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Cohen airs support for inter-Korean defense talks

Posted September. 21, 2000 21:25,   


U. S. Defense Secretary William Cohen has come up with a positive assessment on the development in Korea, following the June Inter-Korean Summit Declaration and expressed his support for the inter-Korean defense ministers' talks slated for on Sept. 25-26 on Jeju Island. At the 32nd Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) with his Korean counterpart Cho Seong-Tae at the Defense Ministry, Cohen expressed hope that the upcoming South-North defense talks would make a substantial progress in their negotiations such matters as military confidence building, the Defense Ministry disclosed Thursday.

In a joint press conference at the end of the SCM session, Cohen asserted that the two Koreas need to discuss measures for not only bilateral military confidence building but also U.S.-N.K. confidence building, to be followed by Pyongyang's favorable reactions from the Juju talks. Expressing hope that the four-party talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S. and China should be held in order to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula and establish a lasting peace mechanism. The two affirmed that until then, the present armistice system must be maintained. They also underlined that the joint defense system needs to be firmly maintained in order to bolster engagement policy with the North.