The Mysterious Missing “Dear Leader” of North Korea, Kim Jong Il

Verify North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Programs?– Hey, They Can’t Even Find Kim Jong Il

That hasn’t stopped the Bush administration, with the Condi Rice State Department blazing the way, from sending Kim — or whoever it might be in Pyongyang — $25 million in hard cash, re-starting the Clinton era shipments of free fuel, shoveling in aid (which North Korea can all too easily divert from hungry people to its massive military machine) and ladling out a series of diplomatic concessions in hope of pleasing Kim enough so that he will at least provide a full accounting of his nuclear programs — which North Korea has yet to deliver.

Give us a break. Step one ought to be a “verification protocol” for who’s actually in charge, and where he/they are. Step two should be the end of that regime. Not payoffs and dignification of the mystery tyrant.

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Whatever’s become of the elusive Kim, his current vanishing act highlightsthe willful idiocy of U.S. policy that has sought, first under President Clinton, and again during the second term of President Bush, tostrikenuclear disarmament deals with North Korea that depend on Kim’s promises of future cooperation. The problem is not solely determining whether Kim himself is alive or dead, but thatnothingissuing from him (assuming it IS him), or his regime can be trusted, and as we are now observing, it cannot even be verified.

More than a year-and-a-half has passed since the State Department trumpeted a breakthrough nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea — which has turned into a debacle. Just last weekend, U.S. special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, Chris Hill, was back in Beijing nattering on about the need for North Korea to provide a “verification protocol”for its nuclear ventures.

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