For North Korea to end its war on the South, and accept the South as a legitimate, coequal government on the peninsula, would mean abandoning the quest that has legitimized the Kim family’s rule for three generations. The decision would call into question why, exactly, North Korea should hold power at all. It would be system-threatening — a mistake on the scale of the string of blunders by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev that doomed the Soviet Union.
And so the North, rather than committing to a legally binding (and potentially destabilizing) peace treaty, is likely to do again what it has gotten away with in previous meetings with the South: dangle aspirational goals in jointly signed, but totally unenforceable, official statements.
We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”
But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms