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PacNet #23 – The Korean Peninsula: Restoring the Peace Momentum

Stop blowing up the balloons. Put away the ribbons and confetti. There is unlikely to be any major celebrations as we mark the first anniversary of the historic June 13-15, 2000 summit meeting in Pyongyang between ROK President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-il. In the past 12 months, relations between North and South Korea have been like a roller coaster ride, first climbing to new heights and then experiencing a series of wild twists and turns and ups and downs. The security environment on the Korean Peninsula has gone from a seemingly hopeless stalemate to one with the best real promise of peace and stability since the end of the Korean War to its current state of near suspended animation — the current condition caused by the suspension by Pyongyang of North-South high-level dialogue and the failure of Kim Jong-il to make his promised reciprocal visit to Seoul.