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Iran Press TV

Pyongyang reaching out to GOP analysts to figure Trump out: Report

Iran Press TV

Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:14PM

The North Korean government has been secretly attempting to reach out to analysts close to the United States' Republican Party in an effort to understand President Donald Trump.

The president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have recently stepped up threats against one another; however, Pyongyang's outreach program for Asia experts with GOP connections in Washington even precedes that, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

"Their number one concern is Trump. They can't figure him out," a person with direct knowledge of the move was cited as saying.

With tensions escalating between the two nuclear-armed states, such an approach would become more urgent as misunderstanding could serve as catastrophic.

In a speech to 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly Trump threatened to "totally destroy" the Asian country with a population 26 million.

Pyongyang accuses the United States of planning to invade the recluse state by tens of thousands of troops permanently based in South Korea and Japan.

Therefore, it continues with tests of missiles and nuclear bombs as part of its weapons development program in order to confront the expansionist policies of the US and its allies.

Two of the analysts Pyongyang has so far approached in the absence of official diplomatic talks are Bruce Klingner and Douglas Paal, both of whom have rejected to get engaged.

Klingner is a former CIA analyst working as top expert on North Korea for the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank with a lot of influence on Trump on issues ranging from travel restrictions to defense spending.

"They're on a new binge of reaching out to American scholars and ex-officials," he said. "While such meetings are useful, if the regime wants to send a clear message, it should reach out directly to the US government."

Paal, who is the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, served as an Asia expert on the National Security Council under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Similar to Klingner, who rejected the invitation to North Korea, Paal also refused to arrange talks between North Korean and American officials in a neutral country like Switzerland.

"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.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

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