North Korea showed the first sign of a shift in the frozen ties between neighbouring South Korea. Diplomats from both countries agreed to meet for talks ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The Olympic Games in Pyeongchang became the optimal reason for the starting the dialogue between North Korea and South Korea and discussions by sending their Olympic delegations.
Last week, in a New Year’s Day speech, Kim Jong-un made unexpected overtures towards easing relations with the neighbouring countries. Another good news for the diplomats wast the agreement to hold negotiations on Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjon. It was announced just hours after Washington and Seoul agreed to postpone joint military exercises until after the 2018 WOG in the South Korea resort of Pyeongchang in February.
What to expect from North Korea in 2018
The North Korean leader in his New Year’s address called for easing military tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula. That unleashed a series of interactions between the two Koreas, which raised hopes of an improvement in inter-Korean relations. Meanwhile, South Korea hopes that the North Korean athletes will travel across the heavily armed land border for the political symbolism of such a gesture. It also hopes that the two Koreas can march together behind a single “unified Korea” flag during the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
“There is no change in the government’s stance that, along with efforts to restore inter-Korean ties, Seoul will consistently push for North Korea’s denuclearisation together with the international community,”
said President Moon’s spokesman.
In 2018, analysts anticipate a busy year of nuclear and missile tests – Kim Jong-un may be trying to draw South Korea and the US into talks. The North Korean leader should be in hopes of easing the biting sanctions in return for de-escalation of the tensions on peninsula.