Fearing further North Korean (NK) proliferation missiles and nuclear weapons, like the Nodong missile to Pakistan (now being paraded as Ghauri) in return for nuclear weapons technology, the US said that it considered these transfers “a grave threat.” Delivering a foreign policy speech in Singapore, US President George Bush demanded that North Korea to immediately stop the “transfer” of “nuclear weapons or materials” to “state or non-state entities” and said that his country “would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences.” He beseeched the help of Asian powers, especially the regional ones, to restrain NK and sent it a strong message.
Bush also demanded that NK “abandon its nuclear weapons program” and promised that his Government “will work” with “partners to enforce sanctions.” Appreciating Pyongyang;s willingness to “come back to the table and re-start the six-party talks,” Bush said his country “partners in the six-party talks are prepared to provide security assurances, economic assistance, and other benefits to the North Korean people” but only if NK “chooses a peaceful path.”
A cash-strapped North Korea , publicly announced that it will return to nuclear disarmament talks and analysts expect release of frozen overseas bank accounts as numero uno on its list of agenda items. Without the marginal trickle of hard currency, NK is all but bankrupt and is unable to feed its people and many suspect that this has forced it to step back from provocative moves and bellicose rhetoric after conducting its first-ever nuclear test. NK has already said that it hoped to resolve the financial restrictions issue soon. Last month, coerced by Chinese border construction and customs checks and some deft backroom negotiation in Beijing with a US representative, Pyongyang signaled that it may be willing to give up its nuclear ambition. However, of late, it has whittled down this promise not being clear of its objectives. It is not clear if this is a negotiation posturing or change of heart.