Korea

Peace hopes rise among S. Koreans in wake of resumed talks with North

For the first time in a decade, South Koreans appear to wonder if their country will finally be at peace with North Korea.

Kim Ki-hoon, a 35-year-old office worker in Seoul, may be among many who hold guarded optimism on the heels of a fresh detente on the peninsula, which was forged by the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and led to agreements on the North’s summits with Seoul and Washington.

“There have been times when South-North Korea relations were bad and times when they were good, and they have almost always gotten worse over time. But I believe it might be different this time because this time it was chairman Kim (Jong-un) himself who said North Korea will denuclearize and that he will hold a summit with the United States,” he said.

A recent survey of 500 adult South Koreans by local pollster Realmeter showed 63 percent of respondents welcomed the recent change in North Korea’s attitude, while 45.7 percent said they did not trust the North’s willingness to denuclearize.

A possible change in the North’s attitude was highlighted last week when the North’s reclusive leader, Kim, met a group of five special envoys from South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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