The world's attention is on the two Koreas and their summit on Tuesday. This is their first meeting in two years. The talks will focus on North Korea's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea. There is hope that a rare meeting in the border village of Panmunjom will mark a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations.
South Koreans welcome talks with North Korean officials primarily as a signal that next month's Olympics will not be colored by North Korean missiles which flew over the Korean Peninsula.
Go Sung-Nam, a resident of Seoul, said, "Through sports diplomacy and South Korea's meeting with North Korea at the Pyeongchang Olympics, we can move one step further from the threat of war."
Tired of tensions over North Korea's frequent missile tests, many people in South Korea expect the talks to shift from sports to North Korea's nuclear program.
Kang Jong-Tae, another Seoul resident, puts it, "First of all, it's important to organize the Pyeongchang Olympics safely, but in my opinion, despite the difficult international situation, this talk will be a trigger to start talks on nuclear issues. "
North Korea is expected to allow a pair of ice-skating athletes to compete in the Olympics. A South Korean official said his country would also seek discussions on the resumption of reunions of separate families since the Korean War. About 60,000 South Koreans still hope to see their relatives in North Korea.
Kim Yong-Hyun of Dongguk University, South Korea, explains, "Most of the talks will be about the Pyeongchang Olympics, and the rest may be about aspects humanitarian aspirations, including separate family issues and helping children and pregnant women in North Korea. "
Speaking ahead of talks, a South Korean analyst says North Korea wants to show the international community that the country is not a troublemaker.
Kim Yong-Hyun of Dongguk University added, "By participating in the Olympics, North Korea wants to show itself as a normal country to the world and that Kim Jong-un is a normal leader."
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been waging a hostile statement with US President Donald Trump, so me micu worries about the possibility of nuclear war. China has repeatedly insisted on returning to dialogue.
Pope Francis on Monday called for an international ban on legally binding nuclear weapons and urged foreign diplomats to support any attempt to dialogue on the situation on the peninsula.  Analysts say North Korea is unlikely to stop its nuclear weapons in the near future. Trump has welcomed the inter-Korean meeting, but said he would not allow North Korea to possess nuclear weapons. [uh/ab]