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The reality of North Korea

October 21, 2009

Re "Calling on North Korea," Opinion, Oct. 16

Paul Stares argues that resumption of six-party talks will continue to deny Pyongyang recognition as a nuclear-armed state. Practically, this is beside the point. It already has joined the likes of Pakistan, India and Israel, none of which are "formally" recognized as nuclear-armed states.

His view that carefully crafted talks can cap North Korean nuclear production ignores that Pyongyang had agreed to a cap and then walked away -- witness the reconstruction of its Yongbyon facility and reports that it continues to develop enrichment capability.

Finally, his contention that "potential" inspections could open a window on the North fails to acknowledge that the International Atomic Energy Agency placed inspectors at nuclear sites -- and also allowed U.S. visitation -- without long-lasting consequence. Both came to an end.

The time has come to recognize that the Stalinist regime beat U.S. efforts to prevent proliferation. We must now learn to live with a nuclear fact we cannot change.

Bennett Ramberg

Los Angeles

The writer served in the State Department in the George H.W. Bush administration.

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