Despite consistent provocations by North Korea since the Obama administration took office in January 2009, conditions are now developing that should enable Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea policy, to finally visit Pyongyang and secure North Korea’s agreement to return to stalled negotiations on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Ambassador Bosworth and the U.S. should refuse to conduct bilateral negotiations about ending what Pyongyang calls U.S.’s “hostile policy,” as North Korea desires. Rather, he should take with him a comprehensive, three-part roadmap for denuclearization and beyond, showing the North Koreans a path toward peaceful coexistence with the United States and membership in the world community, which is the underlying goal of the Six-Party Talks. The U.S. government has failed to take advantage of several previous opportunities to engage Pyongyang, and missing this opportunity will not only reduce the prospects for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, but will stall the Obama administration’s efforts toward a global rollback of nuclear weapons.
I think the next [U.S.] administration will conclude that the path to Pyongyang—assuming there can be one—still goes through Beijing.