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North Korea Should Rejoin Talks

North Korea is continuing its threats to the international community, leading to its increased isolation. On May 11th, North Korea claimed to have unloaded more than eight-thousand spent fuel rods from its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, and announced it was taking steps to bolster its nuclear arsenal.

In the six-party talks, the U.S. has been working with Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, "The five countries of the six-party talks are saying very clearly to the North Koreans you cannot have international acceptability and your nuclear weapons program."

North Korea has refused to rejoin the talks for almost a year, despite its commitment to do so. If North Korea ultimately decides not to return to the talks, Secretary of State Rice says, the United States reserves "the right and the possibility" of going to the United Nations Security Council should it be necessary or putting other measures in place. She says that the United States, both by itself and with its allies in the region, has the ability to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions, which Pyongyang is pursuing at great cost to the people of North Korea.

Secretary of State Rice says the United States believes the problem of North Korea's nuclear program can be resolved diplomatically:

"The United States wants a peaceful Korean peninsula. We just want – like, by the way, the Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese, the South Koreans all want – a Korean peninsula on which there are no nuclear weapons."

"We do meet with the North Koreans in the context of the six-party talks," said Secretary of State Rice, but "the strongest vehicle by which to deal with the North Korean nuclear program is with all of the parties sitting at the table who have an interest. And if we remain united, I believe we can resolve this."