Many people are startled by the speed at which the Korean leaders have managed to reduce their hatred and mistrust previously expressed by the leaders of both South and North Korea.
This week, the President of South Korea Moon Jae-in travelled to North Korea’s capital Pyongyang to meet with his counterpart Chairman Kim Jong-Un.
It is the third meeting with between the leaders of the two hitherto sworn enemy states since their historic summit at the border in April this year. The importance of this week’s meeting could be assessed from the fact that it is the first trip to the North Korean capital by a leader from the South in a decade.
President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday morning for the three-day visit. They were warmly welcomed from the plane by Mr Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju.
Their meeting was preceded by a tour to Pyongyang by South Korea’s Director of National Security Chung Eui-yong who confirmed that the that the two leaders would discuss denuclearization and the settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The meeting is part of the North’s ambitious and largely surprising strategy to pursue the path of peace as opposed to its trademark provocations.
Since the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim in June this year, there has been little progress between the two countries with the Americans complaining that Pyongyang has recorded little progress on denuclearization.
South Korea’s president hopes to be a mediator between the two, as well as boosting the inter-Korean relationship.
The enmity and hatred as seen from the clashes and tough negative rhetoric between the leaders of two countries, has been replaced by an atmosphere of optimism.
Tens of thousands of North Koreans waved flowers and shouted unification slogans as the leaders rode in an open car through parts of Pyongyang.
The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice – but no formal peace treaty was signed.
Although President Moon’s earlier meeting with Kim at the border was historic, the two leaders didn’t discuss anything touchy. This time, pressure is on President Moon to make real progress in persuading the North Koreans to make concrete steps to denuclearise.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s inter-Korean talks, South Korean envoys reported that Kim is interested in achieving complete denuclearisation within the first term of the Trump administration.