North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, said in an internationally broadcasted New Year’s speech on Thursday that he is open to a summit meeting with South Korea’s President and other high-level talks.
Kim’s proposed statement presses a step closer towards the reunification of a divided Korea. Both sides claim that reunification is a fundamental goal according to ABC News in the article on Jan 1 entitled, “North Korean Leader Open to Summit with South.” Before any of this can happen, both sides acknowledge that they need to set their differences aside.
“If South Korean authorities sincerely want to improve relations between North and South Korea through talks, we can resume stalled high-level meetings,” Kim said, according to Reuters.
Kim said that the tragic division of Korea is no longer acceptable and tolerable according to BBC.
According to ABC News, South Korean officials are open to any form of talks with North Korea.
Despite this, Kim proposes that South Korea must abandon all plots to launch wars. Also, Kim said that South Korea should work towards easing tension and creating peace that would spread throughout the Korean peninsula.
The unification minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae had called for a dialogue with North Korea on Monday before the New Year’s speech, hoping to continue talks on certain issues, according to BBC. Some issues included the reunion of families that were separated during the Korean War. Ryoo had offered to meet in a mutually chosen city, whether it was in the North or the South.
North Korea has not yet accepted this dialogue.
“Our government hopes for dialogue between the South and North Korean authorities in the near future without limits on format,” Ryoo said, according to BBC.
The South Korean government said that if North Korea was sincere in improving relations, then North Korea should accept the dialogue proposed Monday as soon as possible, according to Reuters.
South Korea said that the move made by Kim was meaningful. Also, South Korea said that talks in the future should be practical and frank, consisting of issues that concern both sides, according to BBC.
According to Reuters, in the past North Korea had tried to improve relations, but military provocations from both the North and the joint U.S. have stalled any further progress.
“Annual large-scale (U.S.-South Korean) war exercises are a source of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula and increase the threat of nuclear war,” Kim said in the speech, according to Reuters.
The 30 minute New Year’s speech is the third New Year speech that was made by Kim since the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011. This New Year speech marks the end of the traditional three-year mourning period of Kim’s father. Analysts infer that Kim will pursue policies that are more tailored towards his own personal goals.
Kim said in his speech that this year is the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation of Japanese colonial rule.