North Korea appears to be looking for help with its broken economy that was dealt blows by fresh U.N. sanctions imposed after its nuclear test in May, a loss of aid from the South caused by political rancour, and floods that may lead to a smaller harvest this year.It also deals with the prospect of a Lee-Kim summit, and talks about why that might happen:
North Korea also has a record of taking a tough stance when new governments come to power in the United States and South Korea and later softening its position. The North may be repeating this pattern with U.S. President Barack Obama, who took office about 10 months ago, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who took power in February 2008.
Lee has said he would only agree to a summit if it was tied to meaningful steps by Pyongyang to reduce the security threat it poses to the region. If there is progress in the nuclear dealings, a summit could be seen as a victory for Lee because it will serve as a validation of his policy stance.I'm not so sure I agree with that. Kim Daejung might have seen a spike in his popularity and Roh Moohyun a bump (I'd have to see the numbers, but such ephemeral approval ratings are hardly reliable in a land where public opinion is nebulous and usually buffeted around by events so much that it's hard to trace its trajectory), but in the end both — especially Roh — were wildly unpopular in some circles.
Even if there is no significant progress on the nuclear front ahead of a summit, the South Korean public has shown great support for its two leaders who went to the North to meet Kim because those meetings decreased tension on the heavily armed peninsula and stirred emotions of a fraternal bond for Koreans on the other side of the border.