North Korea Holds First Diplomatic Talks in Years

by Abby Blasingame, Staff Writer

North Korea agreed to send a delegation of athletes, cheerleaders and journalists to the 2018 Winter Olympics on Jan. 9, following the first diplomatic talks with South Korea in over two years. In addition, the two countries agreed to march under one flag and send a combined women’s hockey team in what many herald as the most significant diplomatic gesture in years.

“I’m a bit skeptical of this notion that bringing people [to the Olympics] will automatically solve everything, considering [the United Nations] have increased sanctions and [done] things that hurt the [North Korean] government,”  senior Jonathan Lee said.

North Korea refused to discuss its nuclear and missile programs, claiming irrelevance as they are only aimed at the U.S.; however the two countries agreed to hold military discussions at an undecided point in the future.

“I think diplomatically they’re doing the right thing,”  sophomore Avi Pate said. “The main point is that, unless North Korea gets rid of the nuclear weapons, there will always be a threat towards South Korea and the United States.”

In sending North Korean athletes to the Winter Games, the U.S. agreed to halt military drills in South Korea, which North Korea views as preparation for invasion although the U.S. and South Korea claim they are defensive preparations.

“I think that [the United States] should keep conducting these drills so that North Korea knows the capabilities of the U.S. and that the U.S. is committed to helping their allies in South Korea,”  Patel said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In gave some credit for the diplomatic talks to Donald Trump for continually pressuring North Korea, a sentiment that Trump expressed himself on Twitter almost a week before along with his controversial nuclear button tweet.

“[The U.S. and North Korea are] definitely being loud about what they’re doing but it’s not really doing anything to address the situation,”  Martinez said. “If anything, it’s escalating it.”

These discussions come following a year of tense relations as North Korea’s missile program has developed rapidly and launched at least 23 missiles in 2017 alone, including an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile), which they claimed could reach anywhere in the world.

“At this point, most countries on our planet are capable of destroying the planet,”  senior and Young Democrats President Christopher Martinez said. “The only reason [the United States] special is because [they] can do it twelve times over.”