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Kim Jong-un had extended an olive branch to Moon Jae-in on New Year’s Day. That has brightened the prospects of reunification along with possibilities of North Korea participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The media in Pyongyang is upbeat about the positive signs, and have welcomed the moves to improve relations with its neighbor. The rapid developments in the region must have taken the United States by surprise, and it will have to work out new strategies.

CNN reports that the first round of direct talks between the two Koreas was held after nearly two years at the border village of Panmunjom. The discussions agreed that North would participate in the games and also make efforts to ease military tensions.

The North has world-class athletes and has agreed to send a delegation consisting of athletes, a cheering squad, and associated groups to the Olympics.

The future scenario

Korea was split after the World War II in the late 1940s. Subsequently, the Korean war of the 1950s made the division permanent and they are still technically at war because there was no formal peace treaty signed.

North Korea is now willing to make efforts for national reconciliation and reunification and has indicated its willingness to contact people in South Korea and convert it into a reality. This matches with what South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants. He has reiterated that his goal is to convince Pyongyang to move towards denuclearization and peace.

The two sides are expected to hold another meeting to discuss the cultural aspects of the games including the orchestra.

Other subjects like reunification will also be on their agenda.

The American strategy

The intentions of North Korea appear to be honest and it wants to come out of isolation, but Kim Jong-un has been pursuing a program to develop nuclear weapons to attack the United States in spite of global sanctions. He has identified a few probable targets in America, and it is quite possible that the sanctions are hurting him. However, it is difficult to imagine that he would shelve his ICBMs and H-bomb.

The Pentagon will now have to evolve new strategies in view of changed circumstances. The US has already agreed with South Korea to suspend its military exercises till the 2018 Winter Olympics ends which will be on February 25. Has Kim bought time to perfect an ICBM to strike America? Does his original agenda remain? Are the talks of reunification nothing but a red herring? Are the games an excuse Kim wants to exploit?

These are a few questions that the US war room will have to address before America and the rest of the world can heave a sigh of relief.