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North Korea

Angela Merkel is eager to facilitate diplomacy with North Korea

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.