THE WASHINGTON POST – ANNA FIFIELD
North Korean government officials have been quietly trying to arrange talks with Republican-linked analysts in Washington, in an apparent attempt to make sense of President Trump and his confusing messages to Kim Jong Un’s regime.
The outreach began before the current eruption of threats between the two leaders but will probably become only more urgent as Trump and Kim have descended into name-calling that, many analysts worry, sharply increases the chances of potentially catastrophic misunderstandings.
“Their number one concern is Trump. They can’t figure him out,” said one person with direct knowledge of North Korea’s approach to Asia experts with Republican connections.
There is no suggestion that the North Koreans are interested in negotiations about their nuclear program — they instead seem to want forums for insisting on being recognized as a nuclear state — and the Trump administration has made clear it is not interested in talking right now.
At a multilateral meeting here in Switzerland earlier this month, North Korea’s representatives were adamant about being recognized as a nuclear weapons state and showed no willingness to even talk about denuclearization.