+ A

Time for dialogue

Feb 21,2018
The senior adviser and daughter of the U.S. president, Ivanka Trump, is expected to visit South Korea for Sunday’s closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The Unification Ministry also expects a senior North Korean delegation to attend the closing ceremony if Ivanka is there. The PyeongChang Olympics could attract international political attention once again with the possibility of U.S. and North Korean officials sitting under one roof.

President Moon Jae-in said it is premature to talk about an inter-Korean summit at the moment, likening the situation to “asking for hot water from a well.” He suggested that the two Koreas cannot meet unless Washington and Pyongyang get closer to a dialogue first.

He said he expected the mood between the two Koreas could lead to talks between the United States and the North regarding denuclearization.

There is the growing consensus that dialogue is necessary between the United States and North Korea, he said. In an interview with CBS News, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said that he was “listening” for Pyongyang to tell that it is ready for talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent his sister Kim Yo-jong to South Korea as a special envoy during the PyeongChang Games and formally proposed an inter-Korean summit. If he is really sincere, he also should send signals to Washington for dialogue.

North Korea could break the ice by sending home the Korean-Americans detained in Pyongyang, including Kim Dong-chul, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison on spying charges.

Pyongyang will not go anywhere if it keeps up its saber-rattling and hard talk. In an opinion article published in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, Pyongyang said that it was not “thirsty” for talks with the United States, and that time was on its side.

It is only inviting harsher sanctions and tougher lives with such a belligerent attitude. Instead of waging a war of nerves with Washington, Pyongyang should stop circling the well and instead go to the right place to get hot water.