North Korean Promise Is No Nuclear Panacea (Rep. Ed Royce)

I have grave misgivings concerning reports that North Korea has promised to disable nuclear operations and expose its nuclear weapons by the end of the year -- in exchange for being removed from the U.S.'s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The steps announced today basically mirror steps that Kim Jong-Il committed to just a few months ago -- not surprisingly he reneged on that commitment.  The harsh reality is that we are dealing with a dictatorial regime focused on extracting maximum concessions from the United States and others.

North Korea has a disturbing history of broken pacts and an extraordinary ability to squeeze money and extort funds based on empty promises.

The United States used to insist on "complete, verifiable, irreversible, dismantlement" before throwing more benefits Pyongyang's way.  I'm concerned that the move away from that principle may make it less likely that North Korea will hand over its nuclear weapons.

The state sponsor of terrorism list shouldn't be a bargaining chip -- especially in the post-9/11 world.  It was years between Libya's dismantlement of its nuclear weapons and its removal from the list.  Further, such a move risks undermining the critical U.S.-Japan relationship based on North Korean promises.

We are naive if we believe a Kim Jong-Il promise is a panacea for peace and nuclear co-operation with the erratic North Koreans.

I recently traveled to North Korea and visited the Mt. Kumgang development.  I also had the opportunity to discuss North Korea's nuclear program with my South Korean counterparts in Seoul.