I think it’s probably too much to hope that North Korea’s Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un, has really accepted that the bizarre nuclear-“escalation” tactic he was deploying earlier this year wasn’t succeeding at bringing him closer to anything at all except total annihilation, and although the government remains weirdly recalcitrant about developing their nuclear ambitions, he seems to have at least backed off of the provocation-strategy for the present.

The United Nations’ and other countries’ further imposition of sanctions and denial of aid after that little showdown, however, is really starting to make itself felt in their communist circle of the world, and the NorKs and their neighbors finally agreed to arrange the first senior inter-Korean dialogue in six years and the first such diplomatic meeting of Kim Jong Un’s Dear Leadership — but they bailed at the last second because of some perceived administrative slight from Seoul, or something. Via the NYT:

North Korea said it wasn’t sending its officials to Seoul for the two-day meeting that was to begin Wednesday because the South had changed the head of its delegation, Kim Hyung-suk, a spokesman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry, told reporters in a briefing. The ministry is in charge of North Korea matters.

There had been hope that the talks on reviving two high-profile economic cooperation projects would allow the countries to move past a relationship marred by recent North Korean threats of nuclear war and South Korean vows of counterstrikes. But the collapse over what’s essentially a protocol matter is testament to the difficulty the countries have in finding common ground. …

North Korea’s interest in talks followed its longstanding cycle of alternating between provocative behavior and attempts to seek dialogue in what analysts say are efforts to win outside concessions. …

Some observers believe Pyongyang was trying to ease ties with Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing as a way to win coveted talks with Washington, which it believes could grant it aid and security guarantees.

Even China, a traditional North Korean buddy, has been getting frustrated with their unruly charge lately; they were on board with the deepened economic sanctions earlier this year. These guys are quickly running out of options and allies, and meanwhile, North Koreans are suffering in poverty.

And to close, an apt tweet from one of my favorite parody accounts: