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Dogs Not Barking: Pyongyang’s Long Silence

in Program

Since the US elections on November 6, North Korean central media have been conspicuously silent on the state of US-DPRK negotiations. There are times when such silence from Pyongyang is golden, other times ominous, and occasionally merely confusing. This one manages to fall between all three stools. After a spate of Pyongyang complaints about Washington in the first week of November, the silence now is all the more glaring. Instead of commenting in its own voice, the North has left it to the pro-North Korean paper in Japan, Choson Sinbo, to carry the burden. Containing a little of each, a Choson Sinbo article on November 26 authored by a key commentator—Kim Ji Yong—suggests an effort by Pyongyang to continue to warn Washington even while easing off its threats and edging into a public posture of something approaching a wait-and-see with Washington.

Overall, the article portrayed the situation as considerably less than ideal but still not yet in the danger zone. It voiced complaints, as had a similar piece on November 9 also by Kim Ji Yong, about what it portrayed as US efforts to interfere with the development of inter-Korean relations, singling out a newly formed US-ROK working group for coordinating policy as an effort by Washington to “regulate” the speed of Seoul’s moves toward the North. The article did not, however, accuse the US of completely stopping progress in inter-Korean ties, nor did it suggest that at this point the North-South efforts were yet in serious danger of falling off track.

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