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Thorny road to denuclearization

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By Tong Kim

In the past few days, there has been a significant development on the Korean Peninsula: an outcome of high-level inter-Korean talks on Jan. 9 that resulted in assuring the safety of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to begin next month and also opened a fresh window of opportunity to reduce tension and hold possible talks on denuclearization.

In the talks, North Korea announced it will send a large-scale delegation to the Olympics and agreed to work with the South to improve inter-Korean relations. The North restored a military line of communication with the South and agreed to resume military talks for reducing tension and preventing accidental conflicts along the DMZ.

However, the first challenge for military talks to confront will likely be the North side's unacceptable demand that the South end its joint exercises with U.S. forces, which have been temporarily postponed until after the Olympic Games. Moderation of the scale or rescheduling of the exercise may come up for discussion. In this context, it might be safer to put off military talks until after the Olympics as well.

In anticipation of the North's demands for lifting Seoul's "May 24 restrictions," reopening the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and........

© The Korea Times