Algeria has hosted delegates from North Korea and South Korea as part of a thaw in relations between the two long-time enemies.
According to Middle East Eye reports, South Korea’s ambassador to Algeria, Park Sang-Jin, invited his North Korean counterpart Choi Hyuk Chul to his home in Algiers on May 1. No information on the meeting has been made public.
Algeria had already proposed a mediation last September when tensions between North Korean leader Kim Yong-un and US President Donald Trump raised fears of a military confrontation over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs.
The peninsula has had a period of relative calm since the beginning of the year. North Korea participated and sent a delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. In April, Kim Jong-un became the first leader of the Marxist state to visit South Korea since the de facto end of the Korean War in 1953. A peace treaty has never been signed.
The North has also taken diplomatic steps, including reaching South Korea’s time zone and submitting a proposal to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to open an air corridor to South Korea.
Cairo and Algiers are the only two Arab capitals to host a diplomatic representation of the two Koreas. The rapprochement between the two Koreas allows Algiers to capitalize on its old relations by becoming a hub for South Korean investments in the South MENA region. This would also open an export and investment market in North Korea.