Written by Jonathan Du Fault
North and South Korea have exchanged messages with each other in communication channels that have not been used in over a year. The two countries are beginning to rebuild relationships and improve ties.
While these are positive steps, they still leave the resumption of stalled negotiations to rid North Koreas of nuclear weapons a long way off. Liaison officials from both Koreas have had several phone calls, including one on a military hotline, agreeing to speak regularly. These renewed communications could help eases tension on the most fortified border, but it is only a small first step.
Pyongyang is unlikely to restore vigorous cooperation programs with Seoul or get back to nuclear talks led by the U.S. Experts believe North Korea is aiming to improve ties with South Korea in the hopes it will persuade the U.S. to make nuclear concessions when diplomacy and trust is made with Washington. These communications have Ben silent for more than two years as North Korea threatened to enlarge his nuclear program to despite the sanctions placed on the nation by the United States.
The two Korean presidents have been exchanging letters since April and have both decided to resume communications. South Korean President Moon said the two leaders agreed to “restore mutual confidence and develop their relationship as soon as possible.” The North’s state media stated the two agreed to “make a big stride in recovering the mutual trust and promoting reconciliation by restoring cutoff inter-Korean communication liaison lines.”
Tuesday’s resumption of communication comes on the 68h anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, which pitted South Korea and U.S.-led U.N. forces against North Korea and China. That armistice has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of war, with about 28,500 U.S. troops still stationed in South Korea.
These talks also come around as North Korea’s economy is at an all-time low. With the Coronavirus, storms, and other disasters North Korea has struggled to recover its economy. However, outside monitoring groups have not seen signs of mass starvation or social chaos in the country.
South Korea and the United States are optimistic at the sign of communication from North Korea and hope all three countries can continue to develop a relationship.