Analyst: North Korea not ruling out diplomacy with Biden administration

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Jan. 8 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un addressed inter-Korean relations and outside ties on the third day of North Korea‘s Eighth Party Congress on Friday, but provided few details on his policies.

Kim, whose birthday is Friday, reviewed Pyongyang’s foreign relations, including South Korea policy, “as required by the prevailing situation and the changed times,” state news agency KCNA, referring to the third session of the Congress on Thursday.

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The lack of specific information on Kim’s strategy is raising speculation in the South, where analysts said Kim could be signaling a willingness to initiate diplomacy with the incoming U.S. administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Diplomacy with the United States could come with conditions, however.

Lim Eul-chul, a professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, told CBS No Cut News it is likely North Korea desires “trust and respect” from the United States.

Kim could be seeking U.S. recognition as leader of a nuclear weapons state as a prerequisite for negotiations, the South Korean analyst said.

Other analysts in the South said the North Korean report on the third day of the Party Congress is a preview of a more detailed message.

South Korean analyst Kim Dong-yup told CBS No Cut News that the latest report from Pyongyang indicates the North could hold a meeting of its Supreme People’s Assembly at the end of the month to elaborate on U.S. policy.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the “prevailing situation” mentioned in the North Korean report referred to economic sanctions, the coronavirus pandemic and the “intensifying conflict” between the United States and China.

Kim was stressing the importance of pursuing inter-Korean relations on North Korean terms or “leading independently,” Yang said.

The North Korean leader has not accepted offers of talks from his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

On Thursday, Moon said he would continue efforts to engage the North, despite incidents including the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in 2020.