North Korea seeks to ease military tensions with South in historic meeting
A 10-member South Korean delegation led by National Security Office head Chung Eui-Yong travelled to North Korea’s capital city, Pyongyang, for a two-day trip with the hopes of opening a communication channel between the North and the United States of America.
In a historic meeting, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met senior government officials from South Korea for the first time and said it is his firm will to vigorously advance inter-Korean ties and pursue reunification.
A 10-member South Korean delegation led by National Security Office head Chung Eui-Yong travelled to North Korea’s capital city, Pyongyang, on March 5, 2018 for a two-day trip with the hopes of opening a communication channel between the North and the United States of America.
Chung had said before leaving Seoul that his team would deliver the South Korean president's wish to bring about denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and permanent peace.
The delegation delivered a letter by South’s President Moon Jae-In to North’s leader Kim Jong Un, who gave orders for "practical steps" after reading the letter and also made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange.
Though further details of the agreement have not been made public, reports suggest that it partially addressed a summit offer made by the North Korean leader to South Korean President.
Following are some of the key highlights of the talks:
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanged views with Seoul officials on easing military tensions.
- Kim laid special emphasis on improving inter-Korean ties and activating dialogue between the two Koreas.
- There was, however, no mention of talks between North Korea and the United States.
• Tensions have been rising in the past few months between the United States of America and North Korea with the latter’s increasing frequency of missile and nuclear weapons’ tests despite UN ban.
• North Korea has been developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the United States.
• Though both North Korea and the United States have said they are open to talks but the US position has been that dialogue must be aimed at North Korea's denuclearisation, which has been rejected by the North.
• The North’s nuclear and missile programs have also raised security concerns in South Korea and Japan, as a few of the tests were conducted over the latter.
• However, tensions between the two Koreas eased during the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea, where South Korean President Moon Jae-In hosted a high-level North Korean delegation including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong.
• This was followed by Kim Jong Un’s invitation to Moon to visit North Korea for a summit, which Moon said the two sides should work towards.