Kim Jong Un fears Trump will attack, and is reaching out to South Korea to buy time, former North Korea official says

Kim Jong Un has been reaching out to the South Korean government in an effort to buy time to develop his nuclear program amid fears that the U.S. will launch a preventative strike on the North, a defector who worked for the regime said Wednesday.

The former ruling party official, Ri Jong-ho, said the North Korean leader’s willingness to engage with the South and participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics has been out of concern for an attack on his country, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“Kim Jong Un is afraid that the U.S. will launch a preventative strike, and he is trying to buy time to complete his nuclear missile programs,” Ri said at Wilson Center event in Washington.

The Trump administration is reportedly debating a "bloody nose" strike on North Korea, a limited military attack meant to deter the regime from continuing its nuclear program. Yet critics fear such a move would start an all-out war and endanger millions living in South Korea.