The Atlantic

The U.S. and North Korea Are Back to Talking Tough

Pyongyang’s latest threats don’t necessarily mean diplomacy is dead. But they are a sign of just how deadlocked nuclear talks have become.
Source: Leah Millis / Reuters

The attack dogs have been let loose.

That much was clear from the stark message North Korea delivered this week after the collapse of Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam last month: Kim is considering abandoning nuclear negotiations with the United States and resuming the nuclear and missile tests that brought the two countries to the brink of war early on in the Trump administration.

Just as important as the message was the messenger. North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe (and a former English-language interpreter) who has dealt with Americans in official and unofficial talks for years. She knows the America file cold. But she also has a reputation for fiery remarkslike when she to “respond to fire with fire” at the height of military tensions with the United States in 2017, or that time she nearly deep-sixed the president’s first summit with North Korea’s leader in 2018 by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” and threatening a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” with the United States.

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