On Monday, March 5th, North Korean leader Kim
Jong Un discussed the possibility of disarmament in a meeting with envoys for
South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Chung Eui-yong, head of the South Korean presidential
National Security Office, and the four officials visited Pyongyang, North Korea
in an effort to advance peace between two neighboring nations.
It is the first time the South and North set in a same round
table since Kim Jong Un succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, and rose to power.
South Korea’s Yonhap News reported that North and South
Korea are keeping the conversation open to “reduce military tensions”.
“The North has affirmed their intention to halt nuclear and
missile tests,” said Chung, “the North is open to denuclearization on condition
that their safety is guaranteed.”
Kim Jong Un also expressed the North’s openness to starting
a dialogue with the United States and normalizing bilateral relationship.
In addition to the disarmament, the North said they will no
longer make military threats during the course of conversation with the U.S.
While the North is exhibiting the willingness to reduce long-standing
military tensions, South Korea and the U.S. are taking precautions to safeguard
It was only two years ago that North Korea fired short-ranged
missiles into the ocean in close proximity to South Korea and threatened to lead South Korea to what
North Korea called its “pitiable demise”.
North Korea has broken promises on multiple occasions in
previous agreements to stop nuclear developments.
In a recent report by The Economists, Joseph DeTrani, a CIA
officer who served as the U.S.’s lead negotiator from 2003 to 2006, expressed
skepticisms for the North’s peace offering gestures, “There is no indication
that North Korea is willing to denuclearize… They have worked since the 1950s
to acquire nuclear weapons.”
President Moon of South Korea said on Wednesday, in response
to his envoys’ meeting in Pyongyang, “It is too early to be optimistic.” Moon
added, “We are only at the starting line.”
In April, President Moon and Kim Jong Un will hold a summit
at the truce village of Panmunjom, also known as Joint Security Area (JSA), located
on the border separating the two Koreas.