On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The United States is prepared to talk with North Korea, but only if they agree to lay their weapons down.” Kerry is in Seoul meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. The United States will defend itself and its allies if needed, Kerry said. “North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” he said at a news conference with Yun. “The rhetoric that we are hearing is simply unacceptable.” First revealed by a congressman at a hearing Thursday and then confirmed to CNN by the Defense Department, the assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency is the clearest acknowledgment yet by the United States about potential improvements in North Korea’s nuclear program. China, U.S. officials say, is growing more anxious about the North’s aggravations, but it also is closely watching Washington’s latest military moves in the region. Throughout his talks with Asia, Kerry will have to balance his short-term and long-term political objectives. Meetings have been set to talk about new security challenges all over Asia, starting with North Korea.
By: Cati Swihart