Paging Dennis Rodman: North Korea's top governing body today proposed high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States in an appeal sent just days after calling off talks with rival South Korea. The powerful National Defense Commission headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a statement through state media proposing "senior level" talks to ease tensions and discuss a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. The Obama administration responded by saying it wanted "credible negotiations," and that it would judge Pyongyang on "its actions and not its words."
Foreign analysts expressed skepticism, saying impoverished North Korea often calls for talks after raising tensions with provocative behavior in order to win outside concessions. In a notable shift in propaganda in Pyongyang, posters and billboards calling on North Koreans to "wipe away the American imperialist aggressors" have been taken down in recent weeks. After blaming Washington for raising tensions by imposing "gangster-like sanctions" on North Korea, an NDC spokesman called on the US to propose a venue and date for talks but warned against setting preconditions. The Koreas had also planned Cabinet-level talks earlier this week, but those dramatically fell apart even before they began. Pyongyang was taking it well. (Read more North Korea stories.)