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US Mulls Peace Talks With North Korea

Posted May. 19, 2006 03:05,   


The New York Times reported on Thursday that the U.S. government is discussing whether it should try a new approach by carrying out negotiations on a peace treaty in parallel to the six-party negotiations.

The paper said that President George W. Bush is most likely to approve the new approach if North Korea returns to the six-party talks.

It added that should President Bush approve the approach, it would signal a major shift of strategy in the attempts to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program.

An official who participated in the internal debate at the administration said that the question is whether the new approach would help end the perpetual state of war, which has existed for 53 years only on paper, and that it may be another way to get there.

The article speculated that the consideration may have been influenced by Iran’s nuclear problem and quoted a high-ranking Asian country’s official saying that "there is a sense that they can`t leave North Korea out there as a model for what the Iranians hope to become - a nuclear state that can say no to outside pressure."

The paper stated that many high-ranking officials in the Bush administration have given up on the hopes that North Korea will abandon its nuclear program or that the North Korean regime will collapse, and are increasingly critical of South Korea and China--two countries that have continued to give aid to the North--even while the U.S. has tried to cut off its main source of revenue.

White House aides forecast that while South Korea and the countries that signed the armistice--China, North Korea, and the U.S.--will participate in the official peace agreement negotiations, Japan and Russia, two countries that participated in the six-party negotiations, will be excluded.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com