By Anthony Silva |Staff Writer|
North Korea has taken steps toward ending its nuclear weapons program, making a peaceful reunification with South Korea possible after decades of economic and civil unrest.
This comes after North Korean officials made a surprise visit to South Korea and the two sides agreed to resume high-level talks.
The agreement came during a meeting between Hwang Pyong-so, the top political officer of the Korean People’s Army, regarded as the second most powerful man in North Korea and Ryoo Kihl-jae, South Korea’s reunification minister.
In addition to the resuming talks, North Korea’s U.N. ambassador, So Se Pyong announced on Friday that the country was ready to discuss its nuclear weapons program as well.
According to an interview with Reuters, So stated that North Korea does not have any weapons testing planned for the future.
North Korea previously promised to cease its nuclear weapons program in 2005 but began conducting tests when negotiations broke down with the U.N. in 2008.
Business Insider reports that the U.S. government’s response to North Korea’s actions has been a cautious one.
In response to North Korea’s remarks about their nuclear program, Business Insider stated that the U.S. has asked that they “refrain from provocative acts.”
The talks come as an unexpected change of pace given that previous talks have been suspended since February of this year.
Relations between the two countries have been almost non-existent for years and the two sides have technically been at war since the Korean War ended in a truce in 1953.
According to a BBC report, it is unclear what was discussed at the meeting and neither party has made comments regarding the talks. However, there has been speculation from many regarding the reasons behind North Korea’s sudden desire for diplomacy.
BBC reports there have been rumors that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un has been in poor health.Jong-un has not been seen in public since Sept. 3 and recent news coverage from North Korea has shown him limping.
These rumors along with North Korea’s recent economic struggles have been seen as likely reasons behind the surprise talks.
“I think the North Korean leaders are seeing their government collapse around them, and now they may be trying to mend fences before it’s too late,” said Mark Turner, a psychology major.
Other students were not so optimistic when asked about North Korea’s intentions.
“They may be playing nice in order to get the U.S. off their back,” said Julian Ramirez, a health science major.
Oct.10 is a national holiday in North Korea as it marks the founding of their Communist party. North Korea’s leaders usually make public appearances to honor their government.
Many experts are expecting Kim Jong-un to make an appearance and give a statement regarding any future talks with South Korea.