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No Progress on Nuclear, POW Repatriation Issues at South-North Ministerial Talks

No Progress on Nuclear, POW Repatriation Issues at South-North Ministerial Talks

Posted June. 24, 2005 05:54,   


On the third day of the 15th ministerial-level talks, South and North Korea agreed to hold reunions of separated families in person and through video and start construction work to set up a permanent meeting site on Mt. Geumgang.

The two Koreas published a joint report including the above agreement after having formal and informal representative meetings at the Sheraton Walker Hill hotel in Seoul this afternoon.

South Korea’s representative, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, and his North Korean counterpart, Chief Cabinet Counselor Kwon Ho Ung, announced a joint report on the talks at a press conference for the first time in the history of the ministerial-level meetings.

The report said that the two Koreas have agreed to create a consultation system under the South-North economic cooperation promotion committee for the purpose of strengthening cooperation in agricultural and aquatic sectors.

In order for this to happen, South and North Korea will resume the 10th inter-Korean economic cooperation promotion committee, which has been stalled since last June, in Seoul on July 5 for three days.

In addition, South Korea will provide 40,000 tons of rice as food aid at the request of the North. The specifics of the deal will be discussed during the committee’s session in July.

In addition, the two Koreas have come to an agreement that the North will send substantial figures to attend the events commemorating Sixtieth Anniversary of Liberation, and the third ministerial-level military talks between the two countries will be held at Mt.Baekdu in July.

But, whether to resume a sixth round of Red Cross talks on the subject of South Korean POWs and abductees from North Korea was not decided.

The North allegedly reiterated its existing stance that South Korean POWs and abductees from North Korea do not exist in response to South Korea’s suggestion to trade them for non-converted longtime prisoners in the South.

On the same day, the North Korean delegation visited Cheong Wa Dae accompanied by representative Chung and made a courtesy call on South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, before making a join announcement.

The North’s delegation will fly back to Pyongyang on June 24 over the West Sea from Incheon International Airport.

The next ministerial-level talks are scheduled to be held in Pyongyang for four days in September.