Go to contents

NK proposes delay in signing DMZ regulations

Posted February. 12, 2001 21:11,   


North Korea notified the South on Sunday of its intention to postpone signing of the agreed joint regulations governing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a move that may delay the start of inter-Korean efforts to reconnect a cross-border railway and build an adjacent highway.

In the fifth round of working-level defense talks at Panmungak, on the northern side of the truce village of Panmunjom on Feb. 8, the two sides agreed that the DMZ joint management regulations agreement would be signed by their respective defense ministers on Feb. 12 and that they would exchange the signed instruments via Panmunjom on Feb. 14. But Pyongyang abruptly notified the South that it would not keep the schedule for "administrative reasons."

At the earlier fifth working-level talks, the North Korean side, taking issue with Seoul`s designation of North Korea as its primary enemy, warned that unless the South removes the designation, it would not comply with the agreements made in second round of talks. The abrupt change in North`s position came in a statement at the end of the Feb. 8 working-level defense session, sparking an argument between the two sides.

Speculation was thus raised that Pyongyang`s unilateral notification of the delay in exchanging signatures on the DMZ joint regulations was connected to the dispute over South`s designation of the North as its primary enemy.

A related government official said that Pyongyang may have intended to buy the time needed to guage the North Korea policy of United States president George W. Bush and establish its own policies on the new U.S. administration.