North Korea says it will recommit to the NPT and start working again on arms control measures towards disarmament -- as soon as the world accords it the status it feels it deserves.
So the simple answer would be to say, "OK, Kim, you're a nuclear weapons state. There you go. Now let's take those nukes off your hands." Right?
Wrong. Here are a few reasons why it isn't that simple:
- TRUST -- To put it bluntly, the world can't trust the DPRK. In the context of the Six-Party Talks, the North Korean negotiators have become very adept at dancing a delicate yet highly effective dance, in which they start trending towards the "positive" (for example, agreeing to allow inspectors back into Yongbyon), and then suddenly reverse momentum and go "negative" (for example, conducting an underground nuclear test). The DPRK is like a pendulum, except there is no way of telling when they will swing back the other way. You never know what to expect, so believing the North is hard.
- COMPLICATIONS -- The problem isn't that simple. There are lots of other factors to keep in mind, including but not limited to DPRK-ROK relations, economic aid and the lifting of trade barriers, and humanitarian relief. Recognizing North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state doesn't automatically mean that Russia, China, South Korea and Japan will automatically come to consensus on all these other issues. Which brings us to point 3:
- PERSPECTIVE -- To the DPRK, being granted a certain recognized status is a legitimate desire. Through the North Korean lens, having military nuclear capabilities means you get taken seriously on the world stage, and it isn't difficult to see why that is the sentiment there. The world's five recognized nuclear powers (US, UK, France, China, Russia) belong in the top 12 list of largest economies (by nominal GDP), and even India (#11), Israel (#40) and Pakistan (#45) are significantly more robust economically than North Korea (#88). So from North Korea's perspective, perhaps having nukes means more trade, more aid, and more credibility.
This of course doesn't work for the other countries involved in the Six-Party talks, especially the US and its strongest allies, the ROK and Japan. They see a clear security concern, and the US has had to make numerous assurances regarding its defense of its allies through its extended "nuclear umbrella." Japan and the ROK, for their part, are concerned about the nuclear presence in North Korea, though for very different reasons.
In short, every country (and I haven't even touched on China or Russia here) has a different perspective on giving North Korea what it demands.