SEOUL — South Korea’s departing president, Moon Jae-in, exchanged farewell letters with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, each governments introduced on Friday, capping a checkered relationship stuffed with highs and lows and presently locked in a diplomatic stalemate.​

Mr. Moon, 69, who’s barred by legislation from looking for re-election, will step down on Could 10 after a single five-year time period. In his letter despatched Wednesday, he urged Mr. Kim to make use of “dialogue to beat the period of confrontation” on the divided Korean Peninsula, in response to Mr. Moon’s spokeswoman, Park Kyung-mee.

The South Korean president requested Mr. Kim to renew dialogue with the US to attempt to finish the cycle of tensions brought on by North Korea’s nuclear weapons growth and missile launches, which have led to worldwide sanctions.

“​There have been moments of remorse and recollections of overwhelming feelings,” Mr. Moon wrote within the letter of his relationship with Mr. Kim. “However I consider that holding our fingers collectively, we have now taken a certain step towards altering the destiny of the Korean Peninsula.”

Mr. Moon stated that he would quickly return to “life as an peculiar citizen​,” however that his coronary heart will likely be devoted to efforts​ to construct peace between the 2 Koreas.

Mr. Kim, 38, who will most certainly rule North Korea till his demise barring a coup or different compelled removing, and whose authorities has harshly criticized the South Korean authorities, had some heat parting phrases for Mr. Moon, however.

“Kim Jong-un appreciated the pains and energy taken by Moon Jae-in for the good reason for the nation till the final days of his time period of workplace,” the North’s official Korean Central Information Company reported on Friday, referring to the letter Mr. Kim despatched in response. “The change of the private letters between the highest leaders of the North and the South is an expression of their deep belief.”

The Koreas are nonetheless technically at conflict because the combating between the 2 sides resulted in 1953 not with a proper peace treaty however in a truce. When Mr. Moon took workplace in 2017, the Korean Peninsula regarded as if it have been edging towards a renewed conflict. North Korea examined a hydrogen bomb and launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. President Donald J. Trump threatened to rain “fire and fury”​ ​ on the North. The 2 leaders exchanged personal insults like “little Rocket Man” and “U.S. dotard.”

However Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim launched a uncommon détente once they met 3 times in 2018, hugging one another and vowing to construct peace and reconciliation on the peninsula. Mr. Moon usually known as for dialogue and enhancing inter-Korean relations. He noticed his political inventory rise when he mediated the unprecedented made-for-TV summit between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump in Singapore in 2018.

The leaders signed a doc during which Mr. Trump promised “safety ensures” for North Korea and Mr. Kim dedicated to “work towards full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Mr. Moon had his personal moments of glory, as properly: He stood within the Could Day Stadium in Pyongyang in 2018, changing into the primary South Korean chief to address a North Korean viewers. He and Mr. Kim raised their locked fingers atop Mount Paektu, which Koreans think about their nation’s sacred birthplace.

However the euphoria didn’t final lengthy.

The satan has at all times been within the particulars in the case of negotiating how one can implement any take care of North Korea. Mr. Moon’s painstaking work to mediate between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump began fraying after their second summit, held in Hanoi in 2019, collapsed with out the leaders finding out the small print on how one can perform the Singapore settlement.

Mr. Trump left workplace with out the removing of any North Korean nuclear warheads. Mr. Moon later said that Mr. Trump “beat across the bush and failed to tug it by means of.”

Since then, Mr. Kim has resumed a barrage of weapons checks, together with one involving an intercontinental ballistic missile final month. His authorities has vented its frustration at South Korea, calling Mr. Moon’s authorities “officious,” an “fool” and a “feared mongrel canine.” The North even blew up a joint inter-Korean liaison workplace that Mr. Moon had thought of certainly one of his key legacies.

In South Korea’s polarized society, Mr. Moon’s critics known as him a naïve pacifist who guess an excessive amount of on Mr. Kim’s unproven dedication to denuclearization. However Mr. Moon had die-hard supporters for his strategy. His approval rankings hovered round 44 % this month, an often excessive report for a departing South Korean chief, in response to surveys.

Even so, Mr. Moon’s trademark coverage of ​looking for dialogue and exchanges with North Korea is in jeopardy after the candidate of his liberal Democratic Get together misplaced the March 9 election by a razor-thin margin to Yoon Suk-yeol, who championed a extra hawkish stance on North Korea throughout the marketing campaign.

In his letter, Mr. Kim appeared to ship a vaguely worded message to Mr. Yoon, the incoming president of South Korea. Mr. Kim stated that “inter-Korean relations would enhance and develop as desired and anticipated by the nation if the north and the south make tireless efforts with hope,” the North Korean information company stated.

Mr. Yoon’s workplace didn’t instantly remark publicly on Mr. Kim’s remarks.

Through the marketing campaign, Mr. Yoon stated he was open to dialogue with North Korea. However like previous conservative South Korean leaders, he additionally emphasised the significance of imposing sanctions in opposition to the North as a instrument to strain North Korea to return to the negotiating desk.