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South Korea Attempting to Ease Tensions and Lower Risk from North Korea

May 21, 2019

North Korea: South Korea appears to be preparing to decrease some of the tensions with North Korea in an attempt to restore talks and lower the threat from the North.  Plans were announced this week to request permission to send businessmen from South Korea to the joint business park in Kaesong, North Korea. No members of the South Korean business delegation have been to Kaesong since the business park closed three years ago. Multiple requests were made, but the North refused permission.  The South Korean government has also announced that they will be moving ahead with two-year-old plans to provide $8 million USD in humanitarian aid to North Korea.  With sanctions continuing against North Korea and the U.S. enforcing those sanctions more forcefully, North Korea has been struggling financially, leading to financially based cyber-attacks out of North Korea.

Analyst Notes

While $8 million USD in humanitarian aid may not sound like much considering North Korea’s dire need for financial support and aid supplies, this is likely South Korea’s way of showing the North that they are willing to re-open talks. It is unlikely though that this small aid package will be enough to keep North Korea from continuing their interest in financially based attacks, although it may move South Korea down on the list of targets for North Korea, assuming the offer is well received.