Tonight, August 30, on NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt made a clarification of some false allegations by Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the clarification was also false. At this moment, I cannot get the link to tonight’s broadcast to give you the exact words. That may have to wait until tomorrow.
At about 13:25 into the video below, Richard Engel explained in the following words:
President Trump is apparently refering to Clinton-era negottiation that failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Talks that often ended in aid payments.
Engel gives you no context on the “failure” to curb the nuclear ambitions. As I remember it what happened back then, the USA did not meet all the commitments of the deal so that North Korea gave up on trusting our promises.
I found a PBS documentary Examining the Lessons of the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Deal. I let you be the judge of whether or not NBC is at least guilty of lying by omission.
Here are some excerpts from the words of the interview with William Perry U.S. Sec’y of Defense (1994-1997); U.S. Special Envoy to North Korea (1999)
The Agreed Framework [provided] that North Korea would continue this suspension of all activities at Yongbyon, that that freeze would be verified by International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] inspectors at Yongbyon continuously, as well as remote verification equipment. That the allies, in this case United States, Japan and South Korea, would build them two light-water reactors — with appropriate safeguards to assure that the fuel could not be diverted from those reactors — and that when the reactors reached a certain stage of completion, then North Korea would dismantle all of its facilities at Yongbyon. And that in the meantime, the allies would provide heavy fuel oil to make up for the electricity that was lost by not having the reactors at Yongbyon operating.
In addition to that there were a number of qualitative statements in the agreement, basically which said that the North Korea and the United States, Japan and South Korea would work towards a harmonious relationship and in particular that they would work toward ending the armistice with a peace agreement, and then work head towards normal diplomatic relations. All of those were spelled out as goals in the Agreed Framework.
Here are some excerpts from Robert Gallucci Chief U.S. Negotiator with North Korea during the nuclear crisis of 1993-1994
The criticisms were of the following kinds: first that we had we had submitted to blackmail. The North Koreans were threatening us with a nuclear program, and we gave in and gave them good things. That we were appeasers. That this was a rogue regime. Had we learned nothing about the failures of appeasement to deal with regimes such as this? We also heard that the North Koreans wouldn’t stick with the deal, they’d cheat. And didn’t we know that they were the kind of folks who would cheat?
There are those now who have come forward from the Clinton administration saying that the deal was basically abandoned by the United States. That’s perhaps too strong, but that there was a lack of political will to enforce the Agreed Framework, that in fact, the complaints coming from North Korea that the United States dragged its feet and reneged have some validity.
My own view here is — and there are disagreements about this — that in the Clinton administration there wasn’t the enthusiasm for everything the North Koreans wanted in terms of the political pay-off from the deal. So the North Koreans were somewhat disappointed. But let’s be clear about this. There are hard and soft portions to the deal. A hard portion was they needed to have their [plutonium] program frozen, and under inspection, and they needed to re-can the spent fuel so it wasn’t reprocessed. That was done.
Did they hold to their end of the agreement in that sense?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And on our side, in terms of the hard part, so did we. We were obligated to create an entity called the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, an international entity — which was really South Korea, Japan and the United States and eventually the European Union — to build these 2,000-megawatt light-water reactors. That was a hard point in terms of the deal and we were doing that.
We also had to deliver a quantity every year of something called heavy fuel oil to provide energy replacement for what they were giving up with not having their own nuclear facilities. And did we meet every delivery schedule on the day? No. Did we generally meet the schedule, and were we generally providing what we said we’d provide? Yes. So in terms of the hard performance under the framework, both sides were doing it.
But there was the political opening and the economic opening. The lifting of sanctions. The establishment of liaison offices.
Sure. Liaison offices were not established, but not because we weren’t willing to. We were quite willing to. In fact, we had foreign service officers pulled out of rotation and prepared for that. It was the North Koreans that figured out: A) We were not going to have a huge operation up there that we would pay them for, instead, we were gonna use part of the old German Embassy, and B) They were gonna have to have a high bill to pay here in Washington. And they had other reasons why they were reluctant. So the liaison offices didn’t happen, but it wasn’t our fault.
Second, with respect to the economic opening, lifting of sanctions, that’s the area in which they didn’t get the pay-off that they thought they’d get. But nothing that you could nail and say, this is what the framework says we didn’t perform. We were not as forthcoming as they might have liked. This is not what I would call, to use the current language, a “material breach.” A phrase which by the way, doesn’t apply to the framework which isn’t even a legal agreement.
I think the important thing to focus on in the Clinton administration is, after they tested a ballistic missile of extended range on August 31, 1998, and in the same summer were discovered to have what we thought might be secret sites, we got the North Koreans to allow us to visit one particular site and determine that they were not cheating at that site. And we also got the North Koreans to unilaterally announce a moratorium on ballistic missile tests.
These admissions are from our side. Who knows what it looked like to North Korea?