Ahead of Friday's historic summit between the Koreas, many in the South say they've lowered hopes of ever getting back together. The key word was unification in past meetups in the year 2000 and 2007. It's a term that brings to mind the fall of the Berlin Wall. But officials in the South told Reuters they don't expect it to be a priority this week.
Instead, President Moon Jae-in is going to focus on denuclearization, and maybe a basic deal for formal peace. In South Korea polls show only 58% see reunifying as necessary, compare that to 70% in 2014. As Josh Smith reports, in the South one Korea seems more like a distant dream than it's ever been.
>> This has been in large part because of increased threats from North Korea, especially its development of its nuclear weapons. But there's also been generational shifts where you have fewer and fewer South Koreans who have any kind of personal ties to the North. More and more South Koreans tell us that they're more or less just wanna be left alone.
They don't wanna have to think about North Korea, they don't wanna have to fear North Korea. So rather than hoping for some kind of grand reunion with the North, they are more looking for just a resolution to the conflict that has defined so much of their history.>> Ask the young and booming Seoul, and they may say there's more to lose than gain by merging with a country stricken by poverty.
And in a speech last July, Moon made it clear he didn't want to unify by absorbing the North.>> South Korean officials here have gradually transformed the concept more into rather than one single event, they have begun to think of it more as a process where the two Koreas will engage in increasing exchanges and try to become closer over time.
Setting the stage for a possible, more closer relationship in the future.>> It's harder to know what North Korea thinks, but analysts say the number one obstacle to peaceful reunification is supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un, himself. They say he's unlikely to accept compromises. And the South probably won't take any deal that allows him meaningful control in a new Korea.