Very interesting links. One of the key parts of the first article is the reference to Axis of Evil. The ambassador and the americans appear to completely misunderstand Asian culture. It's not because they don't know, of course not. It's just that the political niceties of the West over-rule it. The reassurances could very well have had little value to DPRK because of how they were being portrayed. This is where they would run slap bang into the whole "face" aspect, and the shutters go up. To the North Koreans the Face issue can be more important than the political convenience for the West of labelling them as evil.