On Monday, a South Korean delegation traveled to North Korea to relay President Moon Jae-In‘s hopes for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in order to achieve peace and stability in the region.
The 10-member envoy will remain in the North for two days, while the visit may include talks with the North Korean leader himself. If such a meeting occurs it will be historic, as, ever since he assumed power in 2011, no South Korean officials have ever seen him in person.
The talks come after historic developments in the peninsula. In spite of Kim Jong-Un‘s repeated tests that escalated the tension between the two neighbors, the relations improved after the two Koreas marched under a unity flag during the opening and closing ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the North Korean leader’s sister Kim Yo Jong led a high-level official delegation to the South.
The head of the South Korean delegation, national security director, Chung Eui-yong, just before his departure, affirmed that he will push for in-depth talks, delivering “President Moon’s firm resolve to achieve a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and genuine and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula”.
According to the presidential Blue House, the high-profile delegation is to reciprocate the trip by Kim Yo Jong, who became the first member of the North’s ruling Kim family to come to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
After they return from Pyongyang, the same delegation will head to the United States on the outcome of the talks, which will be tentative considering that North Korea has repeatedly stressed that it won’t put its nuclear program on a negotiating table, with the US clarifying that that it doesn’t want talks for the sake of talks and said all options, including military measures, are on the table.
For his part, President Moon has yet to accept Kim’s invitation to visit Pyongyang for what would be the third inter-Korean summit talks. The past two summit talks, one in 2000 and the other in 2007, were held between Kim’s late father Kim Jong Il and two liberal South Korean presidents.