North, South Korea hold rare talks
North and South Korean officials sat down today for rare talks aimed at setting up a sustainable high-level dialogue that has constantly eluded the two rivals.
The meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom marked the first inter-governmental interaction since August when the two sides met to defuse a crisis that had pushed them to the brink of an armed conflict. That meeting ended with a joint agreement that included a commitment to resume high-level talks, although no precise timeline was given.
Although any dialogue between the two Koreas is generally welcomed as a step in the right direction, precedent offers little hope of a successful outcome.
A similar effort back in June 2013 saw both sides agree to hold what would have been the first high-level dialogue for six years—only for Pyongyang to cancel a day before the scheduled meeting.
In the end, it was a matter of protocol—the North felt insulted by the South’s nomination of a vice minister as its chief delegate—that smothered the initiative before it had even drawn breath.