New international disarmament talks with North Korea are possible only if the North backs off recent aggression against South Korea and demonstrates it is willing to bargain in good faith, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.
Gates said diplomacy is worthwhile, starting with direct talks between the North and South. South Korea has rejected new talks for now, reflecting intense anger and impatience over North Korean attacks.
Gates attached no conditions to possible new discussions between the North and South beyond an end to attacks like two in the past year blamed for killing about 50 South Koreans.
He insisted on "concrete steps" by the North for new talks involving the United States.