Former U.S. ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens spoke on the "PBS News Hour" about the first high-level talks between North Korea and South Korea in more than two years. The two nations agreed to hold future military talks aimed at easing border tensions and the North pledged to send a delegation to the Olympic Games next month.
Stephens called it a good first step and an “all-too-rare positive development” on the peninsula. The decrease in potential for disruptions to next month’s games could—according to Stephens-be seen as the first deliverable by South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-In, on a promise to reengage with the North.
Ambassador Stephens said it was not surprising that denuclearization did not come up during Tuesday’s talks, noting North Korea’s position that the issue is one to be dealt with the United States. Ambassador Stephens speculated that once the Olympics closed, the peninsula might experience a period of reduced tensions along with confidence building. However, she believes that come the spring there would still remain important questions about military exercises as well as nuclear weapons.
Asked about news reports of discussions within the Trump administration on the possibility of targeted strikes against North Korean military sites, Ambassador Stephens described it as a very risky strategy, adding that the discussions alone could prove unnerving in South Korea as well as North Korea.
The full interview is available on PBS.