A thaw in North-South relations that began early this year as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in has accelerated into a full-on reversal. To wit, North Korea on Thursday issued a rare message for “all Koreans at home and abroad,” saying they should make a “breakthrough” for unification without the help of other countries, its state media said.
Reuters reports the North Korean press are also saying, “all Koreans" should “promote contact, travel, cooperation between North and South Korea” while adding Pyongyang will “smash” all challenges against reunification of the Korean peninsula.”
Relations between the two countries warmed when the South agreed to suspend the military exercises that the North has described as a preamble to war earlier this year, and the neighboring countries - which have technically been at war since the 1950s - agreed to field a combined women's field hockey team during the upcoming Winter Games in PyeongChang.
A liberal who campaigned on forging closer ties with the North, Jae-in has butted heads with President Trump and the US military, which remain wary of the North. US military leaders worry that Kim is deviously trying to create a wedge between the US and its main regional ally in its struggle to contain the North's nuclear program.
The announcement, which was issued after a joint meeting of government and political parties, also called for Koreans to "defuse military tensions" and create "a peaceful atmosphere" on the peninsula.
The North's official news agency explained that military tensions on the peninsula were a "fundamental obstacle" to improving inter-Korean relations. Now that they have ceased, an amicable relationship is developing for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
North Korea did not provide details about the purpose for the meeting, saying only that it was aimed to support leader Kim Jong Un’s remarks regarding unification from his New Year’s address. It said this year is meaningful for both North and South Korea as it is the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea while South Korea will be hosting the Winter Olympics next month.
Of course, all this peace talk hasn't stopped the North from continuing to advance their nuclear program, as well as the country's testing of ballistic missiles. CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned earlier this week that the North is only "a handful of months" away from being able to launch a nuclear strike on the Continental US with a high degree of accuracy.