Why is the Beijing agreement different from the worthless “Agreed Framework” Bill Clinton signed in 1994 and North Korea violated (we now know) from the very first day? That agreement was bilateral. This one is six-party, but the major player is China.
China conspicuously made itself the locus of the conference and its host. Its vice foreign minister declared that “North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to a nuclear nonproliferation treaty.” If China can succeed where the United States failed miserably in solving the knottiest problem in the Pacific, China will have emerged. That means a lot for China. It has a large stake in this agreement.