The reclusive Communist state wants to talk – but only to the United States. After a year of silence, it’s willing to revisit the issue of nuclear disarmament, but it wants one-on-one time instead of the usual six-party format.
Reuters reports that a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said to the Korea Central News Agency, “The conclusion we have reached is that the direct parties, which are the North and the United States, must first sit down and find a rational solution.”
He continued, “Now that we have shown the generosity of stating the position that we would be willing to talk to the United States and hold multilateral talks including the six-way talks, it is time for the United States to make a decision.”
This is a slight change from last month’s claim by Kim Jong-il that he would consider resuming the six-party talks, which include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
The United States continues its insistence on the six-party format. After all, it’s always useful to have China involved when you’re talking to North Korea, and the mano-a-mano approach can be used for propaganda purposes by the DPRK: it looks too much like the United States is recognizing the legitimacy of the regime.
According to Reuters, a well-placed diplomatic source in Seoul said, “North Korea’s financial plight likely has led to its charm offensive but we don’t know if that means it is ready to make major concessions on its nuclear arms plans.”