May 27th, 2009
08:45 PM ET

Has North Korea reached a 'tipping point'?

[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."]

Elise Labott
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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Filed under: 360° Radar • Elise Labott • North Korea
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Terry, TX

    Diplomacy and negotiations....with North Korea and Iran....are just stall tactics on their behalf. They honestly think our President will do nothing. This is on Obama's watch....Obama's handling....but something drastic needs to be done.....like yesterday.

    May 28, 2009 at 8:14 am |
  2. james .t

    Yes and they are about to kick your back side

    May 28, 2009 at 6:53 am |
  3. sam lewis

    i am literaly amazed at the fact that our leaders cant see that countries like, n-korea, iraq, and every other country that we have wronged over the years are about to launch, all out war against the united states. and really do not want help from the u,s. they dont want our help they want revenge. wale up america, their coming.

    May 28, 2009 at 2:31 am |
  4. Dave

    China and Russia should be taking the lead on this. If they don't, then we are doomed, because the U.S. will gain nothing by taking another aggressive stance towards a country that has very little to do with us directly. N. Korea is just posturing in an effort to gain whatever they can through negotiation...sort of like a child crying and making a scene in public because they know eventually the parent will break down and give them what they want to avoid embarrassment. They are desparate and know we are in no position to do anything.

    May 28, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  5. Diane

    calling Kim Jong Il a 'goof ball' may be correct, but it is inappropriate for a national broadcast.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  6. denese Winchester

    A MAD MAN to my mind. Marie i agree with you. The US can not afford another war, not economically or any other way. N. korea's protectors must abandon them for the world to deal with N. Korea.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  7. BloggingDem

    This (North Korea) will be one of the biggest tests that this new President will have to face. And this is an ongoing problem. Just saying that we will engage our enemy in a speech doesn't do anything for a country that says one thing one day and does something different the next. Maybe the President is going to hang too much on diplomacy and not realize in time that there are some instances where power is the right approach over diplomacy. I guess that the speech is over and now he will actually have to do something. (You can repeat this and just replace NK with Iran and it will sound true as well.)

    May 27, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  8. Mari

    What can be done about N. Korea? Start another war? We can't afford to. N. Korea knows that our military is already stretch thin.......... and ...... let's be honest.......... what can we do against N. Korea, when China is their protector?

    What action??? Another war??????? Insane. How about diplomacy, going to China and talking the Chinese into calming the situation. Which will benefit everyone.

    War is not always the answer!

    May 27, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  9. Joanna

    I honestly do not think N. Korea wants to unify with anybody. They want to be on their own, and they are just itching to fight somebody. I hope we stick to our guns and continue working through diplomacy and not sink to their level.

    May 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  10. blogging

    This has really got to end. Real negotiations need to take place and unify Korea not matter what the dominating party will be. It is dangerous for all of us and it causes world problems. Everyone needs to come to the table sit down and really discuss what is going on and what needs to be done. This way everyone will have a chance to put their cards on the table and really start to fix our global conflicts. Shooting missiles and doing nuclear tests for fun is not really a smart thing to do when the relationship between so many countries is unstable. That just crazy to shoot missiles towards other countries even as tests this is how unnecessary wars and conflicts begin and existing conflicts get worst. Bribes and half-fast negotiations do not work, and like the article says this issue just keeps going around and around, and it is really not fun or easy for anyone. If there are going to be ARMS agreements and treaties then they need to be upheld truthfully. North Korea has really taken this weapons thing over board and needs to stop it is making everyone nervous and anxious. With our global economy the way it is today we need to focus more on that then dealing with some crazy person’s world domination ideas.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Heather,ca

    My dad served in the Korean war and I can tell you from what I have read and seen North Korea is doing this because it knows nothing will be done. Our strategy is not going to work. How can one talk to a country that forces its people to live in poverty and like slaves. The only way out of this is a full blown war. North Korea could care who they sell their technology to. In the end for them its about power and keeping up the image for his slave society. I believe Christopher Hill said that North Koreans refuse to put in writing what they say in words. The leader is a sicko who starves his people both intellectually and with lack of food. I say enough take them out.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  12. SLM

    Now is the time for Obama to take action, the words he speaks are not effective. N. Korea knows we are a weaker country with the election of Obama and they are going to see how far they can push us.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  13. tehenita

    They have gone way over the edge. I will never understand why during the Bush Presidency, he didn't do something about them, instead of this nonsense war in Iraq, who had no WMD's!!!! The N. Koreans clearly had WMD's and proudly proclaimed it. They are taunting us. I don't know what Pres. Obama can do about it now, but it seems that what ever it is, the N. Korean government won't care. It looks pretty scary to me!!!

    May 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  14. Scott Stodden

    I do beleive we need to issue strict sanctions against the North Koreans but also we need to be in direct talks with the North and literally ask these people what the problem is. I also think we need to involve China, South Korea, Japan & Russia in these talks and have all these countries convince the North to dismantle all nuclear weapons. If after all this didnt work and they continue with the nucelar tests then we should just as well as other countries should cut off all funds to the North Koreans and any type of other support that they receive. Also since they threatened war I think we need to get involved and stay involved very quickly.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, IL)

    May 27, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  15. Kyle caten

    North Korea made fools of the last three presidents and now the only options we have is either through a show of force (moving nukes into south Korea) or totally relying on china and Russia to get the job done.putting nukes in south Korea might escalate it enough to motivate china to get serious or it might end in disaster. Either way we need to check proliferation attempts by boarding outgoing vessels.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  16. Michael C. McHugh

    I think the time has come to for US to announce that it favors reunification of Korea. This division has existed since 1945 and that's far too long. We should work with Russia, China, Japan and the two Korea's to at least begin a process aimed at ultimate reunification, as well as regional development, stability and demilitarization. Maybe North Asia needs an organization like the OSCE in Europe.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  17. Cindy

    N. Korea has long passed the tipping point. I think they all have just completely lost their minds! They know that all we and the world can do is talk tough and pass sanctions so they can do as they please.

    They are really just seeing how far they can push us before we lose it. They want to engage us in a war of words and what not because they know the rest of the world already has a bad image of us.

    What ever we do to them won't matter unless it is military action..which won't happen.


    May 27, 2009 at 11:18 am |

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