NORTH Korea could be willing to halt the deadly nuclear weapons programme but Donald Trump’s administration lacks the expertise to engage in such sensitive talks as the White House lacks the strategic expertise to engage constructively, according to former officials and analysts.
Officials say the administration has invested heavily in sanctions and military planning but has spent little time focusing on its diplomatic strategy in the event of Pyongyang opening talks.
Trump commented on Pyongyang’s offer to suspend its nuclear and missile testing in return for guarantees on its safety, he said: “We’re going to see. They seem to be acting positively but we’re going to see.
“The proper way is the way that everybody knows and everybody wants. But we are prepared to go either way.”
The State Department, however, lacks senior diplomat staff following a series of cuts, and the top diplomat dealing with North Korea, Joseph Yun, is departing his post this week.
The US has also lacked a permanent ambassador to South Korea since Trump took office in January 2017, after the White House withdraw the nomination of the veteran diplomat, Victor Cha.
The absence of a key ambassadorship in Seoul and the departure of a veteran envoy raises concerns over the US’ preparedness to enter key negotiations.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert dismissed these concerns, saying: “The State Department has 75,000 people that work for us around the world.