South Africa’s upcoming presidential inauguration could prove to be the scene of an improvement in relations between the two Koreas. Senior officials of both North and South Korea will be attending the inauguration.
Africasia news reports Hong Joon-Pyo; leader of South Korea’s Grand National Party is hoping to meet the President of North Korea’s Praesidium, Kim Yong Nam at the inauguration to be held in the capital, Pretoria, this weekend.. Hong said:
I hope that will become a turning point in Inter-Korean relations.
Both men are senior politicians in their respective countries, with Kim being the de facto head of state of North Korea; such a breakthrough would be of historical importance. Since South Africans surprised the world by forging a democratic constitution and nation through negotiations rather than war, the country has been involved in peace negotiations in Africa, such as those which led to the end of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1999.
Ties between the two Koreas have cooled since last year. The worsening of relations is linked to North Korea’s nuclear testing and an incident in which a South Korean citizen was detained at a joint industrial estate just north of the border at Kaesong.
The two countries are still technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict.