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PacNet #47 – Six-Party Talks Prospects

President Bush’s recent offer to provide Pyongyang with written assurances that the U.S. does not intend to attack North Korea and the North’s willingness “to consider” this offer provide the basis, however tentative and contentious, for a negotiated solution to the current nuclear stand-off on the Korean Peninsula. But even if the North really does return to the bargaining table – and this is by no means assured – a long and difficult road lies ahead in the search for common ground between the two primary antagonists in this six-party drama.
The key to a successful outcome remains the willingness of the other four actors – China, Japan, Russia, and especially South Korea – to stand firmly behind Washington’s central demand: that Pyongyang “fully, verifiably, and irreversibly” abandon its nuclear weapons programs.