North Korea Said To Seek Help From Republicans "To Figure Out Trump"

In what may be the most bizarre development of the day, the WaPo reports that in their ongoing feud with President Trump, the North Korean government has quietly sought the help of an unlikely counterparty: Republicans.

As the WaPo details, officials in Pyongyang have been quietly trying to arrange talks with Republican-linked analysts in Washington, "in an apparent attempt to make sense of President Trump and his confusing messages to Kim Jong Un’s regime." The outreach is said to have begun before the current eruption of threats between the two leaders, but will likely become only more urgent "as Trump and Kim have descended into name-calling that sharply increases the chances of potentially catastrophic misunderstandings."

“Their No. 1 concern is Trump. They can’t figure him out,” a source with direct knowledge of North Korea’s approach to Asia experts with Republican connections told the WaPo.

While the North Koreans do not appear to be interested in negotiations about their nuclear program, they want forums for insisting on being recognized as a nuclear state, something the Trump administration has made clear it is not interested in. At a multilateral meeting here in Switzerland earlier this month, North Korea’s representatives were adamant about being recognized as a nuclear weapons state and showed no willingness to even talk about denuclearization.

But to get a better understanding of American intentions, in the absence official diplomatic talks with the U.S. government, North Korea’s mission to the United Nations invited Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst who is now the Heritage Foundation’s top expert on North Korea, to visit Pyongyang for meetings.


Trump has close ties to Heritage, a conservative think-tank which has influenced the president on everything from travel restrictions to defense spending, although not to Klingner personally.

“They’re on a new binge of reaching out to American scholars and ex-officials,” said Klingner, who declined the North Korean invitation. “While such meetings are useful, if the regime wants to send a clear message, it should reach out directly to the U.S. government.”

North Korean intermediaries have also approached Douglas Paal, who served as an Asia expert on the national security councils of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and is now vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

They wanted Paal to arrange talks between North Korean officials and American experts with Republican ties in a neutral place like Switzerland. He also declined the North Korean request.


“The North Koreans are clearly eager to deliver a message. But I think they’re only interested in getting some travel, in getting out of the country for a bit,” Paal said.

While in the past North Korea has traditionally participated in strategy meeting with foreign power on neutral soil such as Geneva, Singapore and Malaysia, since Trump’s election in November, the North Korean representatives have been predominantly interested in figuring out the unconventional president’s strategy, according to almost a dozen people involved in the discussions. 

While early in Trump’s term, the North Koreans had been asking broad questions - Is President Trump serious about closing American military bases in South Korea and Japan,  as he said on the campaign trail? Might he really send American nuclear weapons back to the southern half of the Korean Peninsula - the questions have since become more specific. Why are Trump’s top officials, notably Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, directly contradicting the president so often?

“My own guess is that they are somewhat puzzled as to the direction in which the U.S. is going, so they’re trying to open up channels to take the pulse in Washington,” said Evans Revere, a former State Department official. “They haven’t seen the U.S. act like this before.”

Still, participants at various international summits which included the North Koreans are skeptical about this approach: “I’m very pessimistic,” said Shin Beom-chul, a North Korea expert at the South’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, after participating in the meeting in Glion. “They want to keep their nuclear weapons and they will only return to dialogue after the United States nullifies its ‘hostile policy.’ They want the U.S. to stop all military exercises and lift all sanctions on them.

The bottom line: “North Korea wants to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state,” said Ken Jimbo, who teaches at Keio University in Japan. “But when is North Korea ready for talks? This is what I kept asking the North Koreans: How much is enough?”

While we doubt that Pyongyang will ever be able to figure out Trump, perhaps as a token of diplomacy, Kim Jong-Un can create a twitter account and engage in direct head-to-head tweetstorms with Trump. While that would hardly prevent a potential adverse fallout from the two leaders' relentless jawboning, at least the devolution of the world to a pre-nuclear war state will be far more entertaining.


hedgeless_horseman Cole The Bar Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:34 Permalink


What in the world is Donald Trump? Donald Trump is a Big Government Statist. Statists want government to have a great deal of power over the economy and individual behavior. They frequently doubt whether economic liberty and individual freedom are practical options in today's world. Statists tend to distrust the free market, support high taxes and centralized planning of the economy, oppose diverse lifestyles, and question the importance of civil liberties.

In reply to by Cole The Bar

Manthong hedgeless_horseman Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:44 Permalink

 He might be a pure statist - the next 6-12 months will verify whether or not he really is.But granted, he is used to controlling things.  "Their No. 1 concern is Trump. They can’t figure him out."  Well, he said he does not like to be predictable, didn’t he? He looks flaky to me too, but maybe that is exactly what he wants. Well, I still have my personal disgruntled troll(s).I guess it's kind of like barnacles or zebra mussels. 

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

JLee2027 knukles Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:57 Permalink

The main event is still mid October, 100 years after the Miracle of the Sun.  The crisis is building. Trump wants to rally the entire nation, so when the Norks get beat up, the ChiComs don't sense US weakness and jump in thinking they will gain power in the Pacific. Those fools in the NFL need to stop.  We need to present a unified front or 10's of millions could die. The ChiComs have actual ICBM's you know. They would lose it all, but we would be badly wounded.

In reply to by knukles

Shemp 4 Victory peddling-fiction Tue, 09/26/2017 - 13:21 Permalink

WaaPoo fake news.

While the North Koreans do not appear to be interested in negotiations about their nuclear program

Come on, this is bullshit.… Bezos Blog must have gotten tired of using "government official" as a source, so this time they turned to "a source with direct knowledge of North Korea’s approach to Asia experts with Republican connections".

In reply to by peddling-fiction

IH8OBAMA Manthong Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:49 Permalink

I can give Fatso Kim some insight.  Send your fighter planes out to intercept and attack the next U.S. bomber/fighter squadron to fly by NK in international air space and you'll see how the war is going.  Splash, splash, splash go your jets little Kim.  If somehow you sneak a missle in expect your artillary along the DMZ to be destroyed in the next hour followed by your missile and nuclear facilities.Understand now?

In reply to by Manthong

edotabin IH8OBAMA Tue, 09/26/2017 - 13:13 Permalink

Kim is a big mouth pussy. He is only good at brainwashing and viciously mistreating his people.Open your damn borders. You don't have to accept anyone but allow those who want to leave to be able to do so in an orderly fashion. Give people the Internet. Stop lobbing missiles over Japan.Then you might actually live.Or promote yourself to the figurehead position of high exalted emperor, slowly open the country up and allow the people of Korea to gradually  unite peacefully. You live to be 100 and history remembers you as a good guy who helped his nation instead of having it destroyed. 

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Mercury nuubee Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:29 Permalink

North Korea Said To Seek Help From Republicans "To Figure Out Trump""Yeah, so , anyway, we're used to American politicians just rolling the fuck over and giving us shit we want whenever we do the crazy dance on TV....What's wrong with this Trump guy?  Is Jimmy Carter still available?"

In reply to by nuubee

GUS100CORRINA nuubee Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:36 Permalink

North Korea Said To Seek Help From Republicans "To Figure Out Trump"My response: ROFL!!!! DPNK can't figure TRUMP out because they are deceived and under DEMONIC control.DPNK leaders are STUPID, LOST and BLIND. They murder their own family members and close friends because they operate in a SPIRIT of FEAR versus FAITH.This will NOT end well for DPNK and its people.

In reply to by nuubee

aloha_snakbar Tue, 09/26/2017 - 13:13 Permalink

North Korea Said To Seek Help From Republicans "To Figure Out Trump" LOL... seriously? Thats like asking Anthony Weiner what we can do to cure the pedophilia problem... Recunt-lickans could not find their own ass with both hands, a detailed map and a flashlight...

Sid Davis Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:47 Permalink

As an enemy of the US, it looks like NKorea is seeking alliance with other enemies of the US. They should look to not only the Republican Party but the Democratic Party as well.