Reuters, Thursday, March 24, 2005; 10:27 PM
SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States is prepared to talk to North Korea as an equal, and Pyongyang should take recent comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a signal of that commitment, South Korea's foreign minister said on Friday.
Rice, during an Asian visit last week, called the North "a sovereign state," which foreign policy analysts said was an attempt to appease Pyongyang's demand that she apologize for having called it "an outpost of tyranny." "North Korea keeps talking about not getting treated right at the six-party talks, so (Rice) was noting a willingness to have dialogue as equals," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as telling a seminar.
North Korea has said a condition for a resumption of stalled six-party disarmament talks would be for the United States to cease a policy toward it that Pyongyang sees as hostile.-----------------