Washington, Aug.7 (ANI): Obama administration officials have concluded that North Korea was looking for a face-saving way to re-engage with Washington.According to a report in the NYT, North Korea made a colossal mistake of rejecting President Obama's offer of a dialogue that President George W. Bush took far too long to embrace.
The North Koreans responded by breaking off six-country negotiations, conducting a second nuclear test, and test-firing missiles. They also vowed to make more nuclear weapons and threatened military action against efforts to isolate it, and may have resumed nuclear fuel production.
There are growing concerns about Pyongyang's willingness to sell missiles and other technology to other states.
The NYT says that while Obama must use the positives that have emerged from former president Bill Clinton's visit to Pyongyang to his advantage, he must not be so desperate for a deal that he lets North Korea set all the terms.
He struck the right note when he told MSNBC on Wednesday that Clinton's mission had not eased the need for North Korea to alter its behavior if it wants a "path to better relations."
To start, that means not giving in to Pyongyang's desire to make the talks a bilateral process with Washington.
According to the paper, it is imperative to keep South Korea, Japan, China and Russia - key participants in any effective deal - engaged.
Officials from Washington and Pyongyang can still meet separately, as they did under Bush.
Most important, the United States and its partners need to make clear that the expectations are higher than they were before - that North Korea will not be rewarded again just for recommitting to promises that were broken before and likely will be broken again. Future steps toward disarmament must be irreversible.
The United States and its partners also have to re-establish their credibility; North Korea never received all the fuel deliveries promised under the 2005 deal. At the same time, however, Washington and its partners must keep enforcing the tougher Security Council sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in June. (ANI)