Last week, I noted that South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the declaration of an end to the Korean War, saying it would pave the way for complete denuclearization.

There has been another interesting development between the two Koreas. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has issued a rare personal apology for the killing of a South Korean official.

President Moon Jae-in’s office said it received a letter from Kim in which he expressed “immense regret” over the “unexpected and unfortunate incident.”

It is unusual for North Korea to admit wrongdoing or express remorse toward South Korea, its archrival with which it remains technically at war.

A day earlier, South Korea condemned the North for its treatment of the fisheries official, who disappeared from a patrol boat near the disputed maritime frontier earlier this week in what authorities described as an ill-fated attempt to defect. The 47-year-old was killed by North Korean troops and his body burned, the Defense Ministry said, an act that Seoul labeled an “atrocity.”

Interestingly, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he’s ready to meet Kim Jong-un without any conditions in a move that may thaw relations between those two countries.

In his debut address to the UN General Assembly, Japan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that he was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “without any conditions”.

“Establishing constructive relations between Japan and North Korea will not only serve the interests of both sides but will also greatly contribute to regional peace and stability,” The Japan Times quoted Suga as saying in a recorded speech on Friday at the annual gathering of world leaders in New York.

“I will miss no opportunity to take actions with all my dedication,” he added.

There may be many reasons that North Korea may be more receptive to these moves. In addition to a likely coronavirus problem and ongoing food shortages, it looks like North Korea may be poised to denuclearize itself…accidentally.

A reservoir dam near North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex has been breached, a U.S. think tank has said, citing recent satellite imagery.

The reduced water level has left the two pump houses servicing the reactors “high and dry,” with the water level above the dam down significantly and the intake cisterns exposed, said 38 North, which specializes in North Korea.

“The inability to maintain a stable reservoir level … poses a potential problem for continuous reactor operations” if the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor is restarted or the Experimental Light Water Reactor is brought online, 38 North said, citing satellite imagery of Yongbyon complex on Sept. 21.

The complex is home to the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that was the source of weapons-grade plutonium for North Korea. Pyongyang can harvest one nuclear bomb worth of plutonium by reprocessing spent fuel rods from the reactor.

 

 
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