Officials from the Obama Administration today opened the door for direct talks with North Korea, but only under certain conditions. The officials demanded that North Korea return to the six-party talks it withdrew from earlier this year, and said the bilateral talks would only take place in the context of the six-party talks.
The news comes just days after the White House insisted that the US had not changed its policy toward the nation in the wake of a “private” visit by former President Bill Clinton to secure the release of two journalists detained for crossing the border.
North Korea withdrew from the six-party talks in April, following a public condemnation by the UN Security Council over what they insisted was a legal communications satellite launch. They ousted IAEA inspectors and restarted their nuclear program in retaliation.
Slightly over a month later, North Korea successfully conducted an underground nuclear weapons test, leading to US and international condemnation and a series of new UN actions against them. The two nations have traded threats and insults since then, though there had been some hope that the visit of former president Clinton would lead to improved ties.