by Doug Bandow
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has scheduled North Korea’s first communist party congress in decades in May. The U.S. should encourage reform by proposing talks on drafting a peace treaty and normalizing relations.
Dealing with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has taken on an air of futility in Washington. The Obama administration refuses to talk with North Korea unless the latter first “takes irreversible steps toward de-nuclearization.” Yet expecting Pyongyang to yield its most important security assets in return for conversation ensures continued failure.
The first party congress since 1980, when Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, ruled, portends significant policy changes. Kim Jong-un likely will formalize both consolidation of power and new economic initiatives.