South Korea to Allow Civilian Contact With North in Diplomatic First Step

Group Will Be Allowed to Offer Anti-Malaria Help to North Korea

In what is likely a major first step for the new South Korean President’s talk of diplomatic overtures to the North, the Unification Ministry has announced that they are allowing limited civilian contact with North Korea for the first time in years.

The contact will be made by the Korean Sharing Movement, which now has permission to email the North Korean government regarding offers of anti-malaria help, including insecticides, mosquito repellent, and nets. If the contact goes well, they will attempt to get permission to send a convoy of anti-malaria items to North Korea.

That would be a huge step, if it happened, but is reflective of President Moon Jae-in’s talk of returning to the “Sunshine Policy” of old. The previous South Korean government was very hawkish on the north, openly talking about reunification by conquering the north, and was very strict on limiting any civilian ties.

So far there has been no reaction from the Trump Administration on the move, though Trump has somewhat resisted pushes for new diplomatic efforts with North Korea. Since this is a very narrow civilian effort, it will be difficult for the US to object too loudly to it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.