While the tensions between North Korea and the United States have escalated over the last year thanks to President Trump’s juvenile taunts, relations between North and South Korea have opened up.
North and South Koreans recently restored direct communication for the first time in years. After talks at the demilitarized zone, the two sides announced Wednesday that North and South Korea would march under a unified flag for the upcoming Winter Olympic games in Pyongyang, South Korea next month.
The countries announced several other moves to display unity in the games including a joint women’s hockey team and joint training of North and South Korean Skiers. There will also be joint cultural events held, including a performance by a North Korean orchestra.
The North Koreans announced plans to send 230 fans to support the North Korean athletes who will be participating in the games.
While the renewed talks and plans for North Korean participation in the Olympics offers hope for diplomacy or at least a first step in that direction, the move still leaves many skeptical.
Taro Kono, the Japanese Foreign Minister, warned “I believe that North Korea wants to buy some time to continue their nuclear and missile programs. It’s not the time to ease pressure towards North Korea.”
Similarly, the United States has moved more military resources into the area. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warns against complacency with North Korea, echoing the concerns of many who believe the progress made with South Korea and the Olympic games is merely a way to buy time.
The new accord between the Korean nations is important and significant but Kang Kyung-Wha, South Korea’s Foreign Minister, acknowledged that “Despite these overtures to improve relations with the South, North Korea has yet to show any intention to fulfill its international obligations regarding denuclearization.”
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