Amidst heightened tensions between the USA and the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea, an unconventional proposal from the hermit kingdom may be brewing which could lead to the first real diplomatic meetings between the two nations since the end of the Korean War. According to American-allied South Korea, the DPRK wishes to deliver an “unconventional” proposal to the US involving possible nuclear talks.
South Korean security advisor Chung Eui-yong is slated to meet with his American counterpart, H.R. McMaster and other officials during a two-day visit to Washington D.C. beginning Thursday the 8th. North and South Korea are also expected to hold their first summit in over a decade during late April.
Though many, myself included, are happy to see potential progress being made towards greater diplomatic relations, some are less optimistic and more cautious. When briefed on the situation, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the US was cautiously optimistic that progress is being made, though it remains to be seen whether North Korea’s actions will match its words. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has also weighed in on the situation, saying that sanctions on the country should not be lifted at this time and that the end goal should be nothing less than total denuclearization of North Korea.
It’s exciting to see developments such as these occurring within the usually stubborn and steadfast North Korea and I’m anxious to see what the result of this proposal could be. Personally, I suspect that North Korea is beginning to feel the increased pressure from the US in recent months and wishes to avoid a conflict.
It’s clear that the country’s actions have not only angered its enemies and rivals but alienated it's few allies as well. Even China, a passive supporter of the North Korean regime since the Korean War, has begun to distance itself from the erratic and unstable DPRK. Only time will tell, of course, but I see North Korea’s willingness to open negotiations as a very promising sign of potential cooperation.