North Korea is ratcheting up pressure for its longtime goal of bilateral talks with the US.
Unless the US agreed to bilateral dialogue, said the comment by a spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry, as reported by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, North Korea would “go its own way.”
The message represents a clear attempt to ratchet up pressure on the US as North Korea pursues its longtime goal of negotiating with the US while isolating South Korea. North Korea has long sought dialogue with the US, never more so than in recent weeks. The question is whether the North, if talks are not held soon, will precipitate another “crisis.”
The spokesman, not identified by name, did not elaborate, but the clear implication was that North Korea would not otherwise consider a return to six-party talks on its nuclear program – and might carry out more tests of long-range missiles, as well as nuclear devices, despite strong sanctions imposed after the last nuclear test on May 25.
The North Korean spokesman embellished on the theme by harking back to the statement of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il early last month after meetings in Pyongyang with China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in which Mr. Kim said the six-party process depended on “the outcome” of talks with the US.
North Korea had been “magnanimous enough to clarify the stand that it is possible to hold multilateral talks including the six-party talks,” said the spokesman, and “now is the US turn.”