Author: Caroline Kearney
Published by: Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies (CPCS)
Publication date: January 2019
In January 2018, a remarkable transformation began to occur in the Korean Peninsula Conflict. The political dynamics between the DPRK, ROK and US began to shift from cycles of provocation to diplomatic engagement and cooperation. This improvement in relations became possible due to the manner in which domestic political events unfolded in each country over the past several years, paired with the strategic decisions made by the three national leaders to seize the opportunity. However, this is a unique window of opportunity which must be capitalised on immediately as it could expire as early as mid-2019.
The DPRK has taken several concrete measures to demonstrate their dedication to a negotiation process with the ROK and the US, therefore the onus currently lies on the US to participate in a reciprocal negotiation process by choosing to make equal concessions in kind. If not, stalemate will continue and the citizens and government leaderships of all three countries will lose patience and this exceptional opportunity will be forfeited. However, peaceful relations on the Korean Peninsula are too valuable to wait another 11 or more years for the next diplomatic opening.