Back in December 2017, most people would have found it hard to believe that North Korea would be participating in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, let alone inviting President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang at “an early date” or expressing their openness to engage in dialogue with the U.S.
But in an interview with NK News last year, Dr. Georgy D. Toloraya, a Professor of Oriental Studies at Moscow University of International Relations University and director of the Center of Asian strategy at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that North Korea’s “completion of a state nuclear force” offered a window of opportunity for dialogue.
“I believe that this is the perfect chance to start a peace-building process and if it would start from the Olympics, then that would still be highly symbolic,” he told NK News.
Fast forward to the end of the Olympics, with inter-Korean relations significantly improved, and even the possibility of a North Korea-U.S. dialogue on the table.
Toloraya says the North would never succumb to CVID, the complete verifiable irreversible dismantlement, as they hold the nuclear program sacred. What, then, can the U.S. and North Korea talk about, and how are things really progressing in terms of inter-Korean and U.S.-DPRK dialogue?
In this episode of the “North Korea News Podcast,” host Jacco Zwetsloot sat down with Dr. Toloraya to discuss how the Korean Peninsula is faring post-Olympics, and how Russia (and the Soviet Union) managed to balance relations with both Koreas over the years.
They also delved into Dr. Toloraya’s extensive experience working in Pyongyang in the 1970s and 80s (when he also briefly met our first podcast guest Andrei Lankov), in contrast to working in Seoul as the Minister-Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Russian Embassy in the 90s, when Kim Il Sung passed away leaving Kim Jong Un in power, high-ranking North Korean official Hwang Jang Yop defected to South Korea, and two North Korean submarines were caught in South Korean waters.
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Featured image: Kremlin.ru
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