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North Korea Should Engage In Talks

"We all, in the international community, have an interest in seeing a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," said U.S. Department of State Acting Spokesman Robert Wood.

Stephen Bosworth, the United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy, recently concluded a visit to East Asia after having conducted consultations with the United States’ Six-Party Talks partners.

The Six-Party Talks, which involve China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States, are multilateral negotiations aimed at eliminating North Korea's nuclear program. The talks have not progressed since North Korea refused to reach agreement on a regime for verification of its nuclear programs.

Subsequently, North Korea expelled International Atomic Energy Agency and U.S. personnel monitoring the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, announced its intent to reverse disablement activities it had completed at Yongbyon, and threatened to resume its nuclear activities there after the United Nations Security Council condemned its launch of a Taepo-Dong 2 missile April 5 in contravention of a previous Security Council resolution forbidding such practices.

"We are committed to dialogue and are interested in returning to the negotiating table as soon as we can, but this is not a decision that depends on us alone," Mr. Bosworth told reporters May 12 in Tokyo. "It also depends on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," he said.

Mr. Bosworth said "the possibility of direct dialogue between the U.S. and DPRK is very much with us." He noted that it would have to be done "within the framework of the Six-Party process where there has been direct contact frequently by various other members of the group with North Korea."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says North Korea has much to gain from engagement in the Six-Party process:

"If North Korea is genuinely prepared to completely and verifiably eliminate their nuclear weapons program, the Obama administration will be willing to normalize bilateral relations, replace the peninsula's long-standing armistice agreements with a permanent peace treaty, and assist in meeting the energy and other economic needs of the North Korean people."