After closing his deal with Iran and reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, US President Barack Obama may be seeking a “triple play” to shore up his legacy.
According to a report by the Yonhap news agency in South Korea, Obama has sent out feelers to North Korea in an attempt to institute detente with that rogue regime.
The report is based on comments by John Kirby, a State Department spokesperson, who said at a press conference this week that the US is “prepared for negotiations, provided that they are authentic and credible, get at the entirety of the North's nuclear program, and result in concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization.”
Kirby, responding to a question posed by a Yonhap reporter at a press conference about the possibility the US would seek to close a nuclear deal with North Korea as it had with Iran, said that “progress in the nuclear talks with Iran clearly demonstrates our willingness to engage countries with whom the United States has long-standing differences.”
However, he added, North Korea would have to engage in an honest dialogue. Currently, Kirby said, "Pyongyang's attempts to engage in dialogue while keeping critical elements of its weapons program running are unacceptable.”
The US has been leading talks, along with South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan, on the North Korean nuclear program for years.
Pyongyang has refused to open up its facilities for inspections, and unlike Iran, has conducted several nuclear weapons tests.
The negotiations, begun in 2003 when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) continued on and off through 2009, without making much progress. There have been rumors of restarting the talks since then, but it has not yet panned out.