It's now 21 hours since the second day of North-South Korea talks began, and still no word. Even by Korean standards, this is epic— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) August 24, 2015
Since taking office in 2011, Mr. Kim has striven to prove himself a worthy “military first” successor of his father and grandfather, both of whom ruled North Korea before him, by conducting nuclear and long-range missile tests. But his inexperience in managing crises has added to worries about the current standoff. Some analysts fear that his frequent executions of top officials might make top generals more prone to attempt armed provocations to prove their loyalty and to survive his reign.
“If you think about it from the North Korean point of view, they don’t have much leverage in terms of what they could to do pressure South Korea,” Kim said. “So it’s understandable why they’re building up their military presence and playing a cat-and-mouse game with their submarines. The only weapon they have is the element of surprise, and they’re using it right now. Maybe because they truly feel threatened or maybe because they want to get some leverage.”
The events surrounding the onset of the North-South talks — about to enter their second round as this goes to press — suggest strongly that it was North Korea that stood down.After setting a 48-hour ultimatum for the South to stop its propaganda broadcasts on Thursday, it was Pyongyang that reached out several hours before the deadline to propose talks (Yonhap). This initiative occurred in the wake of a statement by the South that it had no intention of stopping the broadcasts….The forcefulness of the South Korean response also appears to have come as a surprise. We still do not know if the South Korean counterstrike sought to do damage and failed or was — like the North Korean shelling — largely a signal. But the counterstrike showed that the South’s effort to toughen up the deterrent in the wake of the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong-do shellings of 2010 had some teeth….One final speculation has to do with the internal politics of this episode in the North. Although the regime has an array of instruments for controlling the domestic political narrative, the loudspeakers, balloons, leaflets and other Southern efforts to penetrate the regime’s information wall have clearly hit a nerve. But more interesting is how this incident is viewed among the North Korean political and military elite. Kim Jong Un is always only a step away from an “emperor with no clothes” moment. It may be the domestic as opposed to international miscalculations of this episode that prove the most significant going forward.
South Korea said Tuesday that it had resolved a dispute with North Korea that had heightened tensions on the peninsula, with the north agreeing to apologize for its provocations and the south pledging to cut off broadcasts that had infuriated the Communist leaders, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.