Tensions between North and South Korea appear to be thawing.
In fact, Seoul is reportedly thinking of doing away with its post-war truce with Pyongyang in order to negotiate for peace treaty just ahead of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
However, all of it depends on one thing: Pyongyang abandoning its contentious nuclear program.
The developments are historic, no doubt about that, but all of this has happened before.
The last time relations between the two Koreas got close to peace was in 2007 during a summit between President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.
However, nothing happened because North Korea refused to allow inspection of its nuclear facilities.
So, what happens when South and North Korea are no longer hostile to each other?
First, a little background: The 1953 Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. The truce included the creation of demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two countries. It is a de facto militarized border.
If a peace agreement is reached, the DMZ will become a border with no troops or weapons.
China might also have a problem with a peaceful Korean peninsula under Seoul's control. With the U.S. and Korean troops too close to its borders, and Pyongyang, a Chinese ally, getting cozy with South Korea, Beijing would have a lot of reasons to be anxious.
As far as the economy is concerned, the biggest beneficiary will most certainly be North Korea, citizens of which are struggling under a militarized economy. A 2015 report by think-tank the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy stated "unification holds vast economic potential, and a unified Korea could create an $8.7 trillion economy by 2055."
But all of that, of course, depends on how much Kim Jong Un is willing to compromise on his nuclear arsenal.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters