After 65 Years Of Conflict In The Koreas, Is Peace Possible?
As an outcome of the Singapore summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un agreed to help return the remains of U.S. troops killed in the Korean War to American soil. Some of them could be coming home in the next few weeks.
Families of these soldiers have been waiting a long time for their loved ones to return. The Korean War took place between 1950-53. There are more than 7,700 American troops whose bodies are unaccounted for, according to Reuters. About 5,300 of those are lost in North Korea.
But the return deal could be complicated.
Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson told Reuters that Pyongyang was using the issue as “a bargaining chip.” He has experience negotiating with North Korea, and helped free seven Americans in 2007.
“They’re stalling,” he told Reuters. “I think in the end the North Koreans will turn over the majority of the remains that they have – but it will have a price. Not just a financial price.”
Also, satellite imagery shows that North Korea has started dismantling a missile-engine test site, a possible early step toward denuclearization. And South Korea is planning to relax defense resources along its border, seemingly in response to the recent overtures its northern neighbor has made.
As the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) approaches, we ask: Are we witnessing full cooperation from North Korea toward a more peaceable relationship with the rest of the world?
Produced by Jonquilyn Hill.
Robin Wright, Analyst and fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center; author of “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World”; contributing writer to The New Yorker; @wrightr
Naoko Aoki, Research Associate, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland; @naokoaoki
Noreen Loper, Sister, Airman James O’Meara, Jr.
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