German Chancellor Angela Merkel is more than willing to engage in negotiations with Pyongyang about North Korea's nuclear ambitions, she said in an interview published in a German newspaper Sunday.
"If we were asked to join talks, I would say yes immediately," Merkel said, highlighting the Iran nuclear deal as a good if difficult model to follow. "I could imagine such a format for the settlement of the North Korean conflict," Merkel explained. "Europe and, in particular, Germany should be ready to contribute a very active part."
The Iran deal offered sanctions relief in exchange for strict limits on nuclear development. It could not be duplicated exactly with North Korea — Pyongyang has the bomb; Tehran does not — but it could provide a framework for progress beyond the current cycle of stalemate, threats, and provocation.
Merkel's comments come as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un celebrates his nuclear arsenal with a lavish party while the United Nations Security Council prepares to vote on a new round of punitive sanctions.