WASHINGTON – President Bush is celebrating more good news on the diplomatic front after North Korea indicated Tuesday that it is prepared to begin talks with the United States on a number of issues relating to peace on the Korean peninsula.
North Korean officials told the State Department that it will not set preconditions for talks that would include North Korea's weapons of mass destruction, reunification with South Korea, and aid for the North Korea's starving masses.
The United States is concerned about North Korea's missile program and exports as well as its conventional forces. The United States and other nations are already supplying food and oil and helping build a light water nuclear plant in order to get North Korea not to use a nuclear facility that produces materials that could be used in nuclear weapons.
The State Department is now determining the timing and details of the dialogue.
When Bush came into office, he ordered a top to bottom review of the policy toward the Pyongyang and suspended any talks. In June of last year, the administration said it would hold talks "anytime, anyplace."
But when the president included North Korea in his "axis of evil" in January, commentators, especially in South Korea, decried the remarks, saying it would keep North Korea from cooperating.
They were wrong. An administration official said this whole episode shows "the President has been proven right in his approach."
An official also said the previous modus operandi for the North Koreans — as seen in talks with the Clinton Administration — was to try to extort things for even sitting down to talk.
"We said 'no,'" an official told Fox.