| Pying-Pyong Diplomacy

The Bush administration’s policy of no direct talks with Pyongyang is no more. Christopher R. Hill, the chief U.S. envoy in North Korean denuclearization talks, made a surprise visit (KTimes) to the isolated country Thursday. With this trip, Hill aimed to breathe life into a February denuclearization deal that gave Pyongyang sixty days to shut down its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and allow inspectors to return to the country. In exchange, Pyongyang would receive desperately needed food and energy supplies from members of the Six-Party Talks. But the April deadline came and went with Pyongyang refusing to hold up its part of the bargain until it received $25 million in funds, which the United States says were connected to North Korean counterfeiting and money laundering, frozen in a Macao bank. After meetings in Pyongyang, Hill said North Korean officials were prepared to move past the funds issue and shut down Yongbyon (BBC).

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