North Korea is a weak and isolated country, but it recently rebuffed demands by the United States, Russia, Japan, China, and South Korea to return to the Six Party Talks on eliminating its nuclear weapons program. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il, says Pyongyang might participate in these negotiations “when conditions are suitable.”
What’s going on? It is one thing for North Korea to supply nuclear weapons to rogue states or terrorist groups; it’s another for it to say “no” to the most powerful nations on earth. The time has come for these five countries to act together to contain the immediate North Korean threat and address other threats that are emerging in Northeast Asia.
[South Korean President] Moon’s challenge is get something from Kim [Jong-un] that he can then sell to [President] Trump. To judge from Trump’s endless flattery of Kim, this shouldn’t be too hard. The question is whether this game can persist indefinitely without definitive evidence of North Korean actions [as opposed to words] of what Kim has supposedly agreed to.
[Regarding the lack of detailed progress in North Korea's disarmament] I’m shocked at how superficial things have been...I think the North Koreans smell dysfunction and they see dysfunction in [President Trump]’s tweets and his compliments and his willingness to meet again.