The Korea Herald reports that North Korea and the U.S. reached a “certain agreement” (otherwise unspecified) after three days of bilateral talks in Berlin this week. Not surprisingly, the U.S. denied that any agreement had been reached, but, surprisingly, affirmed that the discussions had been “very useful.” After this brief ouverture, what next?
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, now starting a tour through east Asia, said he expected the next round of Six-Party Talks to start before mid-February. No word on how they resolved the issue that caused the last round to end abruptly soon after starting — namely, the U.S. refusal to give in to North Korea’s demand (by way of blackmail) that the U.S. lift a freeze of North Korean bank accounts linked to a vast counterfeiting and money-laundering operation.
Also the U.S. refusal to engage in one-on-one negotiations with North Korea outside the framework of the Six-Party Talks was reaffirmed by Secretary Rice, who assures us that the one-on-one negotiations in Berlin where within the framework of the Six-Party Talks. What a talent for clarification….
Short story short, the latest drama in U.S. diplomacy theater will combine elements of mystery and slapstick in addition to the usual tragic farce.