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Expert hails Koreas’ Olympics deal as political breakthrough

January 22, 2018, 14:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Tthe resumption of the dialogue is certainly a political breakthrough

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© AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The success of the negotiations between North and South Korea on taking part in the Olympic Games demonstrates the parties’ willingness to keep up dialogue, said Alexander Zhebin, Director of the Center for Korean Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

"What happened between North and South [Korea], the resumption of the dialogue is certainly a political breakthrough in relations between the two countries. It reflects, above all, the desire of North and South Korea to avoid a new war on the peninsula," he said.

"The Olympics became a very timely and convenient pretext to meet each other halfway, particularly for South Korea, which would not look back on its senior overseas partner," the expert went on to say. "All signs indicated that the disaster on the Korean Peninsula was imminent. The Olympic Games and these talks made it possible for the North and South to move away from the looming threat."

According to the expert, this is confirmed by the fact how quick and successful those negotiations were. "There were cases in history when North Korea attempted to take part in the Olympics Games and other major competitions. Some of them were successful, others were not, but the talks could last for months, while here all issues were resolved within slightly more than 10 days, and we can see that everything is developing according to plans," he explained.

"I believe the political meaning of this development reflects the North’s and South’s desire to avoid being saddled with a national disaster again," Zhebin added.

"One can only hope the Koreans follow this path. In a best-case scenario, they would return to a situation that existed in the 2000s when there were the presidents’ summits and ministers’ meetings, the work of the joint economic committee and relatives’ exchanges. If they return to this level of dialogue at least to a certain extent, the situation would improve substantially, and the threat of war would be put off," the expert concluded.

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