US experts: North Korea could be ready to re-engage on nuke issues

North Korea's release of two American journalists could be a sign that the secretive and volatile regime is ready to re-engage in negotiations about its nuclear weapons program, US experts said Thursday. It remains unclear, however, how far Pyongyang is willing to go to calm growing regional and international worries about its nuclear and missile capabilities, they added. L. Gordon Flake, executive director of the Mansfield Foundation in Washington, DC, which specializes in Asian affairs, pointed out that North Korea's stated reason for releasing reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee on Wednesday was humanitarian. Still, Flake said, the decision by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to pardon the journalists and allow former US president Bill Clinton to come and collect them indicated "a potential shift in the environment."