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Crucial week ahead for inter-Korean relations Updated: 2014-04-14 21:59:24 KST

 Crucial week ahead for inter-Korean relations
April has historically been a month of provocations for North Korea.
It was in April that the communist regime conducted two of its five long-range ballistic missile launches and unilaterally closed down the inter-Korean factory zone in the North.
The month has a number of politically significant events, and provocations are one way for the North Korean leader to demonstrate his strength in power for regime consolidation.
If history repeats itself, this week could turn out to be a crucial one in inter-Korean relations.
Tuesday marks the birthday of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung and on Friday, the joint military drills between Seoul and Washington will come to an end.
North Korea's notification to Japan of possible missile launches by Thursday is also raising concerns.
This comes amid back-to-back meetings between Seoul, Washington, Beijing and Tokyo as they try to jumpstart the long-stalled six-party talks.
The multilateral dialogue, consisting of the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia has not taken place since late 2008.
Some experts say the North could back away from further provocations, and instead, return to the negotiating table.

"There's a chance North Korea could give up its nuclear tests, if the six-party talks on denuclearizing the North resume. Pyongyang could make a gesture to improve inter-Korean ties first."

Still, most experts warn of another round of provocations by Pyongyang ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Seoul and Tokyo at the end of this month.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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