North Korea Agrees to Talks After US-South Korea Drills Postponed
Next Week's Talks Will Be First in Two Years
Breakthrough talks between the two Koreas are scheduled for Tuesday, the first time the two nations will engage in formal, direct talks in just over two years. The talks will seek general improvements in relations, and specifically the possibility of reaching a deal on North Korea participating in the Winter Olympics.
North Korea’s agreement to South Korea’s offer came after an agreement that the US and South Korea will be postponing any future military drills until March, after the Paralympics. This is seen as a significant concession from the north’s perspective.
US officials aren’t clear if they want the South Koreans to engage in such talks, and have been quick to insist that their decision to postpone the drills was purely a logistics move, and not intended to facilitate any talks.
South Korea’s President Moon has been very eager to engage diplomatically with the North since last year’s election, and it’s likely that he made efforts to ensure that such concessions on drills were made, whatever pretext the US wants to use.