The 2018 Winter Olympics has helped to bring North Korea closer to South Korea. There was a perceptible thaw in relationships when the two Koreas marched under a single flag at the Games. That has led to a meeting between senior officials of South Korea and Kim Jong-un over dinner in Pyongyang. The BBC reports that the senior officials who had come from South Korea were the first ones to have met the North Korean leader after he came to power. This visit was a part of the peace initiative. According to state media, Kim Jong-un has conveyed an impression that he wants to have closer ties with the South.

Working out strategies

Kim Jong-un has always maintained a distance from outsiders and met very few foreign officials since he became the leader in 2011. The last time he met envoys from the South was in 2007. Hence, the presence of officials of both the North and the South at the dinner table was a significant development. The high-level team from South Korea has returned to Seoul, and will now proceed to the United States to work out the next line of action. The team has admitted that the visit was satisfactory, and both the sides have agreed to hold more talks. America continues to remain firm on its stand that North Korea must abandon its programs of nuclear weapons before any dialogue can begin.

Hopes of peace in the air

Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, has been rooting for peace ever since he took over the office. The 2018 Winter Olympics provided an opportunity for the two Koreas to come together. He still nurtures hopes that formal talks could break the diplomatic standoff between the United States and North Korea, and Kim Jong-un can be persuaded to call a halt to his nuclear ambitions.

The delegation from Seoul had brought a letter from President Moon Jae-in in which he invited the North Korean leader to attend further talks. North's KCNA news agency reports that Kim Jong-un has welcomed the delegates, held talks with them, and exchanged views. Their talks were preliminary in nature, and they shared their views on some of the issues.

The Guardian adds that the North Korean leader plans to meet Moon Jae-in probably in late April. It will be the first summit of its kind in more than a decade. Moon’s office has confirmed this and said that the venue of the meeting would be at Panmunjom on the highly militarized border. Both the Koreas have agreed to set up a hotline between their leaders which will allow close consultations and also reduce military tension. Peace is the need of the hour.