Well, it's certainly not a stall tactic designed to enable them to move towards having nuclear weapons because they already have nuclear weapons - their first nuclear test took place in 2006.
It's definitely a ploy to stall for time as they seem to have realised that the Trump administration has...
Best answer: Well, it's certainly not a stall tactic designed to enable them to move towards having nuclear weapons because they already have nuclear weapons - their first nuclear test took place in 2006.
It's definitely a ploy to stall for time as they seem to have realised that the Trump administration has prioritised dealing with North Korea. It is a well-known and established fact that Trump has decided that his legacy will rest on what happens with North Korea during his presidency. He made it clear that if he had to resort to war to deal with the problem, that he would be willing to do so. The North Koreans seem convinced of his sincerity in that regard and are taking steps to prevent their obliteration.
It could all come to nothing, they could meet and both sides could come away from the talks without any agreement being reached, in which case it's really a win-win for both parties. The North Koreans will come off as having tried to come to an understanding, and the Americans will come off as being open to diplomacy without their usual heavy-handedness and rigid preconditions, and of course both sides will get a lot of points for those efforts. It's a win for the North Koreans because it buys them time and it could lead to a narrowing of the rift between them and the rest of the world, and it's a win for the Americans because it shows the rest of the world that even after nearly 70 years of war, they're capable of sitting down and attempting to hammer out an arrangement.
In reality, it's a bad thing for the South, Russia, and China.
While South Korea certainly doesn't want war, if the US and North Korea were to do the unthinkable and sign a non-aggression pact that could pave the way for a formal peace treaty ending the Korean War, it would be the first step down the road to North Korea being seen as a legitimate sovereign nation and not simply a rogue state. The Normalisation of relations with the United States, possibly including diplomatic relations and possibly even a trade agreement could seriously impede any progress on reunification of the peninsula.
While North Korea has managed to limp along this far, it's unlikely that with US pressure on them nonstop that they'd manage to eke out another 70 years of independence. But if things improve up there, they could manage to lay enough of a foundation to weather whatever storms may come, and they might come to see the South as an economic rival and not only an ideological one. That would be a very distressing development for the Korean people as a whole.
China certainly wouldn't be thrilled if the US and North Korea started becoming chummy. They rely on Kim's antics to keep the US distracted and they need to be able to show North Korea as an example of how the United States is willing to economically strangle a nation if its leaders refuse to play ball, even if that means inflicting terrible suffering on the populace. Plus, without an aggressive, vehemently anti-American North Korea, China loses a strategic ally in its fight for dominance in the region. The Chinese wouldn't know what to do if North Korea suddenly became friendly to US interests, it could even mean that American troops might have access to territory directly abutting China. That's a very big fear for them.
The Russians wouldn't like it either for many of the same reasons, but also because the dissolution of the bad blood between the DPRK and the USA could lead to a serious scramble for influence in the emerging markets of North Korea and Russia doesn't have any cards to play in that game unless the Americans are wholly and completely unwelcome at the table.
Even Japan might be of two minds about the whole thing... They certainly would feel relieved that the threat of war would lessen, but then they wouldn't have the valid excuse to conduct the military build-ups that they want to get on with, because without the excuse of North Korea being seen as a threat, it would be obvious that the development of the Japanese forces would be happening solely to counter China. And while they might also breathe a sigh of relief that Korean reunification would be pushed onto the back burner for the foreseeable future, they might also be a bit worried that the US could decide to exploit North Korea at Japan's expense - i.e.: they could have the North Koreans doing things to make the US money or to provide Americans with goods for far less money than they could pay the Japanese.
My gut feeling tells me that they'll make a big to-do of these talks but that little of substance will come from any of it. In the immediate aftermath, the rhetoric will probably die down, the US will grudgingly admit that to scale down its exercises wouldn't be out of the question (as the North Koreans are already aware of what the US can do), and the North Koreans will probably grudgingly admit that they don't need to test any more missiles or nuclear weapons (as it has already been established that they have long-range rocket technology and nuclear weapons to pair with them.)
And you know what? That's a pretty good place to start actually. Let's remain cautiously optimistic.
3 months ago