Top North Korean Officials Still Seek to Go to US for Talks

State Department Has Yet to Approve Visit

by Jason Ditz, February 20, 2017

While making preparations for the talks is taking much, much longer than anyone expected, North Korea still appears to intend to send a group of senior officials to the United States to conduct negotiations with “former” American officials, the closest the sides have had to a real meeting in over five years.

Those familiar with the situation say that North Korea has expressed interest in the idea, but that the State Department has yet to take any action, and hasn’t even approved the visit. The expectation is that a decision from the State Department might take several more weeks.

The big problem is that there is a general consensus among State Department officials that North Korea won’t give the US the concessions they want anyhow, and thus they don’t want anything to do with the talks, and aren’t clear they even want to let the talks happen.

This has been a recurring problem in US-North Korea relations, with the US often viewing even basic negotiation as tantamount to “rewarding” the North Korean government, and continued acrimony having so much momentum that diplomacy is dismissed out of hand.

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