UnNews:IKEA chief optimistic on North Korea visit
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11 March 2007
ELMTARYD, Agunnaryd, Sunday (UNN) — IKEA chief Ingvar Kamprad expressed hope Sunday that his trip to North Korea would help nudge Pyongyang toward nuclear disarmament, but described it as only "the first step in a long journey."
Kamprad, founder of socialist home furnishings giant IKEA, traveled at the behest of China, who were instrumental in clinching the Feb. 13 six-nation agreement under which North Korea agreed to ultimately give up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for economic and political concessions.
"I should caution that this is a first step in a long process," Kamprad said. "The booklet has twenty-eight pages, and, although written in international illustrated form, must be followed carefully and with due attention."
The first phase of North Korea's disarmament process calls on the country to shut down its main nuclear reactor. In return, it would receive aid equal to 50,000 tons of cheap but high-quality self-assembly furniture from the other countries participating in the six-party nuclear talks. (Britain was excluded from this arrangement after North Korea signaled that it would regard MFI and Argos as acts of war.)
In the next phase, North Korea will be required to make a complete declaration to IKEA about its nuclear program, which will then be dismantled for replacement with stylish kitchen units, complete and fitted. "Note the handles, carefully shaped so as not to be hazardous to energetic small children," Kamprad said.
Kamprad hopes to show North Koreans that a free-market economy with a proper socialist safety net is a sustainable path for the future. "I shall be personally assisting the leader, Kim Jong-Il, with his KITTENHOEFFER magazine stand," Kamprad said.