N. Korea in usual ‘nuclear co-operation dance’

Despite North Korea stating it is ready to restart the talks on nuclear problem with no conditions from its side, there may be conditions from the US and South Korea, a professor on East-Asian economics and society told RT.

The resumption of Six-Party talks without preconditions is “a slap in the face of South Korea,” which expects apologies from the North for this year’s attacks on Yeonpyeong Island and alleged sinking of the Cheonan warship by a Northern torpedo, believes Dr. Patrick Fullick, founder of the Capital Science Connections innovation agency.

It means some concession shall be made from the South and its allies to get the talks started, he told RT.

The six-party negotiations are fruitful for all the parties, but the North Korean nuclear program weighs too much for the Kim regime for it to be abandoned so easily, Fullick says.

“It goes even beyond the peace treaty. The program serves a number of purposes for North Korea: domestic purposes, prestige…it’s a means of defense, it gives Kim Jong-il international attention. As long as they have no alternative for all those reasons, it’s unlikely they would give up their nuclear program,” Fullick maintains.

As for the US position, it uses North Korea as a pretext for its military presence in the Asian Pacific, Fullick says, but keeps in mind its main rival in the region – China.

“North Korea is just a proxy, the real problem from the US perspective, is China. North Korea is very useful for explaining pretty strong US military presence in the region”, he stresses.

Speaking about the importance of resuming the talks with North Korea, Fullick believes the recent negotiations and visible opening of the North Korean leadership for international co-operation is nothing but a cycle in its diplomatic gaming.

And this positive change, although it is highly important for the world community, may not bring any development, he says.

“From the long-term perspective we’ve seen this coming and going, good signs, opening up and then you have some negative signs, even military clashes. This is more-or-less like a dance. We are now just watching as it takes place again,” Fullick believes.

Pyongyang abruptly pulled out of the Six Party Talks on April 14, 2005, saying it would resume its nuclear enrichment program in order to boost its nuclear deterrent. The isolated communist country also expelled all nuclear inspectors from its territory.