[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/27/north.korea.analysis/art.kimjongil.apf.gi.jpg caption="The health of ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, here in a TV image in April, complicates matters."]
CNN State Department Producer
When North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised tough consequences for North Korea's actions but said the door was still open for negotiations.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said pretty much the same thing last month when North Korea lobbed a long-range rocket, prompting fears that it could hit Japan or even Hawaii.
The broken record was replayed this week when President Obama called for "stronger international pressure" after North Korea turned pyrotechnics into an extreme sport, with an apparent nuclear test followed by a series of missile launches.
Fifteen years after the Clinton administration signed the Agreed Framework, essentially bribing North Korea to give up its weapons program with a nuclear power plant, the U.S. has been riding a merry-go-round of deal-making, provocation and punishment with the North.
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