It seems that the two Koreas ― especially the South ― are trying to break the years-long impasse in their bilateral relations.

The first sign of a possible thaw has come from the Unification Ministry in Seoul, which authorized a local civilian group’s plan to send 15 tons of fertilizer to North Korea. It is the first time in five years the Seoul government has approved a shipment of fertilizer aid.

The second development came from Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, who is discussing with North Korean officials a plan to visit Pyongyang next month, an event she had to delay from last winter due to health concerns.

These two developments almost coincide with the end of the annual South Korea-U.S. exercises, which the Pyongyang government usually accuses as preparations for war against the North and thus freezes inter-Korean contacts.

The fertilizer aid, which is part of a 200 million won ($186,000) package of supplies for a greenhouse project, was delivered Tuesday by a group of South Koreans who are members of a private foundation. They will be visiting Sariwon in North Hwanghae Province until Saturday.

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