US is open for talks with North Korea
For more on the story we are joined live on the phone by Alexander Vorontsov, Head of the Korean Department at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Is Pyongyang’s decision to propose holding talks to the US somehow linked with the recent failure of talks between North and South?
I suppose that we just now are witnesses of so-called peaceful offensive of North Korea. As you mentioned before, in April and March it was a very strong aggravation of separation on Korean Peninsular and it was a lot of very militant aggressive warnings and statements from both sides including Jong-un. And Jong-un was very strong, very tough and very militant in the expression of the position on rhetorical level and it became the cause of very deep crisis, military political crisis. But just now we can see the vice versa. After the launch of militant campaign and militant offensive, just now Jong-un started also very actively and dynamically the peaceful offensive and it is quite a multi-targeted campaign and political strategic line, it is with the all substantial and important partners or counterparts from North Korea, it is Seoul, Beijing, which was visited by the high-ranked politicians recently, it is Turkey, and Washington also. Of course it is very regrettable that the first contact and attempt to restore relations between North and South Korea failed to be succeeded but to my mind it is temporary failure based first of all on technical problems, that failed to agree on the protocol element of the dialogue approach and I hope that north-south dialogue and a very important negotiation dealing with Kaesong industrial zone restarting and so on would take place. And just now Washington also happened to be in the focus of Jong-un attention and Kim Jong-un, leader of Worker’s party, proposed high-level talk to Washington. It is quite logical and important integral part of this broad strategic offense on diplomatic field.
Do you believe that this proposal coming from North Korea is more than just pure formality and that real talks might follow?
It is a good question and the good answer for this question is we try to start and try to probe North Korean tension. Without starting a dialogue it is not possible to understand in reality how serious are intentions of North Korea. It is worse and it will be prudent to start the dialogue to see to which extent North Korea may be flexible, what is the seriousness of their intention and strategic plan and so on. My understanding is that North Korea indeed is interested in the substantial talk with the United States and the Republic of Korea as well as with Japan also. So, I think this turn in North Korean policy is quite promising and should be taken into serious consideration by Jong-un counterparts.
Voice of Russia