North Korea: So, can we have talks with the United States now?

posted at 5:35 pm on June 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

It wasn’t so very long ago that the North Koreans were making demands, à la legends in their own minds, for recognition as a nuclear state with phenomenal cosmic powers before they would deign to sit down with the United States and South Korea for diplomatic discussions — but oh, how the tables have turned in that tiny and poverty-stricken country. After suddenly and ignominiously cancelling on their immediate neighbors to the south last week, their state news agency reported early Sunday that the NorKs are now proposing high-level talks with the U.S. in the hopes of easing “tensions in the Korean Peninsula,” via CNN:

The topics that “can be sincerely discussed” include easing military tensions, changing a truce treaty to a peace treaty, and nuclear matters, according to a statement from the North’s National Defense Commission, as reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. It left some details — like where and when the talks might be held — up to Washington, and insisted U.S. officials should not lay out any preconditions for talks.

“(The United States should) not lose the opportunity that is laid out and should actively agree with our resolute step and good intention,” the commission said. …

It was something of an about face for the recently saber-rattling country, but it sounds like they were trying to maintain some level of self-imagined dignity with their demand that the United States not encumber them with any pesky nuclear-disarming preconditions before they’re allowed a seat at the adults’ table. My suspicion is that they are perhaps starting to feel the hurt of some of the economic sanctions and aid restrictions taking effect and are trying to save some face, but the U.S., of course, is having none of it:

Washington has been skeptical of such overtures, given North Korea’s history of alternating between provocations and engagement.

“We have always favored dialogue and, in fact, have open lines of communication” with North Korea, Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“Our desire is to have credible negotiations with the North Koreans, but those talks must involve North Korea living up to its obligations to the world, including compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, and ultimately result in denuclearization,” Reuters quoted Ms. Hayden as saying. “We will judge North Korea by its actions, and not its words, and look forward to seeing steps that show North Korea is ready to abide by its commitments and obligations.”

Even China, however — North Korea’s biggest diplomatic and financial buddy — is getting a little tired of playing babysitter, apparently. In California last week, President Xi Jinping said he agreed with President Obama on the point of a denuclearized North Korea, and his country is planning to bring it up at their own diplomatic discussions in short order:

China’s Foreign Ministry will hold a strategic dialogue with North Korea this week following Pyongyang’s surprise offer of new talks with the U.S., a ministry spokeswoman said Monday.

Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui will meet North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday in Beijing, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regularly scheduled briefing. Hua said the two will discuss bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

“China has been paying close attention to developments on the peninsula, and has been actively working toward the early resumption of dialogue and negotiation by all sides,” Hua said, referring to long-stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks hosted by China that include South Korea, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and North Korea.


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Comments

I have found it hard to speak with folks when their side of the conversation starts out by saying. Death to America.

Bmore on June 17, 2013 at 5:38 PM

How come the media don’t report the dychotomy of this being the only fat man in N. Korea?

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Didn’t Dennis Rodman take care of all of this already?

coldwarrior on June 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Bmore, make him into a 3000 lb man and his countrymen into thin hairs. No one else does.

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Wouldn’t it be fun if we just ignored the pipsqueak? That is, after we flatten his palace/mansion/whatever NK dictators live in.

Othniel on June 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2013 at 5:39 PM

To take a line from History of the World; Part One

“It is good to be the Kim.”

coldwarrior on June 17, 2013 at 5:42 PM

I guess hearing that the NSA bugged Chi-Com computers kinda freeked Il Pudgy out a little.

workingclass artist on June 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM

This isn’t new. The NKs have tried to sink the Six Party talks for years, in favor of bilateral talks with the US. For some reason they see to think we would be easier to blackmail one-on-one than if four of their neighbors were to sit at the table too.

MTF on June 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I have found it hard to speak with folks when their side of the conversation starts out by saying. Death to America.

Bmore on June 17, 2013 at 5:38 PM

That was early in the first campaign and she wasn’t used to being in the spotlight.

a capella on June 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM

The only way Obama forces South Korea to negotiate is if Kim Jong Un makes Islam the national religion and invites in jihadis to lob rockets at South Korea.

Fenris on June 17, 2013 at 5:56 PM

MTF on June 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Lil Kim’s dad and grandpa played the same game…and it is more than trying to use the one-on-one thing for blackmail or other such schemes.

Once NK and the US get involved in one-on-one talks, the legitimacy of the entire UN mandate going back to 1950 is rendered moot. Even more so if some sort of NK-US “treaty” is signed…even by Obama.

Once done, there is no legal reason for the US to be stationed in South Korea. USFK are part of the UNC, established in 1950. Imagine South Korea today trying to get a super majority of its National Assembly to vote to compel the United States to stick around…once North Korea has rendered that entire UN mandate moot? Imagine our Congress doing the same? Think the UN will vote in favor of continuing the UNC or that mandate allowing us to be there?

Us out of the way…South Korea gets a bit easier to deal with, from the North’s perspective.

coldwarrior on June 17, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Smart one, you do know better. You not being gay entitles you to comment on such.

Likely both of us not having been to the N. or S. poles entitles us to comment…and on and on. Heck, never having been to Iceland or Liechtenstein doesn’t prevent us to comment.

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2013 at 6:01 PM

To be sure, I’ve flown over them, many times, but still…

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2013 at 6:02 PM

He figures if the U.S. is stupid enough to give weapons to Al Qaeda then maybe the time is ripe for him to put his greasy hand out.

Ditkaca on June 17, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Ditkaca on June 17, 2013 at 6:09 PM

In a strange sort of way…that is not all that outlandish.

coldwarrior on June 17, 2013 at 6:11 PM

O/T for sure : Carter Ham to speak before a House Armed Services committee meeting about Libya next week. It will be a closed meeting.

esr1951 on June 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility. Have you ever thought anything through?

davidk on June 17, 2013 at 6:13 PM

The answer is ………… NEVER.

SC.Charlie on June 17, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM
Off topic a bit, but to credibility. Have you ever thought anything through?

davidk on June 17, 2013 at 6:13 PM

I don’t even understand what you guys are talking about.

VegasRick on June 17, 2013 at 6:25 PM

O/T for sure : Carter Ham to speak before a House Armed Services committee meeting about Libya next week. It will be a closed meeting.esr1951 on June 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Damn!

a capella on June 17, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Soooo if you haven’t been to North Korea you can’t talk about it? That pretty much rules out everyone who isn’t North Korean. And I know you said “Asia” Does that mean “close enough” is ok? I’ve been to Southern California so I guess I’m allowed to speak about Mexico, otherwise no.

WitchDoctor on June 17, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Don’t miss

Schadenfreude on June 17, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I knew DarkCurrent would join us. He is an expat. living in China! He loves communism and authoritarian regimes that much!

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 17, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM
Off topic a bit, but to credibility. Have you ever thought anything through?

davidk on June 17, 2013 at 6:13 PM

I don’t even understand what you guys are talking about.

VegasRick on June 17, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Dark Current is a constant apologist for China’s Potemkin Communism here on HA.

ebrown2 on June 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I knew DarkCurrent would join us. He is an expat. living in China! He loves communism and authoritarian regimes that much!

Raquel Pinkbullet on June 17, 2013 at 6:46 PM

It’s not so bad really

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Considering how often Asian countries censor the media and the internet, she’s probably more credible not having been there.

Ronnie on June 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Dark Current is a constant apologist for China’s Potemkin Communism here on HA.

ebrown2 on June 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

China’s just a Potemkin village, really. Nothing to be concerned with.

Move along.

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Ronnie on June 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Ok :D

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

The topics that “can be sincerely discussed” include easing military tensions, changing a truce treaty to a peace treaty, and nuclear matters, according to a statement from the North’s National Defense Commission, as reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. It left some details — like where and when the talks might be held — up to Washington, and insisted U.S. officials should not lay out any preconditions for talks.

“(The United States should) not lose the opportunity that is laid out and should actively agree with our resolute step and good intention,” the commission said. …

Translation: We are hungly and lunning out of food and velly velly solly.

Steve Z on June 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

It wasn’t so very long ago that the North Koreans were making demands, à la legends in their own minds, for recognition as a nuclear state with phenomenal cosmic powers before they would deign to sit down with the United States and South Korea for diplomatic discussions/

It was the bolded part that was the stumbling block. The One doesn’t like anyone who dares to claim the Deity status he sees as rightfully his, alone.

I have found it hard to speak with folks when their side of the conversation starts out by saying. Death to America.

Bmore on June 17, 2013 at 5:38 PM

That was Lil’ Kim’s shtick. Mini-Kim is more the “Kill Everybody, OOB!!” type.

And then he wants to talk about the alternate universe inside his pants.

I say we send Joe Biden. He can relate to that.

/I’m not quite sure if that’s sarc or not.

cheers

eon

eon on June 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Kim Jung-Un probably wants to pick up a few pointers on public surveillance and spying on citizenry.

JetBoy on June 17, 2013 at 7:16 PM

I think it would be in America’s best interest to consider China a very competent competitor

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM

“The loss of any army is always caused by underestimating the enemy. Therefore gather information and watch the enemy carefully.” – Zhuge Liang

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Once, maybe.

But, soon, it’ll be full ownership. PRC outfits are the only ones making big property buys around here of late.

coldwarrior on June 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Zhuge Liang

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:28 PM

“The loss of any army is always caused by underestimating the enemy. Therefore gather information and watch the enemy carefully.” – Zhuge Liang

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM

…which is precisely the difference between understanding that China’s taking an expansionist view in S.E. Asia and seeing the unsustainable economic and demographic problems that they are going to run into.

ebrown2 on June 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

…which is precisely the difference between understanding that China’s taking an expansionist view in S.E. Asia ..

ebrown2 on June 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Sinophobic nonsense… China’s expanded where in the last century?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Sinophobic nonsense… China’s expanded where in the last century? – DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 8:34 PM

TIBET

SC.Charlie on June 17, 2013 at 9:01 PM

DarkCurrent, we also have been at war with China. It was The Korean War. Conservative estimates of Chinese who were killed are around 250,000. But we probably killed a lot more. One who was killed was on of Mao’s sons.

SC.Charlie on June 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Off topic a bit, but to credibility: has Erika Johnsen ever even been to Asia?

DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Didn’t Three Dog Night answer this decades ago? “Well I’ve never been to Spain…”

Kraken on June 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM

DarkCurrent, we also have been at war with China. It was The Korean War. Conservative estimates of Chinese who were killed are around 250,000. But we probably killed a lot more. One who was killed was on of Mao’s sons.

SC.Charlie on June 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Only one? Pity. That monster was the Chinese version of Stalin.

MelonCollie on June 17, 2013 at 11:59 PM

We should absolutely have bro-lateral talks with Dennis Rodman.

virgo on June 18, 2013 at 12:23 AM

Kim only wants to be one of the Big Boys.
A few more pounds and he’ll succeed.

TimBuk3 on June 18, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Obama is the perfect president to speak to North Korea, somehow I think they will understand each other…meanwhile, in the grown up world…kiss our @ss NK, you are nothing, and mean nothing, and have nothing.

You are about to crumble, the only question is who will be their to pick up the pieces, China or the South?

right2bright on June 18, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Sinophobic nonsense… China’s expanded where in the last century? – DarkCurrent on June 17, 2013 at 8:34 PM

TIBET

SC.Charlie on June 17, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Here’s a map of China circa 1890

Notice that it includes Tibet, as it already had for centuries, but has in fact lost territory since then.

DarkCurrent on June 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Here’s a map of China circa 1890

Notice that it includes Tibet, as it already had for centuries, but has in fact lost territory since then. -
DarkCurrent on June 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Tell that to the people of Tibet. At least the United Kingdom is going to allow Scotland to have a referendum on becoming a separate country, again. They became part of Great Britain in 1607 when James VI of Scotland became James I of Great Britain.

SC.Charlie on June 18, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Darkcurrent, how many times has Poland appeared and disappeared on the maps of Europe?

SC.Charlie on June 18, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Darkcurrent, how many times has Poland appeared and disappeared on the maps of Europe?

SC.Charlie on June 18, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Unlike Poland, Tibet has never been recognized as an independent country by any major power in modern history.

DarkCurrent on June 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM