It's a surprise. Pyongyang and Seoul announced the restoration of their communication channels more than a year after their suspension. It is the demonstration of an improvement in relations between the two neighbors, while North Korea had unilaterally cut off all official channels of military and political communication in June 2020, after denouncing the sending on its territory of leaflets of anti-Pyongyang propaganda by southern-based activists. At that time, the inter-Korean discussions were at a standstill, two years after the three summits that brought together North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in 2018. This Tuesday, the two countries reported exchanges of letters between their leaders.
"In accordance with the agreement between the two most senior leaders, the North and the South have taken the step of operating all inter-Korean lines of communication again as of July 27, 10:00 am," reports the official North Korean agency. KCNA.
The two leaders have exchanged personal letters since April aimed at improving relations, the South Korean presidency said in a statement.
Succession of diplomatic failures
While South Korean President Moon was one of the main architects of the 2018 inter-Korean rapprochement, during the Pyeongchang Olympics, the inter-Korean process, and negotiations on the nuclear and ballistic programs of the North, have generally stalled since September. February 2019 Kim-Trump summit fiasco in Hanoi.
Since the inauguration of US President Joe Biden in January, Pyongyang and Washington have adopted a very cautious attitude, poles apart from the diplomacy of the Trump years, which oscillated between the exchange of insults and hugs in front of the media. of the whole world. In June, Kim Jong-Un had estimated that Pyongyang should both prepare "for dialogue and confrontation" with Washington, with particular emphasis on the possibility of "confrontation". The White House had promised for its part "a calibrated, practical, open to diplomacy" approach with North Korea, pleading for a "realistic" approach through diplomatic channels, in close consultation with South Korea and Japan.The US special representative for North Korea Sung Kim even offered in June to meet with envoys from Pyongyang "anywhere, anytime, without preconditions." Attempt rejected by Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong Un who had swept this proposal.
The start of a new dialogue?
This re-establishment of communications can be seen as a form of response from the North Korean leader to the American proposal for dialogue.
"This should be read as Kim Jong Un's first response in Seoul and Washington," analyzes Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies.
It is in any case the deep will of the South Korean President Moon Jae-in who has not ceased in recent years to underline the importance of intra Korean relations.