Open Forum

North Korea’s integration into the regional community has emerged as a key point of realignment in Sino-South Korean relations since the 2016-2017 fallout over US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).  Presidents Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in advanced Pyongyang’s diplomatic engagement by securing three meetings each with Kim Jong-un in 2018, complemented by a historic US-North Korea summit.  In Panmunjom, the two Korean leaders promised to push for “unification led by Koreans,” “eliminate the danger of war,” and “establish a permanent and solid peace regime.”1  Last month in Beijing, Xi and Kim pledged to “jointly advance the political settlement” of the peninsula issue in light of Pyongyang’s “new strategic line” on development.2  But while the Panmunjom Declaration projects new optimism on the peninsula, it also forces all sides to confront old dilemmas underlying the “Cold War relic of longstanding division.”    

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