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  • Writer's pictureMaia Harrison

A “new history” for Korea? The peace talks explained.

Have North and South Korea put aside their decades of hostility during these peace summits?

Today (27th April, 2018), North and South Korean leaders, Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-in met in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) and shook hands in a symbolic gesture meant to represent the building of relations between the two countries.

These talks and the events unfolding have been the result of months of diplomatic strategy. In fact, this meeting is the first between Korean leaders in more than a decade and is seen as a step towards future peace in the region. This sense of optimism, is oddly enough echoed by Mr Kim, who claims that “[we] have fired a flare at the starting point... the moment of writing a new history vis-à-vis peace, prosperity and North-South relations,”. Even the White House has expressed some hope that the talks will bring about significant progress, especially as a proposed meeting between Trump and Kim is likely in the upcoming weeks — which is surprising given the recent Twitter feud…

The most important element of these talks, however, is the nuclear issue. They’re likely to focus on reaching an agreement on North Korea’s weapons program. Nevertheless, Seoul has warned that a complete deal or agreement will be difficult to achieve, despite the fact that Kim announced that he would suspend nuclear tests last week. As well as discussing nuclear ambitions, the talks will also center around a formal end to the 1950 - 1953 Korean War; another landmark step in improving the countries’ relations.

It’s hard to say whether or not these talks will ultimately ease tension in the region. However, positive developments such as the forecast diplomatic meetings with Western powers, and the symbolic gestures during the Winter Olympics all show that the frost of the Cold War is beginning to thaw.

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