U.S. proceeded with N. Korea deal despite new intel on uranium programEast-Asia-Intel.com, June 26, 2008Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week said the Bush administration has obtained recent information about North Korea's covert uranium enrichment program, which Pyongyang continues to deny exists.
North Korea is known to have had a plutonium program and to have sold nuclear technology to Syria.
North Korea also "pursued a uranium enrichment program," Rice said during a speech to the Heritage Foundation on June 18. "But we do not know its full extent or exactly what this effort has yielded.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, and Japanese Foreing Minister Masahiko Komura walk together for a photo session at the Kyoto State Guest House. AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi
"As we've gotten deeper into the process, we've been troubled by additional information about North Korea's uranium enrichment capability, and this information has reaffirmed skepticism about dealing with North Korea," Rice said in the most recent official expression of U.S. concern about Pyongyang's uranium program.
Then what are we gaining?
We are now told that they have....and today they symbolically blew up their cooling tower at Yongbyon
[North Korea provided the long-delayed nuclear declaration to China on June 26.]
"North Korea will soon give its declaration of nuclear programs to China, the chair of the denuclearization working group," Rice said. "And President Bush would then notify Congress of our intention to remove North Korea from the state sponsors of terrorism list and to cease the application of Trading With the Enemy Act."
The nuclear declaration was due in December and North Korea has so far not disclosed its plutonium and uranium nuclear arms programs.
Rice said that before North Korea is removed from the terrorism list its cooperation would be assessed, including help in verifying the accuracy and completeness of the declaration.
"And so as we consider our current policy, we are saying to ourselves, what if North Korea ultimately violates an agreement we reach? What if it cheats? And this is a legitimate concern."
Rice said North Korea has cheated on its nuclear accord in the past. "We will hold North Korea accountable. We will reimpose any applicable sanction that we have waived, and we will add new ones," she said.
A violation also would mean violating agreements with Japan, South Korea, Russia and China, which also would take action.
Does anyone on the planet believe that?
Without the means to verify independent of any action the NoKo's can take, of what possible use is this agreement except as a historic 'legacy' of Bush that something was accomplished on paper?
"Verifying an agreement with North Korea will be a serious challenge," she said.