The new U.S. government under Barack Obama is expected to take a different approach to the North Korean nuclear problem from the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He and his diplomatic and security team believe that the six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula launched in 2003 has made some progress, and a channel for dialogue with North Korea is open.
For these reasons, Obama and his team think the North Korean issue is not as urgent as what is going on in Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. In an interview with Time magazine at the end of last year, Obama did not mention the North Korean issue as one of the grave concerns on his diplomatic and security agendas.
One official close to the Obama camp said, “There is nearly zero possibility that the North Korean issue will make it to the top 20 in the priority agendas of the Obama administration this year.”