North Korean official handling U.S. affairs heads to Moscow

by WorldTribune Staff, September 25, 2017

As Russia looks to take on a larger role in the North Korean nuclear standoff, the North’s official in charge of U.S. affairs traveled to Moscow on Sept. 25.

Choe Son-Hui, director-general of the North American department at the North Korean Foreign Ministry planned to hold talks with Oleg Burmistrov, Russia’s ambassador-at-large, in Moscow, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Choe Son-Hui

KCNA said Choe’s trip was arranged at the invitation of Burmistrov who visited the North in late July.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to take the “highest-level” action against the U.S. as President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if forced to defend itself and its allies from a North Korean attack.

Choe met with Russia’s top envoy to Pyongyang, Alexander Matsegora, last week to discuss tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Moscow’s embassy in North Korea said.

Russia and China have long called for the resumption of dialogue to resolve the North Korea crisis.

For some analysts, Choe’s visit amid Kim Jong-Un’s continued provocations evoked memories of North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung’s trip to Moscow in the summer of 1950.

In a Sept. 23 article for The New York Times, author Blaine Harden, who wrote “Escape from Camp 14”,  noted that “when North Korea started the Korean War with Soviet backing, Kim Il-Sung was just 38 years old – a willful, pugnacious, wet-behind-the-ears dictator, not unlike his grandson today.”

Related: Defector blasts tourists to N. Korea, asks why U.S. failed to stop genocide abroad, November 30, 2012

Before the North’s invasion of the South, Kim Il-Sung held secret meetings with Josef Stalin.

“At his dacha outside Moscow, Stalin didn’t completely buy what Kim was trying to sell,” Harden wrote. “He warned his eager Korean acolyte, ‘If you should get kicked in the teeth, I shall not lift a finger.’ But the old Soviet boss wanted to torment the United States. So, he approved and supplied the invasion, while ordering Kim Il-Sung to make it look as if South Korea had started the war.”

Harden noted that “If war were to come again, the regime must reckon that it is much less likely to get significant support from the countries that were the Communist mother ships of the mid-20th century. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a gangster shadow of Stalin’s Soviet Union. China’s political stability depends on vibrant trade with the West. What’s more, Kim Jong-Un – with the timing of his nuclear tests and missile-launching antics – has gone out of his way to antagonize the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. North Korea, as a result, is more isolated than ever – even as it becomes a global nuclear threat.

“The United States has to accept the obvious: Kim Jong-Un is never going to give up his missiles. But he knows that if he uses them, he’s going to die or live in a bunker like Granddad. His nuclear hardware is most valuable on the shelf.”

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