Washington: A former top US envoy on North Korean policy does not rule out the possibility that North Korea may take further provocative steps, including conducting a third nuclear test, and says the US aims to prevent such moves by continuing dialogue with Pyongyang.
Stephen Bosworth, who resigned after the US-North Korean dialogue in Geneva last month, told Kyodo News in a recent interview that "it`s possible" there will a third nuclear test. "I hope not, but it`s possible," he said.
He also noted it is "very difficult" to predict what action North Korea will take and indicated that test-firing a long-range ballistic missile cannot be ruled out.
North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, drawing harsh criticism and sanctions from the international community.
The United States and North Korea held high-level dialogue in New York in late July for the first time in about 19 months. The two countries held similar talks again in Geneva last month, which apparently produced no tangible progress.
Asked if these bilateral talks reward North Korea, which had called for direct negotiations with Washington over its nuclear weapon programmes, Bosworth said, "I don`t think it`s a reward to talk to people. We have not made any new concessions to them."
He also stressed that continuing talks is in Washington`s interest as well as in Pyongyang`s. "I think North Korea is much more, potentially much more, dangerous when no one is talking to them than when they are having connections with the outside world," Bosworth said.