Earlier this year, the Bush administration attempted to blacklist several North Korean businesses accused of using counterfeit currencies. Those blacklisting efforts, which South Korea’s government asked the U.S. not to press for the good of the nuclear weapons talks, caused the U.S. and South Korea to drift “so far apart on North Korea policy” that there was “speculation the longtime partners are getting close to divorce.”
This morning, BBC reporter Katty Kay argued that the blacklisting was a deliberate effort by administration hawks “to undermine a deal on the table” and there is a split in the administration over whether it wants “to eliminate the North Korean nuclear program or…to change the regime there.” Watch it:
MITCHELL: The new Treasury secretary may assume a bigger role but right now it’s Condi Rice.
KAY: If you look at North Korea though, there is an argument that Condoleezza Rice has lost the argument there. She had last year a deal on the table with the North Koreans. Then you see the hawks in the administration starting to talk about this issue of money laundering, which has been going on for decades. The North Koreans got furious about it. Why was there a deliberate — what seems to be a deliberate — effort to undermine a deal on the table? Does this administration want to eliminate the North Korean nuclear program or does it want to change the regime there? That’s a split in the administration.