Wednesday 19 Sep 2018 | 21:37 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 19 Sep 2018 | 21:37 | SYDNEY

North Korea: Chris Hill vents


Sam Roggeveen


7 July 2008 14:33

The American conservative weekly The National Review carries an article attacking the State Department's senior North Korea negotiator, Christopher Hill (h/t One Free Korea). It features extracts from some hotly-worded emails Hill sent to a reporter:

This idea that we would ignore the most contentious items and take them up later is ridiculous. I don’t believe in ‘carve outs’ and even if I did (which I don’t) how in the world would this work in practical terms? Do you really think we could make concessions on the basis of an incomplete declaration, then somehow we would be able to return to the contentious issues AFTER – AFTER!!!??? — giving away all our leverage? Why? I can tell you this stupidity has never been under consideration by anyone who is part of the process or truly close to the process.

There's more where that came from in the article, the thrust of which is that, with the recently announced agreement, Hill has done just what he promised loudly in these emails not to do, making concessions in exchange for a decidedly incomplete nuclear declaration from North Korea.

In Hill's defence, though, the US has certainly not traded away all its leverage. This is an interim step toward a more comprehensive agreement, and the Bush Administrsation has been quite careful to say as much.