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The Obama administration and South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye have left open the door for dialogue with Pyongyang. During her election campaign, Miss Park said she would consider economic assistance to North Korea on the condition that Pyongyang makes a commitment to denuclearize.

“The United States remains committed to diplomacy if we can find a way forward,” said Mr. Davies. “Now is not a time to make the situation on the Korean Peninsula any more tense,” he added. “Now is a time to begin to think about a path forward, away from provocation; a path forward toward peace, toward prosperity, and toward meeting the needs of the North Korean people.”