North and South make steady progress towards ending Korean War

Despite the North's reluctance to denuclearize, and US reluctance to relax sanctions, ties between Seoul and Pyongyang continue to warm

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SK Pres. Moon greets crowds in Pyongyang, Sept. 2018

SK Pres. Moon greets crowds in Pyongyang, Sept. 2018 (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – There are quite a few positive signs that an official end to the Korean War is on the horizon according to international observers.

As reported by the Atlantic, rapidly improving relations between the North and South over the past year are a good indication that the conflict, which has spanned nearly 70 years since the initiation of hostilities in 1950 may finally be coming to an end.

Even though U.S. President Donald Trump has not been directing too much international attention towards the Korean Peninsula in recent months, relations and cooperation between the two Korean governments is continuing a very encouraging pace.

According to reports, “dismantling guard posts, designating no-fly zones,” and working together to significantly disarm what has been the world’s most militarized patch of Earth for many decades.

In two previous summits between the Koreas, out of 13 commitments towards reconciliation that were made, the Atlantic reports that five have been completed according to the predetermined deadline, and four more are set to be accomplished in the near future, with only one falling a month behind schedule so far.

In November, 10 guard posts were shuttered and destroyed along the demilitarized zone, with indications that mare will follow in quick succession.

A large landmine clearing operation is also just gearing up and has already removed hundreds on land mines in the region. There are also plans in the works to allow tourists to move freely between the two sides of the iconic Panmunjom joint military area, for the first time in more than 40 years.

While North Korea under command of Kim Jong Un still has not completely denuclearized, it appears they are working the government of the South in earnest to lessen hostilities, and as the Atlantic article points out, in hopes of alleviating international sanctions to stimulate their economy.

There are reportedly already plans for expanded road and railway infrastructure to connect the two Koreas, but the plans must receive the green light from the United States, which still technically maintains command over the theater of military operations in South Korea.

The United States is hesitant to show leniency to the Kim regime and lift sanctions for fear they will lose leverage in their demands for denuclearization.

However, despite the slow pace of developments between Washington and Seoul, the governments of Moon Jae-In and Kim Jong Un are taking the initiative in rebuilding positive inter-Korean relations.

Moon has been quoted as calling the recent agreements “akin to a declaration to end the Korean War,” and has also expressed the optimistic view that there would be no more war forthcoming between North and South Korea.

The only problem, as the Atlantic points out, is that Moon may be moving far too quickly towards reconciliation that the Trump administration is comfortable with, as the North is still reportedly developing certain aspects of its nuclear programs, and seems a long way from meeting the demands placed on the state by the United States.