Remember when all the threats of nuclear war were being thrown around, the media was fanning the flames, and pundits were recommending bombing North Korea? While this was going on people who actually followed affairs on the Korean peninsula all said stay calm, nuclear war isn’t going to happen, and the North will have to end the provocation cycle before summer because all those soldiers they mobilized need to go plant crops. When this happens they will pursue talks and that is exactly what is happening now:
North and South Korea agreed Monday to hold senior-level talks this week in Seoul, a breakthrough of sorts to ease tensions after Pyongyang‘s recent threats of nuclear war and Seoul’s vows of counterstrikes.
The two-day meeting starting Wednesday will focus on stalled cooperation projects, including the resumption of operations at a jointly-run factory park near the border in North Korea that was the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean rapprochement until Pyongyang pulled out its workers in April during heightened tensions that followed its February nuclear test.
The details of the upcoming talks were ironed out in a nearly 17-hour negotiating session by lower-level officials. Those discussions began Sunday in the countries’ first government-level meeting on the Korean Peninsula in more than two years and took place at the village of Panmunjom on their heavily armed border, near where the armistice ending the three-year Korean War was signed 60 years ago next month. That truce has never been replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula technically at war.
The agreement to hold the talks was announced in a statement early Monday by South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which is responsible for North Korea matters. North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, also reported the agreement. [Associated Press]
What is different this time around though is that the South Korean government is driving the agenda for the talks instead of the other way around like it has been for years. To further drive the agenda the President Park Geun-hye should really push for the North Koreans to comply with prior inter-Korean agreements more specifically that for any future summits Kim Jong-un will need to come to Seoul, not North Korea or a third nation location like they will probably try to do. The North Koreans love having high level officials come to North Korea because their propaganda apparatus makes appear that these officials are coming to pay tribute to the Kim regime not to hold negotiations. If Kim Jong-un has to travel to South Korea for a summit there is little to no propaganda value for the regime.
It would also be a sign that maybe the Kim regime leadership are finally ready for fundamental change in their country. That is why I do not think that the Park Government should agree to any grand bargain with the North Koreans until Kim Jong-un travels to South Korea and keeps the promise made in prior inter-Korean agreements. If they keep playing the same old games than that is a sign that nothing has changed accept the face of the regime.