Korean stalemate


Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

Much-vaunted nuclear talks with the Axis of Evil's third member fizzled with no sign of when the next session of six-party talks would resume.In the meantime, intelligence estimates say the Communist regime probably now has three to six nuclear weapons.

In April a train carrying fuel collided with a power line in the northern town of Ryongchon and exploded, killing 160 and injuring hundreds of others. More than 400 refugees sneaked through China and into Southeast Asia, then defected en masse to South Korea.

Attention to the North's human-rights abuses grew as defectors told Western media of gas chambers used to test chemical weapons on humans in laboratories. In September the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the North Korea Human Rights Act. Among other things, the law puts pressure on China to accept rather than repatriate North Korean refugees and makes it easier for defectors to settle in the United States.

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