The United States and North Korea will resume working-level discussions on how to end North Korea’s nuclear program this weekend. The resumption comes after an extended period of inactivity that saw no serious talks between officials from the two nations, and minimal progress. After the departure of John Bolton, the US National Security Adviser, Pyongyang let it be known that it was more receptive to talks. Bolton, and other hawkish members of the Trump Administration were often regarded by the media, and North Korean government as a primary cause for the negotiations stalemate.
The stalemate began following the breakdown of the Hanoi summit in February. The June meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un was widely seen as an incentive for talks to resume, but that failed to occur. North Korea went back to its routine of test firing short range missiles, and blaming Washington for the lack of progress in talks. Pyongyang was careful not to directly blame President Trump for the stalemate, making it clear instead that it blamed Trump’s hawkish advisers and cabinet members.
Perhaps now that Bolton is gone, North Korea is more optimistic that it can gain some form of relief from the strict economic sanctions the US has in place. Time will tell, but preliminary talks will begin Friday or Saturday and we will see what transpires from there.