Kim Jong il has pledged whilst in Russia to halt nuclear testing. Russia's president Dimtry Medvedev has obtained Kim's pledge that hinges on a pipeline from Russia's gas fields through Central Asia and the two Koreas.
Kim pledge has even caught his most ardent detractors asleep, it seems. Medvedev has put a feather in Russo North Korean relations, thereby renewing a long friendship turned cold by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Nonetheless, the "Dear Leader" has sent the same message to the Obama White through Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, visiting senior department of state officials, and a variety of intellectuals and scholars who, from time to time, have visited Pyongyang.
The American president and his ally in Seoul, Lee Myung bak, have responded to Kim Jong il's call for a halt in the North's nuclear programme with no conditions as disingenuous, for in the high moral tone Obama and Lee take, Kim lacks 'sincerity'.
Me, oh my, were 'sincerity' a diplomatic virtue, both the US and South Korea would be seen as seriously lacking in that excellent quality.
What Washington and Seoul mean by 'sincerity' is accept all our conditions or else. No statesman with a good sense of self respect could roll over and play doggo as Obama and Lee demand. As a result in the joint US ROK intransigeance a stalemate has obtained since 2008. And the six power talks in Beijing have been ajourned 'sine dia', in spite of the North's willingness to come back to the negotiating table without conditions.
Medvedev seems to believe Kim, in stark contrast to Obama and Lee. The Russian president has his own agenda but he sees bring North Korea in from the cold is preferable than the festering situation that exists now. Medvedev sees purchase in welcoming the much boycotted DPRK into the embrace of diplomacy and solving the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the divided Korean peninsula, through aiding North Korea materially. In this, he has shown remarkable 'commonsense', which is something that the US and South Korea have not.
Kim has shown himself a conspiciously able leader of his country which everyone with a grudge against him and his country, thought would have long collapsed. Wrong! Even the cruel havoc of Mother Nature on the country's crops have been unable force the North to fold its cards and walk away.
At the bottom of it all may very well be the feeling that the DPRK, shunned, boycotted, sanctioned to the hilt in the world community, and the object of a relentless propaganda war, outwits the big boys at negotiation poker, and with low cards. Their condescension is so glaring and blinding that they take the forest for the trees and miss the hand offered by Kim Jong il. Medvedev saw it and has grasped it, thereby giving us hope that the six party talks may resume.