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SEOUL — British statesman Winston Churchill once remarked, “It’s better to jaw-jaw than to war-war.” In effect, the United States and North Korea have been doing both. Their war of words continued at the six-nation talks in Beijing last week, held in check only by multiparty diplomacy.

That was conspicuously not the case earlier in the month when in-your-face, fire-breathing rhetoric from U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton, the State Department’s point man on nonproliferation, lent credence to Pyongyang’s claims of U.S. hostile intent, eliciting an equally venomous retort from Pyongyang.

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