by Xinhua Writer Lu Rui
SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- As Seoul and Pyongyang are holding high-level talks on Tuesday at the truce village of Panmunjom, global expectations are starting to run high that their relations of an all-time low are now likely to have reached a turning point.
It is truly an encouraging signal that the inter-Korean relations, after nearly a decade of deterioration, began to show a silver line for detente. Both sides have exchanged gestures of goodwill since New Year's day, indicating a consensus that dialogue is the only way out of the dilemma on the peninsula.
In his New Year message, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un held out an olive branch showing his willingness to send participants to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea. Hence a bilateral agreement was reached to negotiate Olympics arrangements and the improvement of relations.
The two sides last sent high-level delegations for talks near Panmunjom more than two years ago. The north-south ties were at a low during the former administrations of President Lee Myung-bak and his successor Park Geun-hye.
If things go smoothly, it is likely that the DPRK athletes will play at PyeongChang in sync with the thawing of the icy inter-Korean ties. This is expected to build the foundation for seeking a peaceful settlement on the prickly nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
Over the past 20 years, the two Koreas have witnessed sporadic "good moments" of developing amicable relations, with a notable number of epoch-making accords signed, including the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and the Oct. 4 Joint Declaration.
However, there were also episodes when they fired off bellicose threats at each other, only to incite vicious cycles of hurt feelings and the turning away of a peaceful settlement on the nuclear issue on the peninsula.
However, history has shown that dialogues are, for the most part, a gateway leading to peace and prosperity while confrontation will only breed estrangement and misjudgment.
Still, obstacles and difficulties will remain hot on the heels of the Winter Olympics, as the peninsular issue is complex and deeply rooted. Leaderships of both sides will need to use tact and wisdom while taking political resolves to restore and push forward the healing of the damaged ties.
It is hoped, though still a bit early to predict, that a historic era for the bonding of both the North and South will soon arrive. What is pertinent now, is that all parties concerned, not only the Koreas, must seize the opportunity to contribute their due share to supporting and advancing the peace process on the peninsula.
As South Korean President Moon Jae-in has reiterated, no second war is allowed on the Korean Peninsula. It is time to bring north-south ties back onto track and take bold actions towards dialogues for the benefits of the nation, the region and the world.