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N.K. Refuses to Let S. Korean Investigators in

Posted July. 25, 2008 08:53,   


▽ Seoul calls on Pyongyang to permit its investigation team’s visit

During a meeting in the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF) on Thursday, South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan urged North Korea to allow Seoul’s investigation team to visit the communist regime so that they can carry out a thorough investigation into the recent shooting of a tourist at Mount Geumgang and find ways to prevent such accidents from recurring.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Yong-joon, Yu expressed his opinion that the case should be immediately solved through close inter-Korean consultations.

“On Minister Yu’s suggestion, many other participating ministers also agreed that the case should be peacefully resolved through consultations between the two Koreas,” said Lee.

According to sources, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed her concerns about the shooting accident on board a plane flying to Australia and New Zealand on Thursday night.

▽ “Advent of a S. Korean government that denies the June 15 and October 4 joint declarations”

Sources say that North Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Eui Chun denounced the Lee Myung-bak administration during the meeting, while trying to avoid mentioning the details of the incident. He said that it is just an issue between the two Koreas.

According to a diplomatic source, Park said that a considerable progress has been made over the security issues related to Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula, as witnessed from the 2007 Inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s recent submission of a nuclear report and the resumption of dialogue between North Korea and Japan. However, Park criticized the South, arguing that it has taken military actions that pose threats to the North and conducted large-scale multilateral military drills in an attempt to seek a preemptive strike with nuclear weapons.

“The advent of an administration that denies the June 15 and October 4 joint statements is threatening the peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Park was quoted as saying by the source.

When asked about the incident at Mount Geumgang, Lee Dong Il, spokesman of the North’s nuclear delegation, also avoided answering by saying, “This is a matter that should be dealt between the two Koreas, rather than by the Foreign Ministry.”

▽ N. Korea’s denuclearization discussed as a key issue

During the meeting, pending issues on the North’s nuclear disarmament and denuclearization verification process were also discussed as one of the main agendas.

Foreign ministers participating in the forum assessed the recent progress made in the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs and expressed their expectations for a sustainable development in the six-party process in establishing peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

“Since the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak administration, South Korea and Japan have reached an agreement that opens a new era for bilateral relations,” Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura was quoted as saying.

▽ Differences over denuclearization verification

North Korea and the United Stated still could not narrow down their differences over the establishment of the verification mechanism on the content of the communist country’s declaration of nuclear programs. The U.S. side argued that the verification mechanism should be established and verification activities should commence before August 11, when the North will be removed from the list of terrorism sponsoring states. However, the North refrained from mentioning the verification system, reiterating its original stance, saying, “All participating countries are subject to verification.”

Rice met with Park after the informal six-party talks of foreign ministers held in Singapore on Wednesday and reached an agreement on how to verify the content of Pyongyang’s declaration and urged him to follow the agreement.

According to sources, Rice also said that the United States may not remove the North from the list of terrorism sponsoring countries by the promised deadline if the verification on the content of its declaration of nuclear programs cannot be guaranteed. On the meeting with Park, Rice commented that though it was highly useful, there was nothing surprising about it.

However, Park stressed that verification on the content of Pyongyang’s nuclear report is not mandatory and that the North will do its part voluntarily on behalf of other parties’ concerns.

“We are not the one subject to verification. The question is monitoring and verifying how thoroughly all the six parties are following their own responsibilities,” said Lee Dong Il. The North claims that the verification of nuclear weapons must be made not only in the North, but also in the South, in accordance to the Sept. 11 joint statement on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.