North Korea is all of a sudden, according to Reuters, willing to talk de-nuclearization with the U.S., says South Korea. Right. After months of acrimony and name-calling between Kim Jong-un and President Trump, one is supposed to believe that North Korea is throwing up its hands and saying. “Ouch, these sanctions are really hurting us, can’t we be friends?” I don’t believe this is likely.

South Korea controls its own destiny

What is more likely, is that South Korea, fearing for self-preservation amidst the volatile and ominous discourse between Trump and Kim Jong-un, moved to get closer to their neighbor to the north.

This maneuver began just a month or so before the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. I suspect it was in order to lessen the chances of military strikes from the unpredictable North. One cannot blame them, after all, as the saying goes: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

North Korea buying time for new U.S. administration?

The strategy on North Korea’s part may be to posture as the "grown-up" in the room’ for the International community, to lure the United States to the negotiating table, through South Korea; only to drag negotiations out until a new president can be elected in 2020. After all, there is a better than even chance that the mid-term elections in the U.S. will upset the "apple cart." And, if the result is a Democratic majority in the House or the Senate, all of North Korea’s fears of a preemptive strike will be washed away.

A democratic congress would never approve a preemptive strike against North Korea given the huge estimated and publicized loss of life on the South Korean side, as a result of such a strike. Months could be spent quibbling about the preconditions alone for a sit-down between Washington and Pyongyang.

And, in all probability, China in particular, and the world community as a whole, does not have the appetite for an entire population of North Korean refugees, that would result from either prolonged, extreme sanctions or a military strike against Pyongyang.

As a result, it appears that the U.S. simply does not have the leverage to stop the North Korean regime from developing the intercontinental ballistic nuclear weapon it wants.

In the final analysis, Pyongyang knows from decades of dealing with Western diplomats, that Donald Trump’s successor is bound to be more accommodating in almost every way than the current administration. No, North Korea has no intention of de-nuclearizing. You can take that to the bank.