Bluffs and bluster, then capitulation and compromise. North Korea has decades of experience dancing a diplomatic tango with its allies and enemies to get what it wants — and leaving the rest of the world guessing as to the real intent of the isolated communist regime.
North Korea played one of its biggest cards yet Thursday when it boldly stated it had nuclear weapons to deter a U.S. invasion, and was staying away from international talks aimed at convincing it to give up its atomic bombs.
Still, experts said the move should be read as a negotiating tactic typical of the North's style and its capricious leader, Kim Jong Il.
"Until the ultimate point they maintain their stubborn posture, but in the end they know when to bend their position in order not to break up the entire process," said Park Joun-young, a political science professor at Ewha Women's University in Seoul.
"The North's move appears to be aimed at improving its negotiating power," Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-shik said in a briefing to ruling Uri party officials, according to a party statement.
Well, I'm just an amateur, but I thought I recognized a pattern. Someone tell Jimmy Carter.