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U.S. Skeptical About Pyongyang’s Return to Six-Party Talks

U.S. Skeptical About Pyongyang’s Return to Six-Party Talks

Posted May. 02, 2009 17:59,   


As North Korea threatened to conduct a nuclear test following its declaration to boycott the six-party nuclear disarmament talks, Skepticism over North Korea’s returning to dialogue is intensifying inside the U.S. administration.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday during her testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee that it seems “implausible if not impossible, the North Koreans return to the six-party talks.” Clinton’s comment is a reversal from her previous pledges to make all-out efforts to get North Korea return to the six-party talks even after the North launched a long-range missile.

To this pessimistic remark from Clinton Thursday, Acting State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said, “The Secretary made very clear where we are and what we believe about the way North Korea has been behaving.”

“We’re under no illusions about how difficult this situation is. The North – its behavior has been, at best, extremely erratic,” said Wood, adding, “We are skeptical about the North’s intentions.”

The United States and the international community are now in hot water because the North’s announcement to carry out a nuclear test is not something that can be taken lightly. The United Sates may find it difficult to control the communist country, which again seeks to plunge the Korean Peninsula into crisis before the United Nations step up sanctions against it.

This pessimistic atmosphere has triggered speculation that the United States can favor bilateral talks with the North instead of the six-party talks.

Sticking to the multilateral talks, Wood said that “the Six-Party framework is the best vehicle” to achieve a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

He fueled the speculation, however, by adding that the United States has regular routine conversations with other partners, excluding the North, to see if there are better ways of achieving the overall objective.

Using another channel other than the six-party framework, however, will further delay the denuclearization process since negotiating partners should start from scratch, ignoring all the agreements reached in the six-party talks over the past five years.

The United States, which has recently laid out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, cannot surrender to North Korea’s threat.

By saying, “They are digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole with the international community," on Pyongyang’s threat to conduct another nuclear test and launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, Clinton made it clear that Washington will no longer be swayed by North Korea’s brinksmanship.

A Washington sources said, “The United States is sick and tired of North Korea having everything in its own way,” adding, “The argument that we have to ignore North Korea regardless of its action is gaining ground now.”

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