After meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korean officials have reported that North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States about its nuclear weapons program. If true — and there is much to be confirmed — the offer should be pursued. Caution must be the watchword of any discussions, however. Talks are welcome, but their goal must be the rollback and eventual elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Negotiations can never legitimate Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions or accept its status as a nuclear-weapon possessing state.
There has been breakneck progress in relations between the two Koreans since Kim reached out to Seoul in his New Year's speech and indicated his readiness to send North Korean athletes, officials and cheerleaders to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. A joint Korean team was duly formed and sanctions waved to allow a high-level delegation that included his sister, Kim Yo Jong, to attend.
Kim Yo Jong reportedly conveyed her brother's offer of a leaders summit between himself and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Moon initially hesitated, saying that conditions had to be right for a meeting. He did, however, dispatch a delegation to Pyongyang, which met with the North Korean leader and returned with news that Kim was prepared to hold "candid talks" with the U.S. and suspend its nuclear and missile programs while dialogue took place.