Frightening Face-Off

Washington considers hard-line options as the North balks at inspection of nuclear sites

President Clinton goes to Seoul and warns the North Koreans that if they ever use the nuclear weapon they are suspected of developing, it will bring a response that destroys their nation. North Korea says if economic sanctions are imposed because it refuses to permit inspection of its nuclear sites, Pyongyang will consider it "an act of war." Should the world be getting nervous?

All the aggressive talk is exaggerated, but it reflects a growing controversy. At bottom the dispute is about nuclear proliferation and how to control it. The U.S. feels frustrated in its efforts to make Pyongyang comply with...

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