One of the weekend surprises was the announcement that the North Koreans had shut down their Yongbon reactor. This is certainly good news. However, two things remain unclear. First, how much in concessions did it cost? The release of frozen assets and the initial shipment of fuel oil are earnest money, but the bulk of the payment is still in the mail.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hill laid out an aggressive agenda of a steps Washington hopes can be made in the reconciliation process as Pyongyang lays aside its nuclear weapons program. ...
The U.S. will also discuss starting the process to remove the North from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, Hill said. The designation rankles Pyongyang, which has not been tied to a terrorist attack since it bombed a South Korean plane in 1987. ...
Hill said talks on replacing the 54-year-old Korean War cease-fire with a peace regime that would formally end the conflict could start next year "with understanding that we can't complete that until we complete denuclearization."
And complete denuclearization begins, but certainly doesn't end with the shutdown of the Yongbon reactor. North Korea has a number of "nuclear" cards in its vest, and has only laid down one of them. As Say Anything observes, the Yongbon reactor produced plutonium. However, the reason that North Korea reignited the nuclear arms question was that it was discovered to be secretly enriching uranium. And uranium is the component around around which the Iranian nuclear program is being built.
While North Korea's moves are a welcome development, no decisive "nuclear disarmament" has as yet occurred and there remains a long way to go.