The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Monday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the revelation that North Korea has an advanced uranium enrichment facility:

I think this is the final demonstration of the uselessness and the futility of our negotiations with Pyongyang. The farce began 16 years ago when the Clinton administration concluded what was called the framework agreement in which the deal was they would freeze and then dismantle their plutonium program in return for all kinds of goodies, including two nuclear reactors that we would construct, and a lot of, a lot of economic support.

The problem is that there are two ways you can develop a bomb, plutonium or uranium. We assumed all they had was plutonium. Then in 2002, our negotiator in Pyongyang was told that they had a separate uranium program. They then denied it over and over again after that one instance. So we had no idea.

And now we discover they have, as you said, an advanced facility, thousands of these machines that look quite modern. This is not something that was done overnight. So they had a parallel program while they pretended under the Clinton and the Bush administrations to be dismantling or at least holding back on the plutonium program, which means they were not stopping at all on their development of nukes.

I think we will reflexively return to negotiations. The reason all this is revealed is because what they want is another farcical deal in which this program is supposedly restrained in return for a lot of economic aid. Their economy is worse off than it ever was and they are now in a succession crisis.

The problem is everything they say, everything they sign is not worth the paper it’s written on. …

I think we have to completely redirect the policy. It’s not to aim at the leadership in [North] Korea. It’s to aim at the leadership in China. We heard earlier in the show that the Pentagon is considering a request by the South Koreans for tactical American nuclear weapons … We ought to go one step beyond that, to offer South Korea its own nuclear program and to encourage the Japanese to arm themselves if they need to. The way to say it is: All our [Six-Party] negotiations including China — with China — have not succeeded. You’re going to have to arm yourselves and develop a deterrent.

That will get the attention of the Chinese. Up until now the Chinese have played a double game. They have no interest in helping us on the [North Korea] issue. They like having it as a thorn in our side. It’s distracting us as China expands its influence in all of Asia.

What we ought to say is: What they’re worried about is a Japan with nukes or a South Korea with nukes. Let them [the Chinese] imagine that will be the outcome of this double game — and they will begin to act. They control what happens in Pyongyang. All the fuel, all the food comes through China and they could turn it off.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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