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Inter-Korean Military Talks Planned

Posted February. 04, 2006 04:35,   


North and South Korean military authorities agreed Friday to hold a third round of general-level meetings for two days between the end of this month and early next month at Tongilgak, located on the northern side of the truce village of Panmunjeom.

The inter-Korean general-level meeting will be the first between the two Koreas since the second round of talks one year and nine months ago at Mt. Seorak. The Ministry of Defense announced that the two Koreas reached the agreement at a working-level meeting at Tongilgak earlier on Friday.

The working-level meeting was attended by delegations from the two Koreas led by Mun Seong-muk, a South Korean colonel and the head of the defense ministry’s North Korean policy department, and Park Gi Yong, a North Korean senior colonel.

The ministry explained that the upcoming meeting would focus on devising concrete plans to prevent accidental confrontations in the West Sea and creating a joint fishing ground there.

The ministry also plans to call on the North to resume the inter-Korean defense ministers’ meetings, which had been suspended for more than five years since the first meeting was held on Jeju Island in September 2000.

“The exact meeting date will be decided as early as possible via fax,” said Mun. “We were told by the North Korean representative that Tongilgak has been renovated in preparation for the upcoming meeting.”

The prevailing view is that Korea should not be optimistic about the results of the meeting. At the working-level meeting, the North remained passive about holding a military meeting. It began by proposing a meeting date at the end of March, and reluctantly agreed to an approximate date for a meeting only after the South advanced the date of the meeting and repeatedly requested the North nail down an exact date.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com