From his retirement home in Seoul, Mr Ban Ki-moon, South Korea's elder statesman, is fully aware of the optimism seizing his land at the prospects of improved ties with the North, thanks to the two summits between the two in rapid succession and an unprecedented meeting in Singapore between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. His own president, Mr Moon Jae-in, has been enthusiastically promoting the peace effort, sometimes as a go-between for Chairman Kim Jong Un and Mr Donald Trump.
Yet, as he watches the developments on the Korean peninsula, the former United Nations secretary-general must be excused for feeling that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Most recently, these include US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's early July visit to Pyongyang. This week, President Trump said that while the talks with Pyongyang on denuclearisation are "going very, very well" there is no rush for speed and "we have no time limit".