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News » International

What exactly does North Korea want?

Pyongyang has gone from sabre rattling to proposing peace talks in just a few weeks

What exactly does North Korea want?

(Picture: BBC News/Reuters)

Dr John Swenson-Wright for BBC News International

June 18, 2013

Following the abrupt cancellation last week of planned talks in Seoul between the two Koreas - what would have been the first formal bilateral ministerial negotiations since 2007 - it remains unclear what the prospects are for an improvement in ties.

Ostensibly, the talks foundered on the failure of the two sides to agree on the status of their respective delegation heads, but it is possible that Pyongyang was never serious about a meeting, simply using the offer of talks to demonstrate to China, its key political and economic patron, that it had adopted a more moderate posture.

Apparent moderation in this context may have been designed to offset efforts by Beijing and Washington at the recent Obama-Xi summit to pressure the North to give up its nuclear weapons.

If this were the intention, the North has failed to achieve its goal. Judging from the rhetoric of the US-China meeting, Beijing and Washington are firmly on the same page in calling for the North to denuclearise.

Full Story: Viewpoint: What does Pyongyang want?

Source: BBC News

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