North Korea leader Kim Jung-on seems to be having a characteristic hissy fit over the reactions of his new found political friends in South Korea and the US.
In statements reminiscent of the North’s harshest rhetoric of the past, negotiators pulled out of planned talks with South Korea.
And the North Korean Marshal of the Republic Kim Jung-on has threatened to cancel talks with US President Donald Trump.
His change of attitude follows a joint South Korean/US military exercise, described by the North as provocative and a rehearsal for an invasion.
In a statement he made clear that if the US insisted North Korea give up an arsenal of nuclear weapons unilaterally, the talks scheduled for Singapore on June 12 would not go ahead.
Defector called human scum
Separately, a government spokesman released a press statement slamming the South Koreans for allowing a defector – which he called ‘human scum’ – to speak in the country’s national assembly.
The moves mark a huge volte face from pictures of a smiling Kim Jung-on holding hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in stepping back and forwards across the border between the two countries.
Then, both leaders pledged to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.
North Korea has already agreed to decommission a nuclear test site, but it seems all sides to the talks have differing interpretations of how the denuclearisation process will operate.
South Korea and the US want an independently verified removal of nuclear weapons in North Korea, but the secretive society seems unwilling for such an exercise.
The White House responded with a message that Trump is hopeful the talks will proceed, but not that bothered if they do not.
Washington officials also pointed out that Kim Jung-on had requested the talks, not the president.
Many interpret the change in tune by North Korea as a response to the ‘hard cop/soft cop’ routine of national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Bolton is calling for a tough line from the president, while Pompeo, who has met the North Koreans, is urging a more conciliatory approach.