According to news media in the region, South Korean diplomat Kang Kyung-wha spoke face-to-face last night with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, marking the first high-level contact since President Moon Jae-in took to power. The liberal politician has made it a clear priority to improve relations between the two countries, saying at the start of his presidency, "I will urgently try to solve the security crisis...If needed, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and, if the conditions are right, to Pyongyang also." The latest development occurred at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila.
As our infographic shows, Moon's sentiment would seem to also be matched by a large proportion of the South Korean public. In the latest of a series of annual surveys by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, 43.7 percent said that the North is a country they should work together with - an increase of 8.5 percentage points since 2015. The share seeing their northern neighbor as an enemy decreased in this time, from 16.5 percent to 14.8 percent.