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North and South in Odds over Ways to Forestall Naval Clashes

North and South in Odds over Ways to Forestall Naval Clashes

Posted June. 03, 2004 21:08,   


Although the two Koreas started the second round of general-level military talks in the Mt. Sorak National Park, Sokcho, Gangwon Province on June 3, they failed to reach a solution to forestall naval clashes in the Yellow Sea as late as early evening.

The South’s delegates, led by the assistant operational director, Navy Commodore Park Jung-hwa, reiterated the proposals they made during the first round: installment of a direct hot line between the Yellow Sea fleet commands of the two Koreas; introduction of a joint radio frequency; introduction of joint visual signals such as one using banners; and exchange of information regarding illegal fisheries. The South proposed to reach an agreement before the crab season of May and June is over and work on the agreement starting July 15.

However, the North’s delegates, led by the operational director of the People’s Forces, Commodore An Ik-san, rejected the South’s proposals and counter-proposed as follows: removal of the South’s propaganda broadcasting equipments on the DMZ; an immediate suspension of the South’s propaganda activities; and establishment of a new sea demarcation line that replaces the Northern Limit Line.

However, the North agreed in principle to what prompted military talks: a naval clash in the Yellow Sea must not repeat.

With the talks in a stalemate, whether or not a third round will take place has become unclear.

“The North’s delegate initially has planned to return to the North by the way of the DMZ at 5 p.m.,” Moon Seong-mook, one of the South’s delegate who is an army major serving as negotiations coordinator at the defense department. “Since the talks should be wrapped up today, both parties continue negotiations, delaying their schedules.”

Ho-won Choi bestiger@donga.com