Solberg sceptical of North Korean charm offensive

Prime Minister Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Høyre (H) welcomed North Korea’s invitation to South Korea for a presidential visit, but warned against putting too much into it.


This week, Solberg will visit Japan and South Korea.

In connection with the opening of the Olympics, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, sent his sister, Kim Yo-Jong, and invited South Korea’s president to visit Pyongyang.

“It is nice to do everything to ease relaxation. It is important to remember that relaxation of tension between North and South Korea means a lot to lessen the hostile situation in the region. And there are families that are still split after the Korean war,” Solberg told NTB news.

“But it’s also important to look a little past such charm offensives to the victims of North Korea. What they must meet in the world picture is the requirement to stop their nuclear program. It’s good that they soften,but they are still developing a nuclear nuclear program”, she emphasised.

Must stand together

Solberg is going to South Korea to cheer on the Norwegian Olympic athletes in Pyeongchang. But in the political talks with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, the conflict between the world community and North Korea will be central.

The United States has met the invitation from North Korea during the Olympic opening with a cold shoulder. Vice President Mike Pence, who himself was present
when the Winter Olympics opened, stated that the United States, Japan and South Korea agree on further sanctions against North Korea.

Solberg believes the most important thing is that the world has a common front in the North Korea question.

“If the world is united, such strong pressure can mean something”, she said.

According to the Norwegian prime minister, this means that the United States must bring the other major countries, including Russia and China, into a common front.


North Korea’s nuclear program has for many years been among the world’s most inflammable issues. The last time leaders from the two countries met was in 2007. North and South Korea are technically still at war with each other, as the ceasefire in 1953 was never followed by any peace agreement.

Camilla T.N. Sørensen at the University of Copenhagen believes that the invitation to Moon is one of the most positive things that has happened in the relationship between North and South Korea in ten years.

However, she fears that President Donald Trump and the United States will stumble in creating the possibility for such a visit.

“Moon must somehow convince the Americans that the meeting is a good idea,” she said.


Some experts have pointed out that there is no way beyond negotiation with North Korea, although it is difficult to see a compromise. North Korea insists on retaining its nuclear weapons while the rest of the world requires them to be scrapped.

“Kim Jong-un sent his sister, Kim Yo-jong, and this can be interpreted as a political signal that Pyongyang

extends the hand of friendship to the best of relations between the two countries”, said senior researcher, Hong Hyun-ik at the think tank, the ‘Sejong Institute’, to the Financial Times newspaper .

“This is a North Korea tactic that uses preventive measures to make Americans not judge a military response necessary”.

Experts have pointed out that the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could be a model for North Korea,but Trump has strongly criticised the Iran Agreement.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today