North Korea Head of State to Visit South Korea

Highest Level Visit to South Since 2014

This week, North Korea will be making its highest level state visit to South Korea since 2014, as Kim Yong-nam, the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, is to lead a delegation of top officials to South Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics.

President Kim Yong-nam

Kim’s visit further underscores a dramatic improvement in relations on the Korean Peninsula over the past month, with very tentative meetings in the DMZ having already netted major participation for the Olympics, and now this major delegation.

That relations have improved that much that quickly is raising questions about whether it’s even possible this happened with no US involvement, or if it could be inferred that the US is engaged in its own behind-the-scenes talks with North Korea as well.

Publicly, the US isn’t admitting any such talks are ongoing, and indeed, they’ve made much of Vice President Mike Pence heading to South Korea for the Winter Olympics specifically to undercut North Korea. Whether that’s what he’s actually doing or not remains to be seen.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of