Next step with North Korea is permanent nuclear disarmament

After weeks of fiery rhetoric from both North Korean and U.S. leaders, there were indications this week both sides were ready to negotiate their way out of a crisis.

But let it be remembered that if talks among the various parties occur, they will repeat a decades-long pattern. It is that North Korean leaders rattle their sabers, worry their South Korean neighbors and others in the world community, then gain concessions simply by toning down their rhetoric temporarily.

Then, within a few years, Pyongyang repeats the process.

This time is different, of course.

This time, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has missiles capable of reaching the United States — and nuclear warheads to put on his rockets.

President Donald Trump has been criticized roundly for his hard-nosed attitude toward that threat.

Some actually seem to think he, not Kim, is the bigger threat to peace.

That is both absurd and dangerous.

Of course, it would be nice if the current crisis could be defused by negotiations. And North Korea’s rogue leader at least left door slightly open this past week.

But failure to recognize what Pyongyang is doing — using its arsenal to bully other Asian nations as well as the United States — risks only postponing a day of real reckoning.

No one — here, at least — wants war. But Trump should insist on negotiations aimed at ending the current threat, not merely putting it off until another day.