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“Resume Unconditional South-North Dialogue“

Posted January. 10, 2002 09:26,   


The government reportedly plans to propose `unconditional` South-North dialogue to North Korea within this month.

The government is likely to propose the 2nd cooperation promotion meeting, in which the 4th exchange visit of separated families, for which North Korea already held a lottery, and economic cooperation like providing rice will be discussed, to make it easy to resume the dialogue between South and North authorities.

A government authority said, "Considering that the South is about to host the World Cup and hold the presidential election, and the North will celebrate the 90th birthday of chairman Kim Il-Sung, there isn`t enough time. We will decide the specific time to resume the dialogue between authorities after seeing the combination meeting of the party and social bodies of North Korea which is expected to be held by next week at the latest."

He added, "North Korea, too, requires the resumption of dialogue in order to attract tourists from South Korea for the `Arirang Festival, which is to be held at 5-1 Stadium in Pyongyang for 2 months from April. It is desirable to resume the dialogue before the 61st birthday (February 16th) of Kim Jung-Il, the North Korea`s National Defense Commission Chairman."

The government will examine the direction of the diplomatic and national security policy and the policy toward North Korea including the resumption of South-North dialogue through the National Security Council, presided by President Kim Dae-Jung on the 10th.

After the economic cooperation promotion meeting and exchange visit of separated families have proceeded smoothly before April, the government will push ahead the policy toward North Korea in the sequence of: civil interchange → ministerial conference → interlinking of the Kyongeui Railroad line.

According to an attendant at the governmental consultation session on defense and diplomacy at the Cheong Wa Dae on the 8th, President Kim Dae-Jung showed interest in linking the Kyongeui line by saying, "Interlinking the Kyongeui line will be helpful for economic development by relaxing tensions between South and North and boosting international confidence. "

Hong Soon-Young, Minister of Unification, had lunch with Lee Kang-Too, newly appointed chairperson of Policy Committee of the Grand National Party, on the 9th, and asked for the opposition party`s support for the government`s North Korea policy.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com