The U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis met with South Korea’s foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, recently. The two discussed the ongoing changes in North Korea that have taken much of the world by surprise, outlined in the Panmunjeom Declaration. They talked about the efforts toward denuclearization, and of the upcoming June 12 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. They both reaffirmed their hopes toward moving forward in peace and diplomacy — Secretary of Defense Mattis even stated the U.S.’s commitment to helping defend the Republic of Korea, so long as diplomacy continues in its current vein.

Less than a month ago, Secretary Mattis met with Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo of South Korea under similar circumstances to discuss similar things.

On June 12, President Donald Trump will travel to the southeast Asian city-state, island country Singapore. There he will meet face-to-face with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, and the two of them will discuss the two countries’ futures.

Preceding this historic summit, North Korea has announced that it will be dismantling its nuclear test site.

“If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity for the North Korean people,” said U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and this seems to be the philosophy taken by many U.S. officials as they move forward on this new, unexpected path with North Korea.

Later, Pompeo said that,

We had good conversations about the histories of our two nations, the challenges that we have had between us … We talked about the fact that America has often in history had adversaries who we are now close partners with and our hope that we could achieve the same with respect to North Korea.”

Denuclearization is just one of many olive branches offered by North Korea in recent weeks. Three Americans who had been held prisoner by the dictatorship have recently been released — Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim were met by President Trump upon their return to the United States by way of Andrews Air Force Base.

“At 2 o’clock in the morning, I had the incredible honor of greeting three brave Americans who had been held in North Korea, and we welcomed them back home the proper way,” President Trump said later to a crowd in Indiana.

As the president continues to navigate the path set before him in regards to the negotiations with the DPRK, others like Secretary Mattis are paving the way for a future of peace and diplomacy.

Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.

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