North Korea Storms Out of Talks

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Intelligence comes with a price. Just hours before disarmament talks were scheduled to begin in New York, North Korean diplomats have packed their briefcases for home. Naturally, the cause is the defection of the brother-diplomats. TIME's Washington correspondent Doug Waller explains: "The North Koreans put it to the State Department last night, 'Turn over the defectors if you want the talks to continue.' Of course the State Department said no." The ultimatum itself was very much expected. "It's a matter of saving face," says Waller.

The suspension of the New York talks, then, was inevitable as soon as Chang Sung Gil, Pyongyang's ambassador to Egypt, walked into the U.S. Embassy and demanded asylum. Just as inevitably, says Waller, the North Koreans will be back. "They've stalled these talks before." Eventually, he says, Pyongyang will decide that the four-party talks are in its interest and though it may sting the national pride, only foreign aid can quiet the rumbling of North Korea's stomach.