Lee’s hard-line attempt made little progress. Landmark summits under a decade of liberal governments before Lee took over resulted in lofty statements and photo ops in Pyongyang between Kim Jong Il and South Korean presidents, but did little to change North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
North Korea sees its nuclear programs as necessary defense and leverage in the face of hostility from Washington and Seoul.
Park’s statement that she’s willing to talk with Kim Jong Un ‘‘practically means she’s willing to give more money to North Korea,’’ which is Pyongyang’s typical demand for dialogue, said Andrei Lankov.
But the heart of the matter — North Korea’s nuclear program — might be off limits, regardless of how deep the next Blue House decides to engage.,
‘‘North Korea isn’t going to surrender its nukes, they’re going to keep them indefinitely,’’ Lankov said. ‘‘No amount of bribing or blackmail or begging is going to change it. They are a de facto nuclear power, period, and they are going to stay that way.’’
AP writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this report.