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S. Korea hopes for regular military talks

Posted September. 25, 2000 12:36,   


The military meetings between South Korean Defense Minister and North Korean minister of the People's Armed Forces, being held on Jeju Island Sept. 25 and 26 bear great significance.

This is because the fact that the top military leaders of South and North Korea are getting together is sure to boost momentum for inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation in the follow-up to the June 15 Inter-Korean Summit Declaration.

The North Korean side intends to restrict the ongoing inter-Korean military talks to military issues with regard to the restoration of the Geongui (Seoul-Sinuiju) Railways and the construction of an adjacent highway.

The North Korean delegation was not accompanied by news reporters and did not open a communication channel with Pyongyang. This gives the impression that the North has displayed somewhat less enthusiastic stance over the military talks.

On the other hand, the Seoul side plans to propose to set up a working-level military commission to discuss technical problems in connection with the projected reconnection of the cross-border railway and highway. The proposed inter-Korean military commission will be tasked for discussing the installation of a military hotline, discernment of the South and North Korean construction work forces and ways of removing landmines, and others.

However, the South plans to give as little burden to Pyongyang as possible, noting that the current military talks are the first of their kind. Seoul also hopes that the defense talks will be regularized by reaching an agreement to hold a second round in Pyongyang or elsewhere in the North in the near future.