Former US President Jimmy Carter ended a quick visit to North Korea this week with a message that Kim Jong-il would be willing to hold a summit with South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak.
North Korea had threatened a harsh response if South Korea went ahead with military exercises in disputed waters Monday. But it could still take action, experts say.
After recent meetings with China, North Korea seems to have its own version of trickle-down economics and emerging markets.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-il confirmed his readiness to rejoin six-party talks after a visit to China last week. But the US, Japan, and South Korea want to see key steps first.
North Korea told China's visiting Prime Minister Wen Jiabao it will return to six-party talks it abandoned in April. But first, it wants bilateral talks with the US.
Monday's explosion dashed hopes that the secretive nation is simply building its weapons program as a bargaining chip.
N. Korea's missile launch Sunday complicates the long-term strategy of the US and her Asian allies toward Pyongyang's nuclear program.