Although senior North Korean officials have publicly stated that the nation’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, refuses to participate in diplomatic talks with the United States until after they have confirmed their ability to hit America’s east coast with a nuclear strike, reports from the region seem to indicate that North Korean officials have begun reaching out, just not in the capacity the U.S. State Department likely hoped.  It seems they have been contacting American diplomats and journalists in hopes of cutting through President Trump’s rhetoric to better understand the president’s position.

“They want to know if he’s crazy, or if this is just an act,” Suzanne DiMaggio, a foreign-policy expert who maintains a dialogue with some North Korean officials told Politico. “They really want to know what is his endgame … They follow the news very closely; they watch CNN 24/7; they read his tweets and other things,” said DiMaggio.

For instance, on President Trump’s ongoing Indo-Pacific tour, the American president has presented what could be argued as two distinct positions toward the possibility of working with North Korea to find a peaceful resolution to the heightening tensions between the two nations.  While in Japan, Trump seemed to indicate a hopeful outlook, even going so far as to encourage the North Korean government to release Japanese prisoners in the interest of improving relations.  However, just days later from South Korea, the president’s rhetoric returned to its previous aggressive tone, calling out the nation for its flagrant human rights violations and delivering a stark warning directed at Kim Jong Un by name.

I also have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship: the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face,”