Both North and South Korea on Monday agreed to begin reconnecting rail and road links, stating that joint on-site surveys of the South's Gyeongui and Donghae railway lines would begin in late October and early November, respectively. The move is one more step to improving bilateral relations between to two countries.
The agreement followed up on topics discussed between South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year during their third summit in September. Talks of reconnecting roads previously stalled in 2016 as a result of escalating tension on the peninsula.
Beal told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Tuesday that South Korea is in the driver's seat on the peninsula, but that it must be careful about how the US reacts to new developments in relations with the North.
"The railways and the roads is much more positive; it's returning Korea to the past before the United States divided the Korean Peninsula in 1945," the author of "Crisis in Korea: America, China and the Risk of War," told host Brian Becker.
"It's not what North Korea can do, it's what South Korea can do… South Korea is a place to watch. Very much depends on how much they can go forward despite US disapproval," he added.
While it's not likely that the United States will send its troops to the Blue House, the residence of the South Korean head of state, if it disapproves of how inter-Korean agreements continue to develop, Beal told Becker that American figures could tap into other options they've used in the past.
"What they can do is work with the South Korean military and South Korean conservative forces, and, if worst comes to worst, they could have a coup. And it's not the first time that Americans have organized a coup," Beal said.
"There's a very delicate balancing act that President Moon has to do between moving forward on all these necessary things… any movement has to take into account the pushback from Americans and those forces within South Korea," he continued.
"They have to be very cautious."
The latest development is in addition to news that troops from both sides of the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas would begin removing tens of thousands of landmines across the area. South Korea's Cheorwon County was also said to be undergoing demining procedures.