Over the weekend, corpulent psychopath and North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un made an unexpected overture to South Korea. He wished South Korea success on hosting the upcoming Winter Olympics. This has led to a series of trial balloons about a North Korean delegation visiting the Olympics, North Korean participation, etc., etc. Keep in mind one thing. These offers are only significant if they are made without preconditions. Historically, North Korea has demanded concessions for its brief masquerades as civilized. It is widely expected that Kim Jong Un will demand a cancellation of major combined maneuvers–Key Resolve and Foal Eagle–scheduled to begin shortly after the Olympics end. It is hard to imagine there will not be a demand for some easing of sanctions. Reuters has the perfect encapsulation of what is happening:

After a year of threats and weapons advances, North Korea’s leader appears to be using the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea as a tool to blunt growing international pressure on his regime while leaving his nuclear arsenal untouched.

South Korea’s President Moon has responded with a counter-offer. He’s asking for a high-level meeting to discuss other issues.

Right now South Korea is taking a wait-and-see attitude:

As some experts have pointed out, this is a tried-and-true pattern of behavior by North Korea:

And there have been signals that North Korea is prepping another missile launch and possibly another nuclear test.

The only downside in this whole exercise is if South Korea, at some point, decides that a symbolic rapprochement with North Korea offers more benefits than a US alliance. And, make no mistake about it, South Korea caving to any of the North’s preconditions would be a major win for Kim. Likewise, North Korean participation in the Olympics without preconditions would be a major diplomatic coup for South Korea and its allies as it would be the first time this has happened.

While not worded diplomatically, Trump’s assessment is spot on.

This may be significant. It probably won’t. All we can do is wait and see…and we really can’t afford to wait all that much longer.