North Korea seeks international attention with uranium claim
The North, which wants one-on-one talks with the US, said it's open to dialogue and had entered the "completion phase" of developing highly enriched uranium.
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The Geneva framework fell apart in October 2002, however, after North Korea's vice foreign minister, Kang Sok Ju, acknowledged to James Kelly, then the US nuclear negotiator, that North Korea had a separate highly enriched uranium program. North Korea publicly denied the existence of the uranium program until earlier this year.Skip to next paragraph
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Both the United States and North Korea appear to be mingling diplomatic gestures with toughness while Mr. Bosworth visits first Beijing and then Seoul.
"What Mr. Bosworth will do is very clear," says Mr. Kim. "He will continue the two track approach" – that is, holding out the promise of more talks while the US insists North Korea must first return to talks and abide by agreements approved in 2007 to give up its entire nuclear program in return for a vast infusion of aid.\
North Korea, for its part, has pursued what appears to be a conciliatory tack beginning with the release of two journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were captured while filming along the Tumen River border between China and North Korea for the Current TV network.
They were held for 140 days and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry into North Korea but returned to the US on a private plane with the former president, Bill Clinton.
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, reported to have suffered a stroke more than a year ago, met with Mr. Clinton, in conversation and then over lunch, for more than three hours. The visit was described as "unofficial," but Clinton briefed President Barack Obama extensively on what was said.
So far, though, North Korea has not succeeded in bringing the US into the two-sided dialogue it wants.
David Straub, a former senior diplomat with the US Embassy in Seoul, who was with Clinton on his Pyongyang venture, has written that North Korea's "conciliatory steps may very well be nothing more than yet another 'charm offensive' intended to deflect international pressure to abandon its nuclear weapons."