is that it is so inexpensive for the US. Wheat is less than 300 per metric ton so this is only about $72,000,000. A round off error in the US debt and less than the negotiations probably cost.

  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @03:41PM (#39201873)

    For all the jaded souls who think there is no hope and this will degenerate like the last time. Fatty Kim is a product of Western universities. He attended school in Europe (Switzerland I believe) - he has experienced western lifestyle and no doubt sees his own people not having the same lifestyle.

    He's unlikely to want to give up power- but he may just have been infected by enough free-thought whilst in Europe to legitimately want change. There is hope that Fatty Kim is not just a younger, hungrier, clone of his father.

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