The no. 1 question that North Korean officials are asking their US counterparts in so-called “back-channel” discussions to defuse the nuclear crisis is whether President Donald Trump is really “crazy,” according to an article published on Politico.
“They want to know if he’s crazy, or if this is just an act,” said Suzanne DiMaggio, an American participant in the talks, in an interview with the US news website.
DiMaggio is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation who has been involved in so-called “Track 1.5” dialogue with representatives of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry. Politico says she secretly met four times in the past year with the North Koreans in Geneva, Pyongyang, Oslo and Moscow, to informally discuss their nuke program.
The US government is backing such unofficial talks in order to bring Pyongyang to the bargaining table.
“The North Koreans have asked her not only if Trump is nuts, DiMaggio said, but what and how to think about everything from his public undercutting of his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible campaign collusion with Russia,” said the article by Susan B. Glasser posted Monday.
“They really want to know what is (Trump’s) end game,” said DiMaggio, a specialist in reaching out to rogue regimes.
Was North ready to make a deal?
DiMaggio also believes that Pyongyang was “ready after Trump’s surprise election to discuss a new round of official talks with the US to defuse the standoff over their nuclear weapons—but that Trump’s escalating rhetoric and Twitter rants such as his weekend taunting of North Korea’s ‘short and fat’ Kim Jong-un may have foreclosed that option.”
“They follow the news very closely; they watch CNN 24/7; they read (Trump’s) tweets and other things,” DiMaggio added.