Pyongyang has long had at least a few nuclear weapons, but it has probably not been able to supply these aircraft over long distances. Like North Korea`s two previous attempts, this “satellite launch” is based on technologies that are not distinguishable from the technology used in long-range ballistic missiles. In particular, following partial or complete launch errors with “Kwangmyongsong?1” in 1998 and “Kwangmyongsong?2” in 2009, a truly successful launch of “satellites” in 2012 could mean that North Korea can now threaten us and our allies with nuclear attacks. So they`re not sub-ante. Jackson: It was really a test to see how willing the United States was to be in good faith with leniency. How are you going to apply this agreement to the letter of the law? If that is the case, I do not see where bilateral relations will eliminate our need for nuclear weapons. So that`s the North Korean point of view. The 29 February agreement, even if fully implemented, would not have repatriated the conditions until December 2008, when there was a difficult and self-imposed “freeze” of the North`s nuclear and ballistic programmes. But the conditions would have been in place for the United States, North Korea and other members of the six-party talks to resume negotiations on the implementation of the denuclearization agreement of 19 September 2005 – which the DPRK abandoned when it did not find it useful. On March 16, North Korea surprised again. It announced plans to launch a new satellite in April with ballistic missile technology, which the United States says is prohibited by U.N. sanctions. The United States has warned that the launch could abolish both nuclear and food agreements.
In retrospect, the U.S. decision to treat the February 29 agreement as a modest achievement was a wise one. Any agreement with Pyongyang has the potential to disintegrate, and this agreement was particularly fragile – and limited to its reach. When North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died late last year, analysts had no clear idea what the endorsement of his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, might mean for the Hermit. On February 29 of this leap year, we had a first indication when Pyongyang agreed to suspend work on the state-of-the-art Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant, which suddenly revealed in November 2010 to a U.S. nuclear scientist that it was stopping nuclear and missile tests and that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency had re-entered the country after three years of absence. The new agreement with the United States, reached in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid, will not erase the North Korean threat. But it is a good omen for Kim Jong-il`s smart foreign policy and will be seen internationally as a diplomatic victory for US President Barack Obama. NPR transcripts are created by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, on an emergency date and created through a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR.