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UNC delegates negotiation rights to ROK

Posted September. 27, 2000 19:59,   


The United Nations Command in Korea has delegated negotiation rights to the Korean Defense Ministry with regard to the removal of landmines planted in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the projects for the restoration of the Gyeongui Railway and the construction of an adjacent highway, it was learned Wednesday.

In a letter to Defense Minister Cho Seong-Tae on Sept. 23, UNC and USFK commander-in-chief Thomas Schwartz, expressing hope that the inter-Korean defense talks would be successful, said that he thinks it is proper for the Korean defense ministry to exercise rights in connection with landmine removal and cross-border railway and highway projects on behalf of the United Nations Command.

Earlier, in late August, Minister Cho sent a letter to Gen. Schwartz asking for the delegation of rights to negotiate with North Korea concerning entry into the DMZ of the vehicles and materials for implementation of the inter-Korean projects

Kim Il-Chol, North Korean minister of the People's Armed Forces, was also known to have asked the South Korean defense ministry to go through legal procedures for the cross-border projects, such as the UNC commander sending a letter to the North Korean minister regarding the UNC¡¯s delegation of the negotiating rights to the South in this regard.

Minister Cho has conveyed North Korean minister Kim's proposition to Gen. Schwartz and the USFK commander-in-chief and Schwartz is said to be considering Kim's offer.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Il-Young disclosed that Gen. Schwartz had sent a letter to the Defense Ministry expressing his intention to give the negotiating power to Minister Cho in connection with the inter-Korean projects, on the premise that the Defense Ministry and the UNC would maintain close consultations on the matter, adding that he was ready to cooperate with the ministry in similar affairs that take place in the future.

Hwang Yoo-Seong yshwang@donga.com