My latest contribution to the Foreign Policy magazine, previewing the inter-Korean talks that just concluded:
Kim’s successful purges may complicate the practical aspects of dialogue. Among those killed were the intermediaries North Korea previously relied on to speak with South Korea — such as the late Jang, who even visited Seoul in 2002 during the high point of the inter-Korean relations. Jang reportedly returned to Pyongyang so impressed by South Korea’s economic development that he took with him several pieces of South Korean electronics and copies of the research reports from the Korea Development Institute, a government-run think tank. By contrast, Ri Son Kwon, the head of North Korea’s inter-Korean relations agency, who lead the North Korean delegation this week, has a reputation for being a short-tempered loudmouth. But he will be serving a leader whose intentions in building a nuclear arsenal — and, presumably, in negotiating over it — are clearer (to himself, if not yet to others) than those of his predecessors.Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in Are the Negotiators Korea Needs [Foreign Policy]
I'm not a fan of the headline (over which I have no input,) because I don't think Korea "needs" Kim Jong-un in any context. At any rate, talks are a welcome development after months and years of rising tension in the Korean Peninsula.