It's been a tumultuous month for inter-Korean relations, as North Korea launched a volley of verbal abuse against the South, then decided to blow up their joint contact office, warning it was just the start of military action.
But the stream of threats have quietened down, and the North's leader Kim Jong-un reportedly suspended a military attack on South Korea.
Today we take a look at these mixed signals from the North.
Joining me today is Chun In-bum, former Lieutenant General and Commander of Special Warfare Command of the Republic of Korea Army. We also connect with Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, specializing in foreign policy and civil liberties, who was a special assistant to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
North Korea seems to be backing down from its aggression towards the South. North Korean state media said last week that Kim Jong-un decided to postpone plans to take military action against the South, and we haven't heard from his sister since. What do you think triggered the sudden change of tune?
What kind of military action do you think would come from North Korea, if they do decide to take some kind of action?
President Moon Jae-in's special advisor Moon Chung-in recently said the North Koreans have probably read John Bolton's book which expresses great skepticism regarding the U.S.-N. Korea talks on denuclearization. He said it's likely Pyeongyang is now pessimistic about making progress on resuming discussions.
Do you think the summits proved to be more trouble than they were worth, causing more damage to future relations or negotiations? How do you think the summit should have been done?
Bolton's book also mentions how President Trump questioned the presence of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea and the U.S. have been unable to agree on defense cost-sharing for months. How important is it for the South Korean and U.S. leaders to reaffirm the strength their alliance in responding to North Korea, and what do you think Seoul and Washington can do to improve their political cooperation?
Until now, the U.S. has tried strategic patience, maximum pressure, and President Trump's personal means of appeasing the North Koreans. What needs to be done differently to deal with a figure like Kim Jong-un?
Chun In-bum, former Lieutenant General and Commander of Special Warfare Command of the Republic of Korea Army and Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, specializing in foreign policy and civil liberties. Thank you for starting the week with us.