It sounded impossible just a couple of months ago, but North Korea and South Korea seem determined to gamble on thaw, at least for now, after a stage of severe tensions. The first day of talks between two countries for two years has been developed in a friendly climate and has yielded remarkable results. The first, "yes" of Pyongyang to participate in Winter Olympics in south. The second is decision to open a military dialogue "to resolve current tensions", according to a joint communiqué, and reopening of a communication line between two armies.
The talks divided into three working sessions in village of La Paz in Panmunjom, in demilitarized zone that marks border between two countries, open a door to continue dialogue between two countries- personal commitment of South Korean President, Moon Jae-in-and lower tensions generated by rapid progress of North Korean nuclear and missile program. A door that has been made possible by Seoul's recent announcement of postponement of its joint maneuvers with U.S. until after games; And also, paradoxically, by North Korean declaration that it has already completed its weapons programme.More information
- North Korea reopens way of direct communication with South
- South Korea and United States postpone ir joint military maneuvers during Olympic Games
For moment, South Korea has already achieved one of its objectives: to get "yes" from Pyongyang to participate in Pyeongchang Olympics, which Seoul has dubbed " Peace Games", and to ensure that while games last, re will be no jumps in form of tests of missiles or Korean nuclear bombs. Pyongyang, which in 1988 boycotted Summer Olympics in Seoul, has offered to send a delegation formed by "athletes, senior officials, animators, artists, fans and reporters," according to joint communiqué.
Both parties must still agree on size of delegation that will send South Korea to north to participate in sporting event or where it is to be housed. The unilateral sanctions of Seoul to Pyongyang create problems for displacement of north-Korean representatives, although South has already pointed out its willingness to temporarily suspend se measures of punishment to enable voyage. It is also unclear wher, as host country has proposed, both sports delegations would parade toger at opening of Games. North Korea has also not clarified wher athletes who move will participate in competition.
The two delegations, headed in south by Minister of Unification, Cho Myoung-Hyon, and in north by Ri Song-won, head of Commission for peaceful reunification of Korea, have also agreed, as indicated by joint communiqué, establishment of a Dialogue between two armies to "avoid incidents". Hours before, Chun had confirmed reinstatement from this Wednesday of a line of military communication interrupted two years ago, in full deterioration of relations.
In addition, South Korea has also proposed a meeting of war-torn families, first in two years and to be held on occasion of Asian New Year, in mid-February. To happen, y would not only coincide with Winter Olympics: y would also do so with birthday of Kim Jong-IL, former North Korean leader and far of present.
The conversations were developed in an unusually fluid climate. "I have covered many of se meetings and atmosphere is exceptionally good," a journalist from Korean KCNA agency told "Pool" of sourn reporters. A good environment that seemed unthinkable over past year, when North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, and exchange of exabruptions between Washington and Pyongyang, unleashed tensions and U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to Recourse to military route against north.
Nothing to do with last time that both countries had met to discuss, in December 2015, when talks concluded without compromise or a new meeting date. Nor with drama lived a few meters from meeting place just two months ago. Then, a North Korean soldier managed to escape to south in a spectacular flight, amid a barrage of bullets from his hirto comrades who left him severely wounded.
"Inter-Korean relations are more frozen than winter itself," Ri commented at beginning of sessions, "but just as under ice water continues to flow relentlessly, people's desire to see dialogue cannot be stopped."
The Ri itself, which to mark most relaxed atmosphere went to meeting in a suit jacket and not military uniform that wore two years ago, came to suggest that talks are developed publicly and in presence of press "to demonstrate Sincerid Ad "North in search of dialogue. Cho preferred to appeasing and keep m behind closed doors.
The meetings this Tuesday have taken place a week after, in his January 1 address, Kim Jong-un declared that North Korea has completed its weapons programme and-in what it wanted to present as a gesture of magnanimity-it will show , for first time, open to his country's participation in South Olympics. Almost immediately, Seoul offered to talk about it.