[JURIST] North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has said that North Korea would consider returning to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [PDF text; IAEA backgrounder] if the US stops threatening the country, a Russian envoy who recently met with Kim said Wednesday. Russian presidential envoy Konstantin Pulikovsky met with Kim several times this week and in an interview [Interfax report] with a Russian news agency said Wednesday that the North Korean leader told him that North Korea doesn't need a single nuclear warhead and would consider a return to the NPT if the US drops its threats toward North Korea. The International Atomic Energy Agency [official website], the UN's nuclear watchdog, has background on North Korea's nuclear activities. For more on US policy in this area, see this US State Department background note [text] on North Korea. AP has more.
1:08 PM ET - In a related development, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon announced Wednesday that he will travel to the US next week to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for discussions on whether North Korea should eventually have the right to pursue a civilian nuclear program. Ban told reporters that if North Korea dismantles all nuclear programs, returns to the NPT and complies with IAEA safeguard measures, this would build the trust necessary to open the door to peaceful nuclear use. Reuters has more.