South and North Korea agreed today to try to peacefully resolve the nuclear standoff on the peninsula, but the significance of their accord was uncertain given Pyongyang’s insistence that Seoul not meddle.
“South and North Korea will thoroughly consult each other’s position on the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and will continue cooperation to resolve this issue peacefully through dialogue,” a joint statement said after four days of talks in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.
Despite the vow, the statement was unlikely to mark a change in attitude by North Korea. The communist state, which agreed to similar communiques at previous Cabinet-level talks, has called the standoff a dispute with the United States alone.
The statement came after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the United States was reviewing an offer by North Korea to give up its missiles and nuclear facilities in exchange for substantial U.S. economic benefits.