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[Focus] Inter-Korean relationship face review

Posted December. 05, 2000 13:22,   


The inter-Korean relationship, which was on the fast track since the June inter-Korean Summit, now faces the year-end national review of the various pursuits and success in the improvement of the relationship.

The government plans to comprehensively review at the inter-Korean ministerial-level talks slated for Dec. 12-15 of the various issues left pending during the previous meetings, and discuss further cooperation in the coming year.

Of the various agreements that have failed to produce tangible results are the exchange visits of economic inspection teams and the Mount Halla tourism visitation, the second meeting of the ministers of national defense, the third separated family reunions, the communication exchange to confirm the whereabouts of the surviving members of the separated families and the visit to Seoul by the highest-ranking official of the People's Commission, Kim Young-Nam.

"At the fourth ministerial-level talks, a review of the various successes this year will be made and agreements made for next," a source at the Ministry of Unification said. "However, we will make all effort to carry through the negotiations for humanist causes such as the Red Cross talks this year if possible."

His remark follows the revelation by the North Korean head delegate for the Red Cross talks, Choi Seung-Chol, who remarked during the second family reunions that the postponement of any further reunions might be necessary. According to the North Korean head delegate, the third Red Cross talks (Dec. 13-15) overlaps with the ministerial-level talks and the fact that the winter in the peninsula might prove too cold for such family reunions.

At the ministerial-level talks, the South plans to strongly urge the implementation of the agreements to facilitate the separated family reunions and to hammer out certain shortcomings revealed during the previous two exchange visits.

The South also plans to raise the issue of the confinement of the Chosun Ilbo photojournalist, the unexplained delays in schedules, and the political advertisements at the reunion venue. The government proposes to eradicate the rising accusation that the South has got the short end of the stick and to prevent further discontent in the South arising from the North's peculiar behavior.

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com