OK, this ought to be interesting...
SEOUL (Reuters) - The removal of all nuclear weapons from North Korea next year could pave the way for a summit meeting between U.S. President George W. Bush and the reclusive state's leader, Kim Jong-il, a U.S. envoy said on Wednesday.That "Axis Of Evil" that Bush pinned his presidency on sure is getting kinda wobbly...we've failed in Iraq, we're kissing up to Kim and North Korea, and Iran is not-too-quietly rattling sabres about making nukes.
But U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow said it would be a mistake for the impoverished state to still expect international aid and an improvement in its diplomatic standing if it only takes half measures to end its nuclear program.
"I think that it (a summit) might be possible before the end of President Bush's term if North Korea makes the right decisions and is ready to go all the way, not just disablement but full denuclearization," Vershbow told a security forum.
The summit talk grows out of a planned summit between Kim and South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun to be held next month in Pyongyang.
Given two things: a) that we've been in the region at the request of South Korea to bulwark them against North Korea (and it's ally, China), and b) South Korea never signed the armistice in 1953 with North Korea (you could look it up), that South Korea is holding a summit with the North is a significant step in the region.
See what "jaw jaw jaw" instead of "war war war" gets you, Mr Bush?
Roh's talks with Kim will not include nuclear disarmament (although I'm sure Bush has pressured Roh to bring it up), but focus on a peace treaty between the two nations, which have been "on again, off again" in their overtures towards reunification.
Now, we must keep in mind that, with two megalomaniacal tyrants involved, we're talking about a likelihood of a meeting somewhere north of a frozen hell. Still, both men stand to gain some measure of vindication in the world's eyes should this meeting go off, something sure to tempt a megalomaniac: Bush gets a gold star on his homework, for once (and likely the only time in eight years), while Kim would have gained some small measure of admiration and respect by facing down his enemy across a table and making some kind of deal with him, as trivial as that deal may appear to us.
Both sides will, of course, blow any deal well out of proportion for their home town "fans," and crow about how much they shook the other guy down for.
People like me, however, will be commentating from the sidelines, and will keep you informed about the real deal.