CNN reports this morning on some significant developments regarding North Korea in terms of their pledge to cooperate with the international community in terms of informing them about their nuclear programs/arsenal:
PYONYANG, North Korea (CNN) — U.S. President George W. Bush, who once branded North Korea part of an “axis of evil,” welcomed moves Thursday to remove itself from a U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism.
North Korea Thursday handed over its long-awaited nuclear program declaration to officials from China, which led the six-nation talks that hammered out the conditions of the agreement.
The declaration is expected to contain details on North Korea’s plutonium stockpile. North Korea will also continue preparations to publicly dismantle a controversial nuclear reactor — key steps meant to ease international fears about nuclear activities in the Communist nation.
Bush said he will call for the lifting of sanctions against North Korea and move to take it off the terror list. But, he added, North Korea will have to end its nuclear activities in a “verifiable” way.
“The United States has no illusions about the regime in Pyongyang,” Bush told reporters. “Yet we welcome today’s development as one step of a multi-step process.” Watch President Bush’s comments on North Korea. Â»
“If North Korea continues to make the right choices, it can repair its relationship with the international community,” he added. “If North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and its partners in the six-party talks will respond accordingly.”
Under the agreement, leaders in Pyonyang agreed to provide a full accounting of the plutonium, “acknowledge” concerns about its nuclear proliferation and uranium enrichment activities and agree to continued cooperation with a process to assure that no further activities are taking place.
The agreement includes additional monitoring to assure Pyongyang receives promised economic and energy assistance in exchange for dismantling its nuclear program.
Is this good news for America and a vindication of Bush’s policy towards North Korea? Ed Morrissey sums up:
If all of this takes place, it shows that multilateral pressure can work to disarm a rogue nuclear state — but only as long as its leadership is rational. Kim Jong-Il may be a strange man with strange habits, but he doesn’t believe that a Twelfth Imam would walk down a road to Pyongyang at the apex of an Armageddon to put him in charge of the world. Kim wants to survive and remain in power himself, and the global community finally cut off all of the props for power as a means to get him to acquiesce. Iran is a much different story, but if the world would act in a similar manner, rational actors in Tehran might rise to the occasion as well.
This looks like a tremendous victory for George Bush, perhaps the last one he’ll have as President. When Iraq fully stabilizes, he will probably be in Crawford, having the last laugh.
Any predictions on how the Dems will react?