Surprise: North, South Korea Have Rare Meeting

But Kim Jong Un doesn't make the trip
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2014 12:15 PM CDT
Surprise: North, South Korea Have Rare Meeting
Officials from North and South Korea sit together at the Asian Games.   (AP Photo/Yonhap, Bae Jae-man)

If Kim Jong Un's disappearance from the public arena in recent weeks wasn't strange enough, now factor this in: The No. 2 and No. 3 leaders of North Korea made a surprise visit today to South Korea, reports the Washington Post. Delegations from both nations held their first high-level talks in five years, and while no details were released, they agreed to another round later this month or in November, reports ABC News. Leading the North's delegation was Hwang Pyong So, who has risen this year to become the second most powerful person behind Kim.

“It’s a big deal, it's really a big deal, because it’s completely unprecedented,” a North Korea scholar who teaches in Seoul tells the Post. The BBC's Stephen Evans suspects that the North's economic troubles have forced the nation to ditch its old approach of hurling insults and threats at its neighbor. As for Kim, there's still no official explanation for his absence from public events, save for a documentary that showed him limping and referred to his "discomfort." Among the theories: Maybe gout or bum ankles. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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