After more than six decades of hostility – including the devastating 1950-53 civil war – is North Korea now serious about trying to improve relations with South Korea? International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe examines the possibilities. An excerpt of his new column, Lightning-strike diplomacy opens crack between the Koreas (paywall*):
In a remarkable demonstration that may presage the end of one of the world’s most deeply embedded conflicts, three of North Korea’s most senior leaders have made a surprise visit to the South.
The excuse for the unprecedented trip across the heavily-armed border that has divided the peninsular since the Second World War was to attend the closing ceremony of the Asian Games, held at the city of Incheon west of the South’s capital Seoul. But the three also met senior South Korean officials and agreed that talks should be held to improve relations between the two sides of the divided nation.
The lightning-strike diplomacy by the three has started a brush fire of confusion and speculation in Asia because it raises questions about North Korea’s leader, the young and erratic Kim Jong-un, and whether he is still in charge.
Kim has not been seen in public since September 3, and he has missed several important public occasions where his presence would be expected … log in to read Lightening-strike diplomacy opens crack between the Koreas. (Day pass or subscription required*).
*You’ll find lots of great free stories inside our site, but much of our original work is behind a paywall — we do not sell advertising, and reader payments are essential for us to continue our work. Journalism to has value, and we need and appreciate your support (a day pass is $1 and a monthly subscription is less than a cup of coffee). If you’d like to give us a try before throwing pennies our way, drop us a note at Editor@factsandopinions.com, and we will email you a complimentary day pass.