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S-N defense ministers to meet in Hong Kong

Posted September. 15, 2000 21:57,   


An exchange of letters between the defense ministers of South Korea and North Korea led to an agreement on a first-ever meeting of the military leaders in Hong Kong on Sept.25-26.

According to Defense Ministry sources here on Sept. 15, Defense Minister Cho Sung-Tae and North Korean Minister of the People's Armed Forces Kim Il-Chol exchanged letters by way of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission at Panmunjom. Proposals on the date, place and agenda of the talks were contained in the correspondence.

In his letter dated Sept. 13 the North Korean defense chief reportedly expressed his acceptance of the South's offer for a defense ministers' conference to discuss military issues related to the relinking of the Shineuiju-Seoul railway and reconstruction of the Gaesong-Munsan highway across the border.

Kim suggested Beijing and Hong Kong as a possible venue of the ministerial talks.

On Sept. 14 Minister Cho sent a reply proposing that the two should meet in Hong Kong for two days, Sept. 25-26. Cho said topics could cover installation of a military hot line and mutual notification and observation of large-scale troop movements and military exercises, in addition to the restoration of cross-border rail and road links.

Defense Minister Cho and People's Armed Forces Minister Kim are expected to be chief delegates, each accompanied by five delegates and five assistants.