North Korea remained silent Monday about the forthcoming summit with Donald Trump - three whole days after the White House made the shock announcement that the president would personally meet with Kim Jong Un.
Neither government officials nor state media in North Korea has made mention of the potentially historic sit-down since Friday. Government officials in South Korea said they had heard nothing from Pyongyang either.
“We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-U.S. summit,” a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said Monday.
“I feel they’re approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organize their stance.”
The Chosun Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper based in Japan, did mention Saturday a planned inter-Korean summit scheduled for sometime in the near future but deleted that report a day later.
North Korean delegates also failed to attend a debate in Geneva Monday where the UN Human Rights Council investigator for the gulag state said any progress on security and denuclearization must be accompanied by progress on human rights issues by the regime.
“The country’s extensive penitentiary system and severe restrictions on all forms of free expression, movement and access to information continue to nurture fear of the state and leave people at the mercy of unaccountable public officials,” Tomas Ojea-Quintana said.
The meeting between Trump and Kim could take place as soon as May, but many experts remain unconvinced of North Korea’s good faith, suggesting dictator is using Trump to give legitimacy to his regime, and will be unwilling to countenance the possibility of handing over his nuclear arsenal.
That theory was given credence last week when analysis of satellite imagery by researchers at 38 North showed plumes of smoke rising from the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center once again.
“If the reactor is operating again, as the evidence suggests, it means North Korea has resumed production of plutonium presumably for its nuclear weapons program,” the researchers said.
Cover image: This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 24, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting a fish food factory at an undisclosed location. (KCNA/AFP/Getty Images)