Looking back at the diplomatic turmoil surrounding the test, I don't think anyone could have predicted that exactly one year later the Korean Peninsula would be facing its most dramatic chance for peace and reconciliation in a generation.
Following agreements made in the "Six Party Talks" (the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, China, and Japan) in February, North Korea has closed its only operating nuclear reactor and is preparing a complete list of nuclear facilities for international inspectors.
The United States and North Korea are even on a path to normal diplomatic relations. And the United States is set to drop North Korea from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism and assemble a $300 million aid package.
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun made a very rare visit to North Korea last week to meet with President Kim Jong-il and the two leaders announced a flurry of agreements including a pledge to formally end the Korean War (in armistice since 1953), new economic cooperation, and direct transportation links.
In a sign of true cultural warming, the New York Philharmonic is in the early stages of planning a concert in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, next year.
The diplomatic breakthroughs have been coming so fast and furiously with North Korea that television comedian Stephen Colbert is worried. He said, "There is a real danger that this triumph of diplomacy could make people think diplomacy can triumph." The U.N. Dispatch blog has details and the video.
- A Profile of the US-North Korean Relationship
- A Timeline of U.S.-North Korean Relations
- Crisis Guide to the Korean Peninsula, from the Council on Foreign Relations
- Kim Jong Il: I'm an Internet Expert, from the Washington Post
- Stephen Colbert on North Korea and Diplomacy
- North, South Korea Pledge Peace, Prosperity, from Reuters
Korean Leaders Entertained as North Pledges to Disable Nuclear Weapons, from The Independent
- New York Philharmonic May Visit North Korea, from the Associated Press