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Bosworth: U.S. Should Seek "Standstill Agreement" on North's Nuclear Program

September 21, 2012

Stephen Bosworth, the former U.S. Special Envoy to North Korea, has told audiences in Seoul that CVID - complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization - "is no longer an achievable or a credible objective" for dealing with North Korea's nuclear program.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bosworth told audiences that North Korea's uranium enrichment program would make it impossible to make a verifiable deal on denuclearization. “Because of the nature of that technology, it would be almost impossible to verify North Korea’s compliance with any ban on enriched uranium production,” Mr. Bosworth said.

Nonetheless, Bosworth said, “we simply can’t ignore North Korea and its nuclear program, nor rely on China to take care of it.” Bosworth recommended that the U.S., South Korea, and other countries negotiate a "standstill agreement" with North Korea, under which nuclear and long-range missile tests would be halted.

“Perhaps our goal should be to construct an interlocking network of undertakings within northeast Asia with which North Korea could be a part and from which they would receive significant benefit, both economic and political,” Bosworth said. “In return, they would pledge not to develop further nuclear capability.”

He added, “I have no illusions about the difficulty of negotiating this sort of arrangement. It would be very difficult indeed.”