The North Koreans returned to six-nation talks this week and promptly issued some of the toughest demands they’ve ever made. North Korea walked out of the Beijing talks last year, after the U.S. imposed financial sanctions to punish Pyongyang for engaging in smuggling and counterfeiting. Then, two months ago, North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, prompting U.N. sanctions. Now, North Korean negotiator Kim Kye-gwan says his country wants all sanctions lifted before it considers halting its nuclear programs, and that giving up nukes altogether is out of the question. U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill found the opening gambit discouraging. “They certainly have a capacity for giving long speeches,” he said, “more than I have for giving them or for listening to them.”
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