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Inter-Korean Vice-Ministerial Talks Planned

Posted May. 15, 2005 23:12,   


At 10:30 a.m. on both May 16 and 17, South and North Korea will hold vice-ministerial talks at the Janamsan Hotel in Gaeseong, North Korea. The talks will discuss ways to enhance inter-Korean relations, resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, and provide the North with fertilizer.

This round of vice-ministerial talks is being held 10 months after negotiations between the two Koreas came to a halt last July, when the South Korean government banned its citizens from attending the 10th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung’s death, and a large group of North Korean defectors arrived in the South. The meeting is drawing huge attention as it coincides with an escalated sense of emergency in the North Korean nuclear crisis.

On the agenda of the talks are resuming Red Cross negotiations for the reunion of dispersed families, which have been suspended since last July, and offering fertilizer to North Korea by land through the Gyeongeuiseon railroad.

In a press briefing for domestic and foreign reporters on May 14 at the Central Government Complex in Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Vice Minister of Unification Lee Bong-jo announced, “[On May 14], Chief Representative Kwon Ho Ung, the head of the North Korean delegation to the inter-Korean ministerial talks, sent a telephone message to Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, his South Korean counterpart, to make a suggestion that the two Koreas have cabinet-level talks in Gaeseong between May 16 and 17.”

Minister Chung explained in a press conference-luncheon on May 15 that he had “sent official letters three times since last December to the North’s chief policymaking official in charge of inter-Korean relations,” adding that “the meeting became possible after North Korea agreed last week on South Korea’s suggestion to hold vice-ministerial talks between May 16 and 17.”

Kang-Myoung Chang taewon_ha@donga.com tesomiom@donga.com