On Twitter, I’ve been discussing my post from the other day with experts on North Korea. A significant number of them think I’m right: North Korea’s statement about a possible attack on Guam, prefaced by a statement of concern about flights over South Korea by US B-1B bombers based in Guam, is an offer to negotiate.
North Korea has followed up that statement with another that says that Kim Jong Un has reviewed the plan and has decided to wait for a US move before putting it into action.
There may be an opening to dial the rhetoric back and to avoid the nuclear war that Donald Trump threatened and the attack on Guam that Kim threatens. It’s our move: propose negotiations.
Nobody outside of our group of experts seems to see this. The media are reporting as if the North Korean statements about the overflights don’t exist and the threat against Guam came out of nowhere. They see Kim’s review of the plans and putting them aside as knuckling under to Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s strong statements.
Let me be very clear on this. The opening may be illusory. Negotiations may not work. Nobody who was discussing the issue with me last night thinks we should give up anything; just that we should test that opening.
There is no indication that the administration has picked up on the opening to negotiate. Continuing on the current path risks war, and both sides have threatened it will be nuclear.