For the first time in nearly five years, senior North Korean delegates may journey to the U.S. to hold a formal meeting with President Trump.
According to The Washington Post, these are the first initial signs that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seeking to open up a communicative relationship with the new Trump administration. The meeting is being formally titled as the “Track 1.5 talks.”
In recent weeks, North Korea has raised the eyebrows of the global community through its unauthorized ballistic missile tests and the alleged state-sanctioned assassination of Kim’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam.
The U.S. official tasked with scheduling and arranging the meeting between American and North Korean representatives is Donald S. Zagoria, a National Committee on American Foreign Policy member who has previously organized similar meetings. Pyongyang’s director of the U.S. affairs department, Choe Son Hui, will represent North Korea.
It remains to be seen if visas for the North Korean officials will be approved. Pyongyang officials are reportedly hopeful since Track 1.5 talks have not taken place in the U.S. since the death of former leader Kim Jong-il in 2011.
University of Leeds’ North Korea expert Adam Cathcart believes U.S. foreign policy with the isolationist state is “hanging in the balance.”
“I think the North Koreans ought to be pretty happy, because the Americans have laid off criticizing them too much and have, in fact, been making things quite easy for them,” said Cathcart. “But at some point, they are going to have to decide whether to pick up the cudgel.”
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