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South-North Came Close to Negotiate on 4-5 Issues Including Land Route to Mt. Geumgang through Gyungi-line

South-North Came Close to Negotiate on 4-5 Issues Including Land Route to Mt. Geumgang through Gyungi-line

Posted September. 17, 2001 08:17,   


It was reported that the South and North came close to negotiate on 4 to 5 issues at the first meeting of the fifth ministers` talk. Issues included are to embark on the construction in the demilitarized zone to connect the Gyungi-line, to open the road for the land route trip to Mt. Geumgang, and to hold Red Cross talk to resolve the issues of separated families.

The two sides were reportedly to have confirmed the each position through the keynote address at the meeting held at the Olympia Hotel in Pyeongchang-dong, Jongno-ku, Seoul, yesterday, and to have come close to negotiate those issues through the intensive discussion.

The North suggested to discuss 9 issues at the keynote address. The 9 issues are as such; the connection of Gyungi-line; the connection between Gaesung and Moonsan highway; Gaesung Industrial Complex; measures to prevent floods in Yimjin River; electric power aids to North; joint use of East Sea fishery; exchange of Taekwondo; additional sending of long-term prisoners, who have not converted to the South, to the North; exchange of separated families and relatives.

The South urged the North to fulfill the agreed issues, such as the construction work for Gyungi-line connection, land route trip to Mt. Geumgang, and the resolution of the separated families. The South also expressed its stance on the construction of Gaesung Industrial Complex, measures to prevent floods at Yimjin River, and the effectuation of the South-North economic cooperation agreement. The South also expressed regret on the issue of the North Korean commercial ships` passing through the territorial sea of the South and the problems with the 8.15 Pyeongyang Festival.

However, it was reported that South and North did not make a progress on the issue of the North Korea`s National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il`s return visit to Seoul, and on the `anti-terror joint declaration`.

In relation to the return visit of chairman Kim, Lee Bong-Jo, unification policy chief of the Ministry of Unification, implied that this issue may be able to be discussed through different channels not through the ministers` talk, by saying that ``we will wait for the North`s response since there will be many talks and contacts with the North.``

While holding the second general meeting this morning and a meeting between the head delegation members, the South and North delegation plan to negotiate on the issue of writing the joint report.

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com