Analysts doubtful about North Korea’s “unconditional and early talks” proposal

January 9th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by ANI  

Seoul, Jan 9 (ANI): North Korea’s call for “unconditional and early talks” is creating confusion among many observers. While some analysts see it as Pyongyang’s attempt at reconciliation, others believe it is a well-timed effort to mislead diplomats and politicians about its intentions.

South Korea’s Vice Unification Minister Um Jong-sik found it “difficult” to take seriously North Korea’s call for “unconditional and early talks.”

According to the Christian Science Monitor, South Korean officials have characterized the North’s proposal as fitting the pattern of a regime that over the years has pursued a fight-then-talk strategy.

Until recently, North Korea has refused to return to six-party talks, which were last held in Beijing in December 2008. However, following an international condemnation over the shelling in November of a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea, in which two South Korean marines and two civilians were killed, it changed its strategy.

“North Korea hopes to fool the South Korean people by a tactical change,” Baek Seong-joo, Center for Security and Strategy Director at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said. He is convinced North Korea’s eagerness to return to the table may appeal to US policymakers, and added: “The US wants to resume six party talks. They see a change in the diplomatic climate.”

Meanwhile, Bae Jong-yun, a politics professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, raised doubt about the North’s leader Kim Jong-il’s intentions.

“I can’t figure out Kim Jong-il’s real intention. How much time does he have to manage life in North Korea,” he added, raising the question of the North Korean leader’s failing health.

On Friday, US envoy Stephen Bosworth ended a tour to northeast Asian capitals without any definitive response to North Korea’s offer for talks without preconditions. Japan and South Korea rejected the proposal. (ANI)

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