Global ‘bad boy’ North Korea has, in the past two years, demonstrated an admirable drift towards rejoining the community of nations.
Though suspicion between the nuclear power state and the world’s only superpower, the US, still runs deep, Pyongyang must be commended for the overtures of giving dialogue a chance.
The formerly recluse North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has become quite the traveller and a willing host to strategic high profile guests.
Kim last April became the first North Korean leader to cross the military line that divides the Koreas since the end of the Korean War in 1953 to meet his southern counterpart Moon Jae-in and, in June, had his first meeting with President Donald Trump in Singapore.
Early this year, he travelled to China for a meeting with President Xi Jinping and on February 27-28, had another meeting with President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam.
His last week’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the port city of Vladivostok was the latest in the flush of summits, all aimed at easing Pyongyang’s isolation and mitigating the dangers of a spurned nuclear state.
On the first anniversary of his first meeting with Kim last week, President Moon pledged continued outreach to North Korea, saying the path to peace on the Korean Peninsula was irreversible.
It is unfortunate that the Vladivostok rendezvous has been whispered in some quarters as Putin pulling the rug from under the feet of Trump, especially after the latter’s Hanoi round of talks with Kim ended in a stalemate.
Like the German reunification that happened in 1990 following the collapse of communism, the current globalisation wave and the information explosion could just be the recipe for the merger of the Koreas and a prelude to a better cooperation with the rest of the world.
With no state overly isolated, the value derived from the arms race would diminish, allowing more room for states to confront the more pressing needs of humanity.