Tuesday 21 Aug 2018 | 09:54 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 21 Aug 2018 | 09:54 | SYDNEY

Six-Party Talks: The latest setback


Malcolm Cook

27 August 2008 14:06

Australian hopes that the 6-Party Talks on North Korea will be 'successfully' concluded and then be transformed into a permanent regional security organization that is expanded to include Australia (ahead of Mongolia?) have been dealt yet another blow by Pyongyang. The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it has stopped the disablement of its nuclear facilities and will consider restoring the Yongbyon facilities to 'their original state'.

Reading beyond the standard blame shifting to the US (of course if Washington had removed North Korea from the state sponsors of terrorism list, this would have seriously damaged US-Japan relations, something Pyongyang would not mind), the most interesting and worrying sign for the future of the 6-Party Talks and the Korean peninsula is how North Korea is framing the negotiations. North Korea clearly sees the negotiations as an exercise to undermine the US's extended nuclear deterrent in East Asia, a lynchpin to regional stability and to Japanese and South Korean security policy. The latest information notice from North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland places this view in a more historical (and colourful) setting.

Looks like the 6-Party Talks will outlive the Bush presidency. I wonder if this process may be outliving its own utility and a new approach to dealing with a nuclear North Korea needs to be thought up.