May 1, 2018

Fast Progress on Inter-Korean Thaw After the Summit

Fast progress on inter-Korean thaw after the summit:

1) Dismantling of provocative border propaganda speakers
2) Synchronizing time zone for the two sides of Korea -- benefitting upcoming inter-Korea exchanges and commerce
3) Working towards linking railway between the two sides, enabling future continous land trip from South Korea to Europe.
4) Talks of multiple unfied sports teams at the upcoming Asian Games
5) Talks of reviving inter-Korean liason/business office at the Kaesung industrial complex
6) Working to arrange reunion of separated families during the August 15 Libereation Day period
7) Upcoming high-level military talks to reduce military tension, including making the contested and volatile sea border area in the West Sea as "peace zone" for mutual fishing activities

And ---
-- Unprecedented 80% approval rating for President Moon after the summit
-- Extensive and transparent coverage of the summit in the North Korean state media
-- Big sigh of relief for Koreans, especially those living close to the border

The Breakthrough Moon-Kim Summit

A picture speaks a thousand words .... Remarkable photo, among many, of the historic inter-Korean summit that took place at the Panmunjeom/Demilitarized Zone, symbolizing the will of the two sides of Korea to officially end the Korean War and to propel towards a long-lasting peace settlement in the peninsula.

The border crossings at the Panmunjeom reminds of the famous words "Whose land is this, if Koreans cannot move back and forth [between the south and the north] in their own land?" -- popularized after the artificial division of Korea after the World War II.

Now, Koreans have taken the bold initiative in formally ending the Korean War and breaking down barriers to a lasting peace settlement.

In normal times, all those wishing to cross the border line at the Panmunjeom need to get permission from the US commander in charge of the nominal Korean War-era UN Command role. The two Korean heads of state ignored that archaic protocol by casually stepping back and forth on the border line. In fact, during the summit, no US soldiers were in sight at the Panmunjeom.

Koreans have taken ownership of the narrative of their own future. The world should respect that and ensure that true peace prevails in the Korean Peninsula.

April 2, 2018

Spring Thaw in the Korean Peninsula

Spring thaw brings a flurry of activities in the Korean Peninsula -- South Korean musicians and tae kwon do athletes performed in Pyongyang in good will cultural exchanges in the midst of renewed inter-Korean rapprochement, while Kim Jong-un chats with South Korea's K-Pop stars and explores further summit with Russia and Japan, all while the US-South Korea military exercises are taking place in and around South Korea. The third inter-Korean summit is taking place on April 27, followed by first-ever US-DPRK summit in May. Hope a lasting peace and security for all will come out of all these developments.

February 22, 2018

Renewing Thaw in the Korean Peninsula

Ten years have passed since the last thaw in inter-Korean relations, brought about by the "sunshine" policies. This photo shows a child in South Korea painting on a railroad track that intended to connect the two sides of Korea by rail, but that never materialized due to two successive conservative South Korean governments that put cold war on the thawing relations. Now, another opportunity has risen that gives renewed hope for a peaceful resolution in the Korean Peninsula.

February 9, 2018

The Two Sides of Korea March Again at the Olympics

The two Korean teams (South and North Korea) marched together side by side, under one symbolic flag (unifed Korea) at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea on February 9, 2018. The last time that the joint entry at the Olympics opening ceremony occurred was thirteen years ago, during the "sunshine policy" period of inter-Korean thaw and cooperation.

Moreover, North Korea seem to have swallowed its pride and is attending the games held in its arch-rival South Korea, together with unprecedented attendance of high-level government/party officials (including nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam and Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong) -- perhaps suggesting its flexibility and willingness to resume negotiations for inter-Korean rapproachement. The question is, are Washington and Tokyo willing to seize this apt opportunity to pursue a path of negotiated peace settlement in the Korean Peninsula?

January 10, 2018

Two Sides of Korea Are Shaking Hands Again

Another thaw in tense inter-Korea relations is developing, as North Korean reps crossed by foot the Military Demarcation Line (in the DMZ) on January 9 at the Panmunjom, Korea, on the way to talks with South Korean counterparts for sending NK athletes to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
More significantly, both sides also agreed to resume talks on military matters, in addition to re-opening of military hotline few days ago, that may usher in much-needed reduction of tensions in the peninsula.

June 14, 2017

Towards Peaceful Settlement in Korea

"Off Ramps to War: Paths to Building Peace with North Korea" conference was held June 13, 2017, at the George Washington University School of International Affairs, Washington, DC,
 discussing various concrete paths towards peaceful settlement and "shared security" in the Korean Peninsular, with former Defense Secretary William Perry, renowned Koreanist Professor Bruce Cumings, veterans for peace, humanitarian NGOs, UN program officer, separated families, scholars, activists, journalists and concerned citizens.