Following North Korea's overtures of reconciliation beginning in January, the regime has made several diplomatic moves to indicate it is willing to resume talks between the US and neighboring South Korea.
After sending a delegation of athletes and members of the ruling family to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, North Korea has made significant strides in thawing relations — though some political observers remain skeptical of the regime's motives.
Here are the latest developments between the US, South Korea, and North Korea:
During her trip to South Korea, Kim Yo Jong — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister — delivered a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The letter indicated a willingness to foster better relations between the Koreas. There was also an invitation to visit Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in Seoul, South Korea, February 10, 2018. (KCNA/via REUTERS)
Kim Yo Jong's trip to South Korea marked the first time since the Korean War that a ruling family member of the North Korean regime visited the country.
Kim Yo Jong attends the Switzerland vs Korea hockey match during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea, February 10, 2018 (REUTERS/Grigory Dukor)
North Korea then sent Kim Yong Chol, the country's vice chairman of the ruling Worker's Party Central Committee and the country's former intelligence chief, to South Korea for the Closing Ceremony at the Winter Olympics. Following Yo Jong's lead, Yong Chol also delivered a bombshell announcement: that North Korea was willing to hold diplomatic talks with the US.
Kim Yong Chol, right, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, watches the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, February 25, 2018. (Patrick Semansky/Reuters)
Source: Yonhap News
Meanwhile, the US imposed additional punitive measures against North Korea. The new restrictions were lauded as the "largest package of new sanctions" on the regime, which included targeting ships suspected of carrying banned weapons components to or from North Korea.
US Treasury images appear to show a ship-to-ship transfer with North Korea. (US Treasury)
Despite his heated rhetoric in public statements, US President Donald Trump has also teased the possibility of conducting talks with North Korea.
President Donald Trump meets with lawmakers in Washington D.C., February 28, 2018. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Source: The Associated Press
Meanwhile, the US State Department stressed that it would only entertain discussions with North Korea only if the regime commits to denuclearization.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington on August 9, 2017. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)
Source: US State Department
But the State Department experienced personnel shortages for key positions. The Trump administration decided not to nominate as ambassador to South Korea Victor Cha, a leading expert on the Korean Peninsula. The position has remained unfilled for over a year.
Victor Cha, the former director for Asian affairs for the National Security Council. (MIT Center for International Studies/YouTube)
Following his canceled nomination, Dr. Cha joined the MSNBC team as a Korean affairs analyst.
Joseph Yun, the point man on US-North Korean relations in the State Department, also resigned due to personal reasons.
US special representative for North Korea policy Joseph Yun arrives at a meeting with the media in Bangkok, Thailand, December 15, 2017. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)
After the Winter Olympics, South Korea sent an envoy of senior security officials to North Korea. The discussions appeared to bear fruit, as North Korea made several remarks indicating its willingness to soften its rhetoric.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chung Eui-yong, who leads the special delegation of South Korea's President, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 6, 2018. (KCNA)
South Korean officials said that North Korea expressed its "will" to denuclearize if its national security was guaranteed, and that it would halt its nuclear and missile tests during bilateral talks.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets a member of the special delegation of South Korea's President at a dinner in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 6, 2018. (KCNA)
Source: NK News
The two Koreas have also made plans to re-establish a hotline, and a landmark meeting between President Moon and Kim is set to take place in April — the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in 11 years.
South Korean soldiers stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom. (Thomson Reuters)
Despite the apparent progress on the Korean Peninsula, a South Korean government official said it was not possible to postpone its annual joint military drills with the US in April — an activity that frequently bristles the North.
A South Korean Surion helicopter fires flare shells during the South Korea-US joint military live-fire drills at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, August 28, 2015. (AP)
In response to the most recent developments, Trump said that he believes North Korea is "sincere," but noted that "they are sincere also because the sanctions."
President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)
The US also upped the ante against the North on Tuesday, March 6, announcing a new set of sanctions after the State Department determined North Korea used the chemical agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Nam — Kim Jong Un's half-brother — in 2017.
A still image from camera footage shows Kim Jong Nam talking to airport staff, after being accosted by a woman at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia on February 13, 2017. (FUJITV/via Reuters TV)
The South Korean envoy traveled to the US, where they briefed their counterparts on their discussions with North Korea.
White House chief of staff John Kelly, left, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster during a panel discussing UN reform before the 72nd UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 18, 2017. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
In a groundbreaking announcement, South Korean National Security adviser Chung Eui-yong said that Kim invited Trump for a meeting and that Trump had accepted. The meeting will be held "by May," according to Chung.
South Korean National Security adviser Chung Eui-yong gives a press briefing at the White House lawn. (CNN)
President Moon praised the outcome of the invitation and called the recent developments a "historic milestone which will contribute to achieving peace on the peninsula in the future."
South Korean President Moon Jae-in waves the national flag during a march to commemorate the 99th Independence Movement Day ceremony at Seodaemun Prison History Hall on March 1, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Jeon Heon-Kyun-Pool/Getty Images)
On March 22, Trump announced that national security adviser H.R. McMaster was stepping down. Trump nominated former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as his replacement.
Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 29, 2014. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Bolton's hawkish statements on North Korea have been viewed as troubling for many foreign policy experts.
On March 27, China announced that Kim made a trip to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The trip marked the first meeting between the two leaders, and the first time Kim met a world leader since he assumed power in 2011.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (AFP/Getty Images)
CIA director Mike Pompeo was revealed to have traveled to North Korea on April 1. Pompeo is believed to have met with Kim to discuss the upcoming summit between Kim and Trump.
CIA director Mike Pompeo was revealed to have traveled to North Korea on April 1. Pompeo is believed to have met with Kim to discuss the upcoming summit between Kim and Trump. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
On April 1, a 160-member art troupe from South Korea performed at Pyongyang for the first time since 2005.
Members of the South Korean pop-star group "Red Velvet" are seen after their performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 1, 2018. (AP)
Kim Jong Un and his wife also made a surprise appearance at the concert that included K-pop stars.
On April 15, South Korea unveiled promotional materials for the upcoming summits, including a website and the slogan: "Peace, a new start."
On April 15, South Korea unveiled promotional materials for the upcoming summits, including a website and the slogan: "Peace, a new start." (South Korea Inter-Korean Summit Preparatory Committee)
On April 20, North Korea's state-run news agency announced that the country would "stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles."
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Mu Islet, located in the southernmost part of the waters off the southwest front, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2017. (KCNA/ via REUTERS)
"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test," North Korea's news agency announced.