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UNC, North Korea agree on DMZ control

Posted November. 16, 2000 19:40,   


Administrative control over the demilitarized zone dividing South and North Korea and through which the cross-border Kyongui rail line will pass is to be handed over to the Southern side. An inter-Korean meeting of working-level military officials will be held in the near future to clinch the deal and work out details of the railroad reconnection and building of a parallel highway between Munsan and Kaesong. The agreement on transferring the administration to South Korea was reached at a meeting of chief secretaries of the United Nations Command and the (North Korean) People's Army at the Military Armistice Commission conference room Friday.

The resolve of the UNC to preserve the framework of the Korean truce agreement combined with North Korea's interest in possible economic gains from the restoration of the cross-border railway, which could lead to the construction of an industrial complex in Kaesong, apparently paved the way for the agreement. Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea sent a telephone message stating that it would accept the UNC¡¯s Nov. 6 proposal that the latter transfer administrative control, instead of jurisdiction, over the DMZ to South Korea.

Previously, in letters sent by the North Korean representative to the truce mission in Panmunjom Oct. 14 and 18, North Korea demanded that jurisdiction, not administration, over the DMZ be turned over to South Korea. Unless the question was resolved, North Korea would not attend preliminary talks on the dates for the working-level military officials meeting and a second round of inter-Korean defense ministers¡¯ talks, the letters said.