North Korea is making its demands clear. This has very little to do with military drills and more to do with the Sunday talk shows in the US during which John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, outlined what might be on offer if Kim Jong-un gave up his nuclear weapons.
The North Koreans have been watching and they do not like what they have heard.
The whole reason the state has spent years building up a nuclear arsenal, at such a great cost, is for survival.
So to compare denuclearisation in North Korea with Libya – as John Bolton did on Sunday – is not going to offer much comfort. The regime collapsed and its leader did not survive.
The root of the problem is one of language and interpretation.
For months, the world has heard that North Korea is willing to denuclearise and many analysts in South Korea raised their eyebrows.
They warned that there was a gap between what the US and North Korea would mean by that.
America wants North Korea to give up its weapons over a set period of time and only then will it be given economic rewards.
They also want the process to be quick, perhaps over a couple of years.
North Korea’s definition of denuclearisation is very different. It has always talked in terms of the entire peninsula.
That means the US has to act too – perhaps cutting the number of troops based in South…