- North Korea and South Korea may be on the verge of announcing a peaceful end to the Korean War, which has technically been ongoing since 1950 because it ended in a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty.
- The South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo cited an unnamed intelligence source as saying a meeting later this month between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in could result in a peace announcement.
- Though there have been significant reductions in tensions between North Korea and South Korea and the US in the past year, experts remain skeptical that the North would actually give up its nuclear weapons.
The summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week could result in a historic announcement of an end to the 68-year Korean War, according to a report.
The South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo cited an unnamed intelligence source as saying the summit scheduled for April 27 – the first time the leaders will meet face-to-face – could result in a peace announcement.
North Korea and South Korea have technically been at war since 1950 because that conflict ended in a cease-fire rather than a peace treaty.
The Munhwa Ilbo report follows weeks of planning by North Korea and South Korea that kicked off with a display of thawed tensions at the Winter Olympics.
Since then, Kim is said to have expressed an unprecedented willingness to talk with South Korea and discuss denuclearization with the US. He has also traveled outside North Korea for the first time since assuming power in 2011, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
North Korea has also recently seen diplomatic delegations and K-pop bands visit – Kim even sat in on a performance in Pyongyang that he apparently loved.
North Korea also sent Kim’s sister to the Olympics and upgraded the status of his wife, Ri Sol Ju, from “comrade” to “revered first lady” in a what could be a bid to create a cult of personality around her.
The US has projected a wait-and-see attitude about the talks and vowed to not let up on economic or military pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, though in the past year it has scaled back or delayed some scheduled joint military exercises with South Korea.
South Korean diplomats have repeatedly said North Korea maintains a willingness to denuclearize, but experts remain skeptical that North Korea would actually do so, saying it has entered into negotiations in the past that fell apart when it came time to inspect nuclear sites.
However, relations with North Korea have shifted in the past year since US President Donald Trump threatened “fire and fury” in response to nuclear provocations and Pyongyang spoke of firing missiles near US forces in Guam and detonating nukes in the sky.