North Korea sent a fax to South Korea to announce its agreement.
North Korea and South Korea will hold high-level diplomatic talks next week — the first time the two countries will officially speak to each other in more than two years.
It’s yet another sign that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is looking for ways to calm tensions ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.
For most of last year, it looked like the United States and North Korea were careening toward a potentially catastrophic war, a conflict that would’ve also involved South Korea. It’s possible that the North is using these talks as a way to avoid that outcome.
“The agenda is on matters regarding Pyeongchang Olympic games as well as issues concerning improving inter-Korean ties,” Baek Tae-hyun, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, told reporters on January 5.
The talks will take place in the Demilitarized Zone — the inter-Korean border — on January 9, and will be the first time each side has formally spoken to the other since December 2015.
A whirlwind week of diplomacy led to this moment
This all happened in just under a week.
During a New Year’s Day speech, Kim said he wanted North Korean athletes to participate in the Olympics. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated for an ongoing dialogue with North Korea, quickly reacted to Kim’s speech by saying it was “a response to our proposal to turn the Pyeongchang Olympic Games into an epoch-making opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations and establish peace.”
Just a day later, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said both countries should meet at the border village of Panmunjom on January 9 to discuss the Olympics and ways to improve overall ties.
Then, on January Read More Here