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Proposed dialogue with U.S. aims to create favorable external environment for DPRK


09:02, June 18, 2013

BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- After the latest endeavor to resume high level talks with South Korea failed, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) stretched out an olive branch to the United States, signaling an important turn of Pyongyang's foreign policy.

Earlier on Sunday, a spokesman for the DPRK's National Defense Commission proposed high-level talks with the United States "to defuse tension and realize regional peace and security on the Korean Peninsula."

The initiative taken by Pyongyang indicates that the leadership of the country was rethinking about its state strategy and turning its pivot from a seclusive stance toward more engagement with the outside world so as to create a favorable external environment for its development.

From launching Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite into space last December to conducting the third nuclear test this February, Pyongyang has styled itself as a tough figure and hence suffered more sanctions and pressure from the international community.

But Pyongyang started to soften its stance in May, focusing more on the country's agriculture and economy. The DPRK leader, Kim Jong Un, has inspected various sectors concerning the people's livelihood lately, including a fishery station, a foodstuff factory, a pig farm, and a plastic tube shop.

On June 6, Pyongyang made a four-point proposal, suggesting direct talks with South Korea on issues of normalizing the operation in the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ) and resuming the tour of Mt. Kumgang.

Unfortunately, the two sides failed to agree on the level of chief delegates and called off the working-level talks, the first ever in six years if convened.

In response to the DPRK initiative, Washington stated its desire to have "credible" negotiations with the DPRK but demanded steps by the Asian nation to show its readiness to abide by its obligations, including compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, and ultimately realize denuclearization.

The U.S. State Department said Friday that the United States, Japan and South Korea will hold a trilateral meeting next week on the situation of the Korean Peninsula in Washington.

With regard to the beaming rapprochement, some U.S. analysts believe it is possible to resume the DPRK-U.S. dialogue and even multilateral talks similar to the six-party talks.

While others think the statement was more symbolic than practical since the two sides have a huge gap in their pre-conditions of their dialogue.

Pyongyang feels restless to the massive U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises taking itself as the presumed enemy and refuses to abandon its nuclear program until the U.S. threat and intimidation are removed. Washington demands actions from the DPRK to abandon its defiant attitude first.

Whether the DPRK-U.S. dialogue can be kick-started remains unknown.

Some optimists say the DPRK and the United States have never cut off contact despite ups and downs in their relations.

On the governmental level, the two countries held their third round of high-level talks in Beijing in February 2012 and reached a deal on food assistance.

Under the deal, Washington promised 240,000 tons of food aid for the DPRK in exchange for the latter's promises that Pyongyang would suspend enrichment of uranium and cancel nuclear and missile tests.

On the non-governmental front, former NBA star Dennis Rodman visited Pyongyang in February. Former U.S. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt paid a secretive trip to the DPRK in January. Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter also visited the country in 2011.

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