Go to contents

Discord persists over permanent meeting place

Posted January. 30, 2001 19:37,   


South and North Korean Red Cross delegations failed to reach agreement Tuesday on the issues of setting up a permanent meeting place for inter-Korean reunions and regularizing the reunion program. Their failure to come to an accord in a plenary session and exclusive meeting of chief delegates was blamed on North Korea's unwillingness to change its position.

In the talks, the South Korean side proposed that a permanent meeting site be established at the mid-point between the truce village of Panmunjom and Kaesong in the North after September's scheduled re-connection of the Kyongui (Seoul-Shinuiju) Railway. Until then, the Seoul side offered to install a temporary meeting place for elderly and infirm reunion participants in the border village and another at Mt. Kumgang for more able-bodied people.

The South Korean overture is a compromise between a previous proposal calling for the establishment of a Panmunjom meeting venue and North Korea's insistence on a Mt. Kumgang meeting point.

However, the North held fast to its position, contending that establishing a permanent meeting place at Mt. Kumgang would not pose an obstacle to meetings among elderly and infirm participants.

The South also proposed that the two Koreas discuss the issues of locating long-separated kin and exchanging correspondence, as agreed at the previous talks. But the North rejected the proposal, sticking to its stance that these new projects should be addressed only after implementation of the existing pilot projects.