Early Tuesday, North Korea reaffirmed its intent to gain permanent membership to the nuclear club. Through its state-controlled media, the DPRK countered the U.S.’s pre-condition for de-escalation talks, that North Korea surrender its nuclear weapons program, with a pre-condition of its own: The U.S. must recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. They did not have to wait long for an answer.
Talking to Reuters later the same day, U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Non-Proliferation Thomas Countryman said, “North Korea’s demand to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state is neither realistic nor acceptable.”
It is unclear where negotiations with North Korea will go from here. With a South Korea-U.S. summit scheduled for early May, and China exerting diplomatic pressure of its own, it is likely that significant public developments will come more slowly over the next few weeks than the frantic pace of threats and denouncements suggested over the last few.
The world will wait and see.