Wednesday, June 18, 2003
A Consensus on North Korea - 18th June 2003, 23.01

Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary, used North Korea's declaration of a nuclear weapons programme yesterday to repeat the outcome of a diplomatic agreement signed in Madrid last week to intercept North Korean vessels. The dangerous and isolated regime appears to have provided a base on which the divided West can agree, although one could argue that no-one has economic interests in the Hermit Kingdom.

The countries involved in the Madrid initiative are the United States, Britain, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. They are expected to meet again next month at a location yet to be determined.

One could argue that this is a sign of France and Germany's weakness. After capitulating over the issue of sanctions at the United Nations, they are now signing up to an agenda where the majority of the signatories were members of the "coalition of the willing".


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