The world was watching in April 2018 when the leaders of the two Koreas shook hands, declared a new era of peace and stepped across each border. That meeting happened at the joint security area of the Demilitarized Zone. It helps kick off a year of diplomacy that is now at a standstill. One year later, North Korea is returning to a more aggressive stance and turning its back on its neighbor to the South. That hasn’t stopped South Korea’s celebrating. More than 500 guests were invited to the very same spot on the DMZ with performers from South Korea, the US, China and Japan.
One country that didn’t participate: North Korea, making it an anniversary with only one side of the marriage celebrating. It’s quite a tricky time for the South Korean government. They wish to continue the talks, but North Korea isn’t paying them much attention. Things have taken a sharp downturn since nuclear talks with the United States broke down. At a newly established defective embassy, North Korea officials have skipped high-level meetings for nine consecutive weeks.
Kim Jong-un has not followed through on his promise to visit South Korea, and North Korean state media are now ramping up their criticism of the South. In a video statement at the anniversary event, Moon remained positive.
This is a new path, and we all must take it together. We need sometimes to wait for those moving slower to catch up. In the face of obstacles, sometimes we need to catch our breath for a while, and find the way together. South Korean officials say they notified the North about the anniversary celebration, but they never received a response. Instead, the North released a statement, accusing the US of getting in the way of North-South relations. Bill Gallo, VOA News, at the Panmunjom, border village.