North Korea on Sunday proposed high-level talks with the U.S., or Saturday night in Washington. On the face of it, it seems peculiar to try and interrupt other people's relaxing weekend with such a charm offensive, but North Korea watchers say there is method in the madness.
In fact, such bombshells, major or minor, often come on holidays. When the North proposed talks to South Korea, it was Memorial Day here. "North Korea has favored a tactic of launching sudden attacks on holidays, a strategy that dates back to the 1950-53 Korean War," one pundit said. "The aim is to strike the enemy when he least expects it."
The other side usually has its guard down on holidays or weekends, and regular government channels of communication may not be working.
One example was the North's first nuclear test in 2006, which came just after Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving.
Other pundits say North Korea chooses weekends or holidays to maximize the propaganda effect. It took 12 hours before Washington gave an official response to Pyongyang's offer to hold talks, and until then the global media had no choice but to report that North Korea made the offer. That makes Pyongyang look peaceable, at least for a while.
A source who has participated in several inter-Korean talks said, "North Korea believes making important announcements on weekend delivers a deeper impact on opponents by flustering them."