By Phillip Orchard
The United States, it seemed, had finally done the impossible – it had managed to bring the government of North Korea to the negotiating table to end its nuclear program. Pyongyang had been signaling since March, if not earlier, that it was ready to deal. The North had warmed up to the South, having attended the Olympics and having gone behind enemy lines for the first time to meet with the South Korean president. By all accounts, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heard what he wanted to hear during his trip to Pyongyang last week. National Security Adviser John Bolton was drawing up his plans. North Korea had yet to back out of the negotiations. Everything looked as it should.
If all this seemed too good to be true, well, that’s because it was. On May 15, Pyongyang abruptly pulled out of high-level talks on reunification with South Korea scheduled for this week, citing the continuation of major U.S.-South Korean military drills. The timing seemed cur