Slow Creep Back To The Bargaining Table
North Korea has consistently preferred bilateral talks with the United States over the six-party talks that have become the current framework. Now they have again asked for a one-on-one dialogue, this time as the only available diplomacy.
North Korea has again insisted it will not return to six-party talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programme.
But it hinted it was still open to "a specific and reserved form of dialogue", state media quoted a foreign ministry statement.
The statement did not elaborate on what form any new dialogue could take but Pyongyang has previously said it was open to direct talks with the US.
The US has said it will hold talks with the North within the six-party format.
Some analysts are seeing the statement as a sign that after a series of provocations to the international community, North Korea may now be ready to find a way to ease tension.
Hillary Clinton brushed this off on Meet The Press yesterday. But it does represent a step forward, of a kind, because earlier this year the DPRK would not agree to talks of any kind. So we're getting somewhere.
They want the respect of bilateral talks on an equal footing with the United States. If that means the release of political prisoners like Euna Lee and Laura Ling, and an equitable swap of ending the nuclear program for humanitarian aid and diplomatic relations, I don't really see the holdup.