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South Korea Wants Evenly Distributed Joint Fishing Zones

South Korea Wants Evenly Distributed Joint Fishing Zones

Posted November. 28, 2007 03:08,   


South Korean Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo and North Korean Vice Marshal Kim Il Chol, minister of People’s Armed Forces, met in Pyongyang on Tuesday at the second inter-Korean defense ministerial talks to set up a joint fishing zone in the West Sea and discuss military confidence-building measures for economic cooperation.

The three-day talks are the first in seven years since the first ministerial talks held in September 2000 in Jeju, South Korea. The meeting continues through Thursday.

The delegations of the two parties exchanged their views on creating a joint fishing area, connecting the railways of the two Koreas, and repatriating South Korean POWs abducted by North Korean agents at the first day of the meeting.

Both sides acknowledged their differences in setting up a joint fishing zone, their main agenda item for the day. South Korea proposed that the zone should be evenly distributed based on the Northern Limit Line (NLL), and that a trial zone should be set up first.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry strongly argued that the fishing zone should be evenly divided by the NLL in terms of size and distance, but seemed to have taken a step back by accepting some of the arguments of the Ministry of Unification that the northern part of the area was too close to the North Korean shore, and that only the size of the area should be evenly distributed.

In response, the North suggested that the fishing zone be created south of the NLL, an area located between the NLL and the Maritime Military Boundary, an arbitrary boundary declared by the North Korean Navy after the maritime conflict in 1999.

The two parties decided to narrow their differences before adjourning for the day. The South Korean delegates attended a dinner hosted by the North.

South Korean delegation, led by Defense Minister Kim, departed Gimpo Airport at 10:10 a.m. and arrived at Sunan Airport, Pyongyang on a chartered Asiana plane and moved to the city center in cars provided by the North after passing several communist landmarks.

At the first round of talks in 2000, then-South Korean Chief Delegate Defense Minister Cho Sung-tae welcomed North Korean delegates at Jeju Airport, but this time, North Korean Delegate Lieutenant General Kim Yong Chol welcomed South Korean delegates.

The first meeting between the two chief delegates was friendly. When Vice Marshal Kim asked about the meeting place, Minister Kim responded that it was very nice.