"The North Koreans will never be one thing or the other. And here is the difference. Up until the point in which negotiations actually start, you'll see both streams going side by side. Once negotiations start, you'll see much less and in some cases none at all of these what we consider provocative actions."
"You've also been holding informal talks with North Korea. Do you see any changes in perhaps their willingness to engage lately?
"As far as you can judge, they really keep trying and trying to figure out what it would take to get a positive response from the United States. So I don't think there has been a shift. I think they are just frustrated because they think they can't get traction."
"We see China and South Korea getting close together and Japan and North Korea getting close. How do you assess these changes?"
"Looks pretty dismal, the landscape, for putting this back together again in any way that it can be productive. So I suspect that people are going to have to think about a new forum in order to overcome these really negative trends."
"If Prime Minister Abe does visit North Korea, how will that affect the trilateral alliance between Washington, Seoul and Tokyo?"
"If it were to happen tomorrow, let's say, I think it would be a shock. If it happens some point in the future after the three capitals are able to consult and people get more comfortable, maybe it won't get quite as negative."
"Do you think it will harm the trilateral cooperation at all?"
"I think it will. I think there will be an effort to pretend that it doesn't.
But in truth, I think it will be something that people will have to work very hard at to fix."
"How likely is it for us to see Kim Jong-un meet with Xi Jinping or Prime Minister Abe?"
"I would bet he would meet with Prime Minister Abe before he meets with Xi Jinping. It's just my sense that's liable to happen first."