Move comes as North Korea & South Korea are planning Olympic talks, and as fears of military conflict grow.
North Korea is planning to reopen a border hotline with South Korea, in what they say is an effort to facilitate talks on their involvement in the upcoming winter Olympics taking place in the south.
According to Reuters, “The talks would aim to establish formal dialogue about sending a North Korean delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea next month, the official said. The statement came a day after South Korea proposed high-level discussions with North Korea following Kim’s earlier New Year’s address, in which he said he was open to speaking with Seoul.”
While North Korea’s increased rhetorical openness may seem ‘nice,’ this is a tactic they have employed numerous times.
When facing increased pressure, either from sanctions or the threat of war (this time both), North Korea often adopts a temporarily conciliatory posture.
This benefits the regime, since time is on their side. The longer they remain in power, the more advanced their nuclear missile program becomes.
However, it is possible that North Korea is becoming more concerned that the U.S. is really willing to take military action, and may be seeking ways to appease the allies of the world’s most powerful country.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s willingness to engage in discussions is understandable, since they have by far the most to lose from any military conflict – with most analysts predicting that even in the best case scenario, South Korea’s capitol of Seoul would be devastated in any war.
Unfortunately, history has shown that negotiations undertaken out of fear often end badly.