The Foreign Affairs Committee of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly has been busy sending open letters to various foreign parliaments. Our letter seems specifically tailored, as the DPRK web-based news includes parts of the other letters that aren’t included in the one sent to Australia. It seems we have been saved such memorable lines as ‘if warmongering Trump or the US represented by him is going to ignite nuclear war by all means, it will lead to the “total destruction” of the US, the empire of evil, and the victory of justice that gets rid of the main source of nuclear war on the earth’.

In broad terms, the letter seems a tactical move consistent with North Korea’s overall strategy. The letter dispenses with much of the aggression normally associated with North Korea’s pronouncements. It does not ask our parliament to actually do anything, suggesting the letter is intended to set out the North Korean position – it is a diplomatic pronouncement, not a move to restart negotiations.

In being ostensibly a sensible letter from the highest levels of the North Korean regime, it will have some appeal to nations (and their peoples) worried about President Donald Trump and the US more broadly. It plays upon a false dilemma: if you are opposed to Trump you must therefore be friends with us, or at least agree with us. North Korea only wants respect, to remain independent and to be at peace, the letter states – surely these are qualities all parliaments and peoples should instinctively agree with? North Korea is seeking the moral high ground in contrasting itself with Trump.

Please click here to read the full “Reading between the lines of North Korea’s letter” article published at The Lowy Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.