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White House expects North Korea summit to happen despite Pyongyang's silence

13 March 2018

As recently as August, Trump tweeted about North Korea: "Talking is not the answer!"

Pyongyang has been surprisingly quiet on the slew of momentous, and possibly even historic, events that have come in quick succession over the past few months. That's beyond the North's promise not to resume nuclear testing and missile flights or publicly criticize U.S. But both his premise and his conclusion are wrong - dangerously wrong and catastrophically risky - and North Korea, through conversations with South Korean officials, reportedly indicated as much this week.

Koh Yu-hwan, who teaches North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said the regime has long sought a peace treaty to end the more than 60-year-old cease-fire between the two sides and help guarantee its safety. As Baik suggested, sometimes it takes a while to figure out what that message should be.

Those questions range from the basic where, when and how to more nuanced issues, including how the USA should approach the talks, whether Washington should accept anything short of North Korean denuclearization and whether to involve the fates of three Americans held hostage by Pyongyang.

Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes "smooth" talks between North Korea's leader and the presidents of the United States and South Korea can produce progress towards Pyongyang's denuclearization, according to state media. North Korea has said that for it to give up nuclear weapons, the safety of its regime must be guaranteed and the military threat against it must be removed. Trump belittled Kim as "Little Rocket Man", while the North called Trump the "mentally deranged U.S. dotard". The two men would face each other after a public volley of insults, with Mr Trump calling Mr Kim "Little Rocket Man" and Mr Kim referring to Mr Trump as a "dotard".

A chain of events had been taking place recently, especially since the visit of a high-level North Korean delegation to the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter games, in which Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, was a key member. "The offer was made and we accepted", she said, noting that Pyongyang made several promises ahead of the meeting.

Zhang Liangui, a professor and Korea scholar at the Central Party School in Beijing, emphasized that the North Korea nuclear issue "involves geopolitical and regional security and China naturally should take an active part in it". -South Korean military exercises during that time. "That's what we're talking about again with other agencies, and I had a fair amount of telephone time calling others to talk about this within our own government". While China played a critical role in ensuring the survival of North Korea and the political stability of the region, it now finds itself on the sidelines while critical decisions are being made in Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington. "I would say remain patient, and we'll see what happens", he said.

White House expects North Korea summit to happen despite Pyongyang's silence