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North Korea considers dialogue with U.S.

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A senior North Korean diplomat says Pyongyang will have dialogue with the United States if conditions are right, reported 9News (Australia).

Choe Son Hui, North Korea's foreign ministry director general for US affairs, made the comment to reporters in Beijing on Saturday as she was travelling home from Norway, according to Yonhap news agency.

"We'll have dialogue if the conditions are there," she said when asked if the North was preparing to hold talks with the Trump administration.

When asked if North Korea was also preparing to talk with the new government in South Korea, of liberal President Moon Jae-in, Choe said: "We'll see."
The comments by Choe, who is a veteran member of the North's team of nuclear negotiators, came amid stepped up international efforts to press North Korea and ease tension over its pursuit of nuclear arms.

US President Donald Trump warned in an interview in late April that a "major, major conflict" with the North was possible but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programs.
Trump later said he would be "honoured" to meet the North's leader, Kim Jong Un, under the right conditions.

Choe was in Norway for so-called Track Two talks with former US government officials, according to Japanese media, the latest in a series of such meetings.
A source with knowledge of the latest meeting said at least one former US government official took part but the US administration was not involved.

South Korea's Moon, elected this week on a platform of a moderate approach to North Korea, says he is willing to visit Pyongyang under the right circumstances and that dialogue must be used along with sanctions to resolve the problem over North Korea's weapons.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests in defiance of UN and US sanctions and is developing long-range missiles to deliver atomic weapons.

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A North Korean parliamentary committee sent a rare letter of protest to the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday over its new package of tougher sanctions, reported The Japan Times.

The sanctions were condemned as a “heinous act against humanity” by the foreign affairs committee of the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly, according to a state media report.

It was not immediately clear how the protest was conveyed — if it was sent by mail or how it was addressed — since North Korea and the United States have no diplomatic relations and virtually no official channels of communication. The report, carried by North’s Korean Central News Agency, said the letter was sent Friday.

The Republican-led House overwhelmingly voted May 4 to impose the new sanctions, which target North Korea’s shipping industry and use of what the bill called “slave labor.”

It’s not unusual for Pyongyang to condemn Washington’s moves to censure it, but direct protests to Congress are exceptionally rare. Pyongyang normally expresses its displeasure with Washington through statements by the Foreign Ministry or other institutions, or through representatives at its United Nations mission in New York.

Staff of lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said they had not received a copy of the letter. However, Rep. Brad Sherman, the top-ranking Democrat on its Asia subcommittee who read the letter online, said it demonstrated North Korea’s vulnerability to sanctions that it was calling for the House to “think twice” about strengthening them.

“It is the regime of Kim Jong Un that should rethink its dangerous nuclear weapons tests, ballistic missile tests, abhorrent human rights record, and state support for terrorism. Sanctions will be tightened if North Korea continues these activities,” Sherman said in a statement. He added the U.S. should be ready to hold talks and relieve sanctions if the North agrees to real concessions on its nuclear and missile programs.

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University, said it’s not unprecedented for the North to directly contact the U.S. legislature or government. Pyongyang sent letters to the United States in 1984 calling for the opening of three-way talks between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington.

But he said Friday’s protest was also notable in that it was sent by the recently revived parliamentary foreign affairs committee, which was discontinued by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, in 1998.

The move to restart the committee has been seen as an attempt to create a “window” for contacts with the outside world — Seoul and Washington in particular.
Pyongyang has had more than its usual share of criticism for Washington in recent months.

It has been in high-indignation mode for the past two months because of military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea that it sees as a prelude to invasion. This year’s wargames were the biggest ever, and reportedly included training for precision strikes and assaults intended to take out Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

The North also announced last week that it thwarted what it claims was a CIA-backed attempt to assassinate Kim. On Friday, its Central Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement suggesting the United States and South Korea are harboring suspects and should extradite them to the North immediately.

At the same time, however, a senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official flew to Oslo, Norway, this week to meet with former U.S. officials and scholars in what is known as “track 2” talks on a range of nuclear, security and bilateral issues. The talks, which are held intermittently, are an informal opportunity for the two sides to exchange opinions and concerns.

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It seems unlikely that the US will attempt to militarily attack North Korea and start a conventional war on the Korean Peninsula, especially after Pyongyang has withdrawn from nuclear weapons, which is seen as a deterrent mechanism for that country, reported Pravda (Russia).

But even after President Donald Trump lowered the tone of his rhetoric, North Korea remains vigilant. Recently, the official daily Rodong Sinmun said that "Washington still has plans to occupy the northern part of the Korean Peninsula with the help of its allies, Japan and South Korea."

Also, the country accused the US and South Korea of plotting a terrorist attack on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un from an action orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of those two countries within territory of North Korea that would cause his murder with biochemical substances.
Certainly the North Korean government, through its espionage and counter-espionage apparatus, watches over the footsteps and plots of its enemies in this direction and follows the maneuvers of the US and allies. The West also has secret and covert projects to try to carry out its public goal of overthrowing the North Korean government.

The US establishment has been studying ways to achieve this goal for decades without any strong results so far. A recent initiative seeks to find formulas to realize this desire without the need for a conventional war, but rather using more subtle means of aggression.

The NK Instability Project conducted by the US-Korea Institute of School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington has held a series of workshops between 2016 and 2017 to discuss the potential for destabilization and collapse of North Korea's government and political and economic system.

The Institute receives support from the South Korean government, the Carnegie Corporation, the MacArthur Foundation, and South Korean and US donors. Project members also have links with US and South Korean governments.
From the workshops, academics and researchers have produced reports in which they thoroughly analyze scenarios of "chaos" and "regime change" in the Asian country.

In one of them, entitled "The Arab Spring and North Korea," the author, Dr In Nam-sik, a South Korean expert in the Middle East, addresses the possibility of a North of the Korean peninsula equal to those seen in the Arab countries recently, known as the "Arab Spring".

According to the author, a "regime change" in North Korea could be similar to what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In the first case, the government was dismissed and the country is now seeking to follow a Western-style liberal democratic line, albeit with difficulties; In the second, the system has hardly changed and seems to be only continuing the previous regime; In the third, there is virtually no government and the country has become a territory divided into tribes fighting each other to gain power, while terrorist groups like ISIS have a strong presence there.
Other authors also compare the possible future of North Korea with that of other nations that experienced similar regimes that were overthrown.

They discuss the possibility of the fall of the government through international pressures and sanctions, which has been occurring for years, causing economic and humanitarian difficulties. The radicalization of this strategy, although it has not yet had any effect against successive Pyongyang governments, could lead to popular dissatisfaction.

Conspiracies within the army and the ruling party, as well as the sudden death or even the murder of Kim Jong-un, are also taken into account for future "instability", "regime change" or "collapse" of the country. It is not ruled out that there may be a civil war or an invasion of North Korea by South Korea and the United States.

However, this last event is the most unlikely, according to the authors' general view. Even the strengthening of civil society that allows the birth of organizations opposed to the government is seen with doubts, analyzing the history of the country, which has a very cohesive and united society.
Despite the difficulty of finding a loophole that would allow it to interfere directly within North Korean government and society, the United States continues to seek control of the entire Korean territory without the need for open warfare.

Looking back, the frequent denunciations by Pyongyang, which are ridiculed by the international media, are not at all fanciful. This is precisely why North Korea seeks to give special attention to its security system.

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