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South Korea got itself a new President, Moon Jae-in, after the impeachment of the former one, Park Geun-hye. One of his first decisions within his new political position was to send an invitation to its neighbor. This move intends to open up the two divided parts of Korea to rare talks. This meeting might tackle sensitive topics such as the nuclear program and family reunions.
If South and North Korea Honor These Rare Talks, It Would Be the First Contact in Two Years
South Korea’s offer was sent on Monday, and it represents the first sign of contact towards North Korea since the election of Moon Jae-in. However, the initiative originates from the Red Cross in Seoul. This organization plans to support family reunions. The 1950-53 Korean war separated many of them.
South’s defense ministry suggested a meeting on July 22 and the village of Panmunjom as the meeting location. At the same time, Seoul’s Red Cross proposed the date of August 1 and agreed on the same venue.
If the two nations open up to such rare talks, this would mean the first direct contact between them since December 2015. Moon’s predecessor nurtured conservative ideas and denied any line of dialogue. Only if Pyongyang renounced from its nuclear program would have Park Geun-hye accepted a meeting.
The North Wishes to Reopen Lines of Communication with Its Neighbor
The border between South and North Korea is extremely fortified which enables almost no kind of contact between the civilians of the two sides. Therefore, many families that were divided by the long conflict that halved the peninsula lost track of their siblings. Around 60,000 family members are still trapped in the South.
Cho Myoung-gyon is the official in charge of North Korea affairs. He stated that the South has no intention to use these rare talks to attempt a unification or render any damages to the North. Instead, they seek to open a line of communication with the North. This invitation concerns even the reopening of a military hotline.
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