Odd Man Out

Modest expectations are almost a given when it comes to untangling the North Korean nuclear crisis. But even judged by these underwhelming standards, the multilateral talks in Beijing last week were less than successful. Diplomats from the U.S., North Korea, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan left the six-sided bargaining table—custom built for the talks—offering few signs of progress. There were no concessions from the principal antagonists, the U.S. and North Korea. The parties couldn't muster enough consensus to release a joint declaration of common goals. And then, on Saturday, the North declared itself uninterested in future meetings. "The talks have...

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