The communist regime of Kim Jong Il made the claim when it pulled out of six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Officials from the other five countries -- China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States, called for North Korea to return to the negotiating table.
ACT ONE -- GORDON CHANGE 0:08 "The important thing that North Korea is trying to do is win acceptance for their nuclear program and the fact that it's a declared nuclear state."
Voice: Gordon Chang is author of the forthcoming book on North Korea, entitled "Showdown of the Century":
ACT TWO -- GORDON CHANG 0:25 "One of the things they've [the North Korean] been trying to do over time is to acclimate the region and the United States to its nuclear weapons program. First of all, talking about its nuclear deterrent, and now talking about the actual possession of a weapon. So, this is not only a tactical short-term maneuver on the part of North Korea, but also a part of its long-term strategy of being recognized as a nuclear power."
Voice: L. Gordon Flake is executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. He says that in regard to the six-party talks, North Korea is "playing a very delicate game":
ACT THREE -- L. GORDON FLAKE 0:26 "It was quite clear in recent weeks that the U-S had got some success in getting the other five parties to push North Korea to admit to having a highly enriched uranium nuclear weapons program in addition to their plutonium nuclear weapons development program. And so, if North Korea were to come back to the talks at this point, they would have faced a relatively unanimous front against them. And I think they were, basically...sizing up...what their options were by not going to the talks."
Voice: Insun Kang is Washington correspondent for South Korea's Chosun Daily News. She says that continuing the six-party talks still offers the best way to resolving the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program:
ACT FOUR -- INSUN KANG 0:18 "In that framework there are lots of different individual ways to solve the problem. But so far, it was not so fruitful. So I think still, working in the framework of six-party talks, and having a unified voice in that is very important to put pressure on North Korea."
Voice: Bradley Martin is author of "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty." He says that sanctions imposed on North Korea have not worked:
ACT FIVE -- BRADLEY MARTIN 0:25 "Sanctions have hardened the North Korean resolve, have made people in North Korea more xenophobic. Waiting for a new regime and hoping for some sort of coup d'etat is not promising because we might actually see a worse regime if Kim Jong Il were overthrown by some of his military people.... So, there are not very many options there."
Voice: Observers say that dealing with North Korea can be difficult. As Moon Chung-In, a South Korean government official, put it: For North Korea, face-to-face rhetoric is "very important. Sometimes more important than the substance."