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North Asks South to Abolish Restrictions on Sites for South Korean Visitors in North Korea

North Asks South to Abolish Restrictions on Sites for South Korean Visitors in North Korea

Posted December. 15, 2005 08:59,   


On December 14, two days into the opening of the 17th inter-Korean ministerial talks, North Korea demanded at a general meeting that South Korea end restrictions for the selection of sites South Korean figures can visit so that they can freely choose places to visit in North Korea.

In addition, North Korea requested the stoppage of all the joint military exercises conducted in South Korea, including the Korea-U.S. joint military drill titled Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL).

Deputy Director-General for Exchange and Cooperation Kim Cheon-sik, a spokesman for the Southern delegates, stated the above at a briefing and said, “The North seems dissatisfied at the South’s passive attitude while North Korean government and civilian delegates visited the National Cemetery during the 8.15 national unification festival.”

In his keynote speech, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, South Korea’s chief representative, requested North Korea to fulfill the joint declaration of the six-party talks to solve the North’s nuclear issue, hold the next round of six-party talks at the earliest possible time, hold the inter-Korean general-level meeting at an early stage and to make progress in discussing the confirmation and repatriation of South Korean soldiers taken prisoner by the North and those kidnapped to North Korea.

The two Koreas agreed to hold a unification ceremony for separated families from the two sides and Red Cross talks simultaneously at Mt. Geumgang next March. Regarding other issues, the two sides decided to discuss them further until the ministerial talks end on December 16.

Meanwhile, on December 13, Minister Chung was criticized by some netizens after the taegeukgi badge on Chung’s suit was upside down while he expressed friendliness by calling the North Korean delegates “brother” when he greeted them at the meeting place, the Lotte Hotel in Seogwipo City, Jeju Island.

Concerning the above matter, Chung’s side explained, “Chung wore the badge correctly in the first place, but because the badge had only one pin, it flipped upside down while Chung moved.”

Myoung-Gun Lee gun43@donga.com