After a largely silent several weeks following its invitation to in-person talks to U.S. President Donald Trump, the communist regime governing North Korea has reportedly accepted high-level talks between its officials and those of South Korea, to occur on March 29.
The South Korean Unification Ministry announced this weekend that the talks would occur on Thursday and center around the preparation of a summit planned for April, in which North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have agreed to meet.
“North Korea delivered its agreement via the border communication channel today, saying it will send a three-member delegation headed by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification,” to the meeting this week, according to South Korean outlet Yonhap, citing a statement from the Unification Ministry. “The government will make full preparations for the inter-Korean summit through the March 29 talks.”
Moon, a leftist, has spearheaded a national policy aimed at softening the approach towards North Korea, responsible for acts of terrorism, abduction, and sabotage against the south for decades. Moon’s largest victory on the world stage has been incorporating North Korea into February’s Winter Olympic Games held in PyeongChang, South Korea, at the expense of the South Korean taxpayer.
Since then, North Korea has tentatively agreed to the Kim-Trump summit but has made no efforts to plan or schedule it. This week’s inter-Korean talks are expected to be one step forward in making that event happen, which the White House announced would occur no later than May.
A report Monday in South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo suggests, citing sources with knowledge of the situation, that North Korea may back out of that meeting.
“I am not sure whether the North Korea-U.S. summit will take place. We ask the South Korean government to mediate,” a source who attended a meeting between North and South Korean officials in Finland last week told the newspaper. According to Chosun‘s sources, North Korea expected Trump to drop sanctions on North Korea before the meeting—sanctions that are currently unprecedentedly choking off Pyongyang’s revenue sources—and have been disappointed in the White House’s insistence that North Korea follow its words up with action.
Another concern for North Korea may be the appointment of former UN ambassador John Bolton as Trump’s new National Security Adviser. Bolton has openly called for military action against North Korea and, this weekend, warned that talks with the rogue state may embolden it to take more illegal action.
“I think [North Korea are] very worried that they’ve got a different president in the White House. … They’re worried about the pressure that the president has already put on,” Bolton said in a media appearance on Saturday, suggesting Pyongyang is trying to “slow-roll the negotiations” to make them last as long as possible.
By the end of last week, when the president announced Bolton’s appointment via Twitter, North Korea had remained largely silent through its government media outlets and the State Department confirmed that no North Korean officials had reached out to plan the head of state summit. By Monday, the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun had returned to its typical invective against the United States.
“By nature, the U.S. has left no means untried to stifle the DPRK out of its inveterate bitter repugnancy against the latter,” Rodong Sinmun railed on Monday, condemning yet another U.N. resolution against its egregious human rights abuses. “The U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK has faced the fate of bankruptcy. Just as a drowning man catching at a straw, the U.S. is resorting to the false ‘human rights’ racket against the DPRK in the face of successive bitter defeats.”