May 04, 2004


North Korea, probably the world's most secretive and isolated nation, has offered an olive branch to the US by promising never to sell nuclear materials to terrorists, calling for Washington's friendship and saying it does not want to suffer the fate of Iraq.


UPDATE: Tim Blair: "Maybe it was those prison photographs that scared 'em."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kevin Drum says that I have this story backward, and that if you read this quote it suggests that North Korea is making its offer in spite of the invasion of Iraq, and that the only reason Korea has pursued arms was to pose a deterrent because of the invasion of Iraq:

Mr Kim rejected the notion that North Korea would never give up nuclear weapons. He argued that Pyongyang - branded by Mr Bush as part of the "axis of evil" - was developing nuclear weapons purely to deter a US attack. "We don't want to suffer the fate of Iraq," he told Mr Harrison.

That's not the way I read it initially (and North Korea was pursuing nukes long before Saddam fell), but I think Kevin's right and I was wrong here. The lead to the story (which is what's posted above) may have shaped my perception -- though I'm certainly not the only one to read it that way. Kevin's right, of course, that you should follow the links and make up your own mind. Always! I don't promise not to make mistakes, after all, just to fix 'em when I realize it. Which is why it's also a good idea to scroll down and check for updates.

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, this comment over at Tim Blair's indicates that this does represent a real change of position for the North Koreans.