Dr. Liu Ming is the deputy director of Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. His current research fields are International Security, Major Powers relations, Korean Peninsular security.
North Korea announced last Thursday that its nuclear weapon program had entered a crucial stage and said it was prepared for either dialogue or sanctions. But the U.S. is resisting Pyongyang's pressure for bilateral talks and is counting on sanctions to force the North back to the Six-Party Talks.
DPRK Leader Kim Jong II is a past master at handling his country's troubled relations with the United States. He knows exactly how to push a crisis to the brink and somehow manages to retain the initiative even when North Korea appears isolated in the international community. Over the past year, Kim has led US negotiator Hill by the nose and cleverly played the results of the Six-party Talks. This time round, Kim has made the most of a tiny opportunity by skillfully playing the hostage card. It not only revealed his personality and thinking, but also put him back in the driving seat in the search for a solution to the North Korea Nuclear Crisis.
The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions, including travel bans and an assets freeze, on five North Korean individuals and five organizations on July 16. Those named include two senior officials of the North Korean General Bureau of Atomic Energy, the former director of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center, and two directors of trading companies involved in North Korea's missile program.