Dec 12, 2019 / 17:02

Bargaining, again!

The Hanoitimes - Donald Trump has now more urgent domestic headache than seeking substantial progress in talks with Kim Jong-un.

Signals from North Korean in recent days are showing certain deterioration in bilateral relations with the US while messages from Washington are not so emphatic but conflicting. Pyongyang declared US - North Korea's talks on denuclearization over and stated that the nuclear issue were off the negotiating table. Not only that, this country fired missiles again. 

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump

Except for a verbal threat by US president Donald Trump to use military means against North Korea's nuclear program, he himself, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have been always exercising constraint and adopted a more conciliatory than aggressive attitude towards North Korea. Despite the policy changes publicly announced by this country, Trump deliberately showed indifference and still spoke of what he called friendly personal relationship with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

It seems that the US side isn't worried much about these newest developments and knows why North Korea has done it at this moment. Washington seems to be sure that North Korea only wanted to raise pressure to substantially gear up nuclear talks between the two sides, or in other words: think in one way and act in another.

North Korea's growing impatience is easy to be understood. Some months ago, it already sent some kind of ultimatum to the US, giving the US until this year's end to present a concrete roadmap towards removing all sanctions Washington has been imposing on Pyongyang in exchange for denuclearization. Now, about two weeks before the deadline expires, the US still does nothing. For the aims of saving face, showing dissatisfaction and increasing pressures on the US, North Korea has been using its well-known tactics of approaches and weapons again. Launching missiles again. Nuclear deterrence again. And bargaining again. But the US seems to benefit from the current situation more than North Korea. That is why North Korea can't play the so-called time card like the US. The longer this situation lasts, the more harmful and uncomfortable it will be for North Korea.

Donald Trump has now more urgent domestic headache than seeking substantial progress in talks with Kim Jong-un. For pragmatical reasons and interests, he now prefers the preservation of the status quo to risking facing failures or reversal of peace talks process while progress seems to be not at hand. Therefore, the US tried to scale down North Korea's rhetoric and Donald Trump once again hailed his personal relationship with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

By repeating the bargaining game, North Korea puts itself in a dilemma and put the US in the same situation. What the future will bring to both of them depends on how they deal with this new lethargy and on how Donald Trump will use this issue for his presidential campaign.