South Korean President Moon Jae-in headed for Washington Wednesday with the declared aim to revitalize talks between the United States and North Korea. Dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang has stalled after a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended abruptly in February because of the inability to reach a consensus.
Moon certainly did his job at home when it comes to furthering the cause. Meetings between the two Korean states intensified again in 2018 after a two-year hiatus. According to numbers by the South Korean Ministry of Unification
, 36 meetings took place between the North and the South in the previous year, most on political issues.
The most symbolic inter-Korean meeting of 2018 took place in April when Kim Jong-un stepped across the demarcation line
dividing the two Koreas, becoming the first North Korean leader to set in the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953. As Kim shook hands with his South Korean counterpart in the crisp spring air amid the flickering of cameras, he invited the South Korean president to briefly step into the north where both men shook hands again. Both leaders have vowed to "write a new chapter" in the troubled history of the Korean peninsula, and hopes are high that Tuesday's summit will result in steps towards denuclearization
and a greater chance of permanent peace between the two countries.
The summit in April marked the first meeting between Korean leaders in more than a decade. The last time was during the 2007 inter-Korean summit when President Roh Moo-hyun traveled to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong-il. Dialogue between the nations occurred more frequently prior to that summit as the following infographic shows. In its aftermath, however, the meeting count dropped off sharply in line with fiery rhetoric from the North Korean capital and there were none in 2012, 2016 and 2017.