WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) -- The United States has lost its chance to negotiate North Korea's nuclear dismantlement, an intelligence specialist told the New York Times Monday.
Selig Harrison of the Center for International Policy in Washington, said he had been informed by several top-ranking North Korean leaders in Panmunjom the United States must pledge to respect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity before any freeze could be discussed.
However, the Bush administration has repeatedly refused the request, and further fanned hostilities when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice referred to the country as an "outpost of tyranny."
"We have lost the opportunity to negotiate a step-by-step agreement that would lead to the eventual dismantling of their nuclear program," Harrison said "They are no longer willing to discuss that possibility."
He quoted North Korean officials saying they planned to unload plutonium fuel rods from their nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in coming weeks for the first time since 2002, giving them another 8,000 nuclear fuel rods.