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HONOLULU — (More than) a day later, but not a dollar short. That pretty much sums up what to Pyongyang is a perfectly reasonable negotiating position. It will honor its end of the Feb. 13, 2007, “action for action” denuclearization deal, once the money is in the bank. In short, “checkbook diplomacy” still works with North Korea; the “check’s in the mail” diplomacy does not.

The February deal, struck at the six-party talks in Beijing, called for a series of events to take place within 60 days of the agreement, or by April 13 on most people’s calendars. But not Pyongyang’s. From the North’s perspective — and there is some logic here — the first step to be taken, within 30 days, was resolution of the so-called economic sanctions issue or, more specifically, the release of some $25 million in funds frozen in Macau’s Banco Delta Asia (BDA) as a result of U.S. money-laundering accusations.

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