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S-N defense mins. agree to set up working panel to restore railway

S-N defense mins. agree to set up working panel to restore railway

Posted September. 25, 2000 19:38,   


South and North Korea agreed Monday to militarily guarantee the implementation of the June 15 inter-Korean Summit Declaration and to set up a working-level military commission to discuss matters related to the re-connection of the Gyeongui (Seoul-Sinuiju) Railway and the construction of an adjacent highway between Munsan and Gaeseong. The accords were reached at the inter-Korean defense ministers' talks held at Lotte Hotel on Jeju Island Monday morning between Defense Minister Cho Seong-Tae and the North's minister of the People's Armed Forces Kim Il-Chol, the chief delegates of the two sides. The South-North Korean military talks were the first of their kind since the national division in 1945.

The South Korean side proposed that the two Koreas lay a positive foundation for the elimination of confrontation and division with the following overtures: the establishment of a working-level military commission to bolster the efforts to link the cross-border railway and build the adjacent highway, the installation of a military hotline, mutual notification of large-scale troop movements and military exercises and observation of military drills. Seoul also proposed that the two sides hold a second round of defense ministers' talks in the North at the earliest possible date.

Responding to these propositions, the Pyongyang side suggested that the inter-Korean summit declaration be backed up by the military and consented to Seoul's proposal for the establishment of a working-level military commission. The North Korean side also said that it would consider the South's request for the defense talks to be regularized. The two sides had informal contacts in the evening and discussed matters of mutual concern, focusing on the regularization of the defense ministers' meeting, and reached a broad consensus on some affairs. The Koreas will hold another round of defense talks Tuesday morning and issue a joint statement on the result of their two-day meeting. Meanwhile, Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Il-Young told reporters that the Seoul side did not raise the sensitive issue of South Korean prisoners of war and abducted South Koreans held in the North.