Much ado is being made about recent renewed talks between North Korea and South Korea. The North announced it will send a delegation of athletes to the Winter Olympics in Seoul next month. During the athletic competition, known for its goals of uniting the world in a peaceful demonstration of sport, the Kim regime promises to behave.
The DPRK contingent is hardly a delegation, consisting of only two figure skaters. Shoring up the numbers, helping to magnify its presence will be North Korea’s all-female cheer squad.
The several hundred person propaganda squad is made up of young university students in their early 20’s who have the right “ideology” and appearance. Rather than the malnourished and oppressed state of their fellow countrymen, these women will be well fed and all smiles. Kim Jong-un’s current wife, Ri Sol-ju, is a former member of the cheer squad.
North Korea is careful to ensure any large delegations travelling outside its borders are resistant to political and cultural environments it considers hostile.
The team will be vetted to ensure no defectors or those with pro-Japan/pro-West sentiments in their families. This kind of vetting takes time implying the Kim regime was planning to send a delegation for months.
Intelligence community experts believe the talks are not so much a legitimate opening for meaningful dialogue as a calculated tool for buying more time. North Korea used negotiations in the past to buy time for their tech development.
In 2005, they finalized stages of their nuclear weapons development while engaging in talks. The timing of these recent talks suggests they waited until the end of their current missile testing cycle before launching yet another propaganda campaign to garner favor with the outside.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently testified that the DPRK can develop technology faster than the West can garner concessions due to sanctions. Despite the international community having all but shut the door for trade, Kim is unlikely to slow his weapons development pace behind the scenes. With Kim and his inner circle still well-fed and warm, it is the North Korean people who will suffer through the sanctions.
No Kim regime has shown a regard for the common people they rule and the commitment to a full nuclear capability with which to hold the world hostage and prevent regime change remains paramount.
The U.S. Intelligence community maintains the North Korean nuclear program is within months of full capability. This means miniaturized nuclear warheads placed atop an ICBM and successfully able to reenter the earth’s atmosphere over the United States. While the Dear Leader’s cheer squad is shaking its pom poms in Seoul, expect he still has his sights set on less friendly relations with the rest of the world.