Seoul is proposing to hold high-level talks on January 9 with Pyongyang at the demilitarized zone between the two countries, South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said on Tuesday.
The minister suggested holding talks at the Panmunjom village after Kim Jong Un expressed hopes that the country's athletes would take part in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games set to take place in South Korea.
Seoul Sincere in Seeking Constructive Talks With Pyongyang
"Trump's confrontational tactics could very well derail the chances for talks," historian and journalist Tim Shorrock said on Tuesday. "His tweet [on Tuesday] morning already expresses the US disinterest in North-South dialogue."
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 января 2018 г.
Choi’s comments offered genuine prospects for constructive talks that could defuse tensions and help steer the Korean peninsula away from the threat of a full-scale war that could rapidly go nuclear, Shorrock, an expert on Korea and Northeast Asia said.
Shorrock recalled that South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in has consistently championed detente with the North and was a consistent supporter of the "Sunshine" policy of systematically improving ties with the North pursued by some previous leaders in Seoul.
"President Moon has made clear his interest in dialogue since the minute he was elected back in May ," he said.
The mainstream US media had sought to distort statements coming out of Pyongyang to make it appear that North Korea’s leaders were determined on nuclear confrontation and they had ignored Kim Jong Un’s clear call to reopen serious constructive talks with the South, Shorrock pointed out.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 12 ноября 2017 г.
"It is shameful that the US media has chosen to focus almost solely on Kim's statement that North Korea is now a nuclear power and completely missed his offer to begin a dialogue with South Korea," he said.
US policy on North Korea appeared to be driven by hard-line National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, an active service US Army lieutenant general who has expressed his determination to prevent North Korea having any nuclear deterrent to protect itself, Shorrock noted.
"The guy to watch is H.R. McMaster, who seems to be running Trump's Korea policy. He has said that living with a nuclear North Korea is impossible and that deterrence is not an acceptable alternative. That kind of talk leaves only one choice for North Korea — surrender their weapons or war," he said.
Trump Strategy Offers No Hope of Ending Korea Nuclear Impasse
Independent Institute Center for Peace and Freedom Director Ivan Eland agreed that current US policy, spearheaded by Trump’s threats, offered no hope of defusing the danger of nuclear conflict in northeast Asia and that they threatened to undermine any new dialogue between North and South Korea.
"If the two Koreas begin to have better relations, it will probably not be because of the blustering Trump," he said.
"Unless Kim Jong Un backs away from his economic and military demands, North Korea’s participation in the Olympics seems to be a long shot," he said.
The United States will not recognize any possible talks between North Korea and South Korea unless the talks result in the ban of all nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday.
Sanctions and “other” pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not — we will see!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2 января 2018 г.
"North Korea can talk to anyone they want, but the United States is not going to recognize it or acknowledge it until they agree to ban the nuclear weapons that they have," Haley told reporters.
"As we hear reports that North Korea might be preparing for another missile test, I hope that does not happen, but if it does we must bring even more measures to bear on the North Korean regime," Haley said.
In addition, Washington remains skeptical about the prospects of any talks between North Korea and South Korea and is unlikely to play any role in bilateral dialogue between the two countries, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on the same day.