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Talks with NKorea come with conditions, says White House advisor

Washington’s commitment to holding the line on national security comes before any new developments in North Korea talks, according to White House official.

By Elizabeth Shim
President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, leaves the Rose Garden after announcing that the United States will reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, at the White House in Washington, D.C. on July 1, 2015. Obama announced expanded diplomatic relations with Cuba and the plan to open an embassy, but similar thawing of relations are unlikely with North Korea. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, leaves the Rose Garden after announcing that the United States will reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, at the White House in Washington, D.C. on July 1, 2015. Obama announced expanded diplomatic relations with Cuba and the plan to open an embassy, but similar thawing of relations are unlikely with North Korea. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

ASPEN, Colo., July 1 (UPI) -- A White House National Security Council advisor said on Tuesday dialogue with North Korea is not possible if it means Washington must give up its own "capabilities."

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes made the remark during the Aspen Ideas Festival during a discussion of the Obama Doctrine, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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Rhodes' comments about Washington's policy toward Pyongyang provided some indication that any bilateral dialogue between the two is unlikely in the remaining 18 months of the Obama Administration – according to South Korean television network KBS.

During the discussion with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Rhodes said the Obama policy is a departure from the Bush Doctrine that took a more hawkish approach to the countries President Bush labeled as an "Axis of Evil" group that included Iran, North Korea and Iraq.

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Bush's policy of warning countries against proliferating weapons of mass destruction did not prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, Rhodes said according to Yonhap.

During Obama's terms of office, however, nuclear talks with Iran have begun taking root, with a final agreement still foreseeable in the future.

On Sunday Iran nuclear talks missed a June 30 deadline for a final agreement but Washington said the additional time would make way for a strong comprehensive agreement.

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But as the United States and Cuba publicly announced the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, Rhodes remarks on Washington's commitment to holding the line on national security indicated no new developments in North Korea relations.

North Korea has demanded an end to the joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, as a pre-condition for a halt on its nuclear activities.

The drills however are an integral part of regional security according to Washington and Seoul, and the two governments are unlikely to give up the exercises as a precondition for talks with North Korea.

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