Verum had returned to the dorm room between classes to look for a book. She didn’t have much time so she was hurrying as fast as she could. She muttered, “Where did I keep it? Ugh, why can’t I find it?”

Her crystal ball began spinning and humming. Verum said, “Huh, I can’t find my book. Might as well check out some news! Hit me with it, crystal ball!”

“Oh, the news is that North Korea has reopened communication lines with South Korea. It’s a conditional olive branch from North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un,” said Verum, “Of course, that is an important step given their history.”

“What history?” said Felix.

Verum nearly jumped out of her skin. She thought she was alone in the room. She said, “Where did you come from, Felix? You certainly gave me a fright!”

“I came over to check on you,” replied Felix, “Verum, please tell me the news!”

“Of course,” replied Verum, “We have three countries involved in this piece of history. Japan, South Korea, and North Korea. Japan had colonized Korea from 1905 to 1945. At that time, Korea was one nation. In 1948, Korea was officially divided into North and South Korea. North Korea became communist, meaning the government owns the land, factories, and machinery. South Korea leaned towards capitalism in which citizens, not governments, own lands and factories. Later, a war broke out between the now-divided two Korean countries. The US supported South Korea and its allies while the Soviet Union and later, China supported North Korea.”

“The war didn’t resolve the issue. And the two countries remained divided,” added Verum, “Even today, there is tension between the two.”

“Is that why the communication lines were broken in the first place?” said Felix.

“Sort of. You see, communication lines have been severed and reopened several times,” said Verum, “They were cut in August this year because North Korea was protesting the jointly-held South Korea-US military drills.”

“And why does North Korea want to reopen the lines now?” said Felix.

“Well, South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke about officially ending the Korean War at the United Nations General Assembly. This went well with the North,” replied Verum, “Along with this, the North Korean economy is in a bad state, worsened by pandemic border closures. Also, Kim wants relief from the US sanctions (punishments for disobeying a law or a rule).”

“Oh, it makes sense,” said Felix.