The planned North-South Korea meeting at Panmunjon on June 9 offered the remote hope that Pyongyang, after a third nuclear test, a new round of UN sanctions, and the spring season of hyperventilating belligerent rhetoric, could be coming to understand that it is, in fact, in an unprecedentedly bad place _ even for North Korea.
However, those hopes crashed by mid-week, as Pyongyang backtracked over levels of official engagement. And Sunday's call for anywhere, anytime, "senior-level" talks "without preconditions" with the United States only speaks to the unyielding strength of "old thinking" in Pyongyang, seeking to engage Washington and denigrate Seoul.
This is unfortunate because North Korea is now in the bull's eye of a slowly constricting US-South Korea-China triangle of strategic cooperation. Pyongyang's policy options are narrowing daily, even as its economic prospects continue to deteriorate and relations with its sole, erstwhile ally have come under increasing strain.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.