Millennium Post

Talks offer too late?

Talks offer too late?
As preparations for the concluding ceremony for the Winter Olympics were on, came the news that the North Korean delegation was willing to talk to the U.S. That news came from the South Korean President Moon Jae-In himself on Sunday. He said he had met with the North Korean delegation before the closing ceremony and told them that North Korea-US talks should happen "as soon as possible." Moon said the North Koreans indicated they were willing to talk with the US, and agreed that "the inter-Korean relationship and North Korea-US relationship should develop together." While the delegates from North Korea and the US took their seats in the VIP box, President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, who was attending the Olympics as a US Presidential Adviser, sat a row away from North Korean delegation leader Kim Yong Chol. A fortnight ago, a similar photo opportunity had come up when US Vice President Mike Pence took his seat for the opening ceremony, not far from Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. At that appearance, Pence looked stony-faced when the North and South Korean athletes entered the stadium. This time, Ivanka Trump stood up to applaud the combined team. While the air was distinctly chilly when Pence was in South Korea, he later said he had intentionally ignored Kim Yo Jong, but hinted at possible progress. Pence had said the US was open to talking but that "no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward democratisation." President Moon had been hoping for talks between North Korea and US to ensure peace not just in the Korean peninsula but the world over. There had been far too many threats ever since the new President had taken over in Washington. Then came odd moments when boasts emanated from the Oval Office that the President could call up his North Korean counterpart "anytime". To put matters in perspective, the talks have not come off. If they had, everything would not worked out straightaway but a beginning in the right direction would have been made. True, the offer for talks came rather late in the day but it ought to have been seized upon to take it forward. In not doing so, a chance has been lost for the present and President Moon's apprehensions and worries will have been compounded. But that North Korea is serious about coming to terms with peace must manifest in its efforts to stop its experiments with nuclear weapons and letting out pointless threats. The US must also act with maturity and understanding.

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