On the same day North Korea very loudly proclaimed it was going to test a space rocket that many feared was a thinly disguised missile, the country quietly invited United Nations nuclear inspectors to return after three years of expulsion, the agency said Monday. If North Korea's pattern of offering a concession after an aggression wasn't so established, it might seem strange for the country to offer such a clear contradiction. Remember it offered to allow nuclear inspectors to return in 2010 after it sunk a South Korean ship and sent some shells over the border? But as it is, this just seems frustrating.
Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency had been waiting on an invitation from North Korea to come and inspect a uranium concentration plant in Yonben, which the North had agreed to take offline. Last month it agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and missile tests in exchange for U.S. food aid. But its satellite launch announcement on Friday put watchers back on edge as they saw the same technology that could be used in a long-range missile. However, following that act of veiled aggression Pyongyang offered a concession in the form of its invitation to the nuclear inspectors, and the IAEA says it will soon start planning the visit. If they time it just so, perhaps the inspectors could arrive on the late Kim il-Sung's 100th birthday on April 8, the scheduled launch date for the rocket.