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Rumors Say Secret Inter-Korean Contacts Held in Kaesong

Posted September. 13, 2010 11:56,   


South and North Korea have reportedly held secret contacts to improve bilateral relations, which have stalled since the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan March 26.

Authorities from both sides have apparently made contacts more official than in past meetings through unofficial channels, including with veteran South Korean lawmakers.

The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun filed a report from Seoul Sunday saying, “Ranking officials from the two Koreas made a secret contact in Kaesong in mid-August attended by ranking officials from Seoul and Jang Sung Taek, an administrative chief of the North Korean Workers’ Party.”

Jang is the brother-in-law of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and considered the No. 2 man in Pyongyang’s power hierarchy.

An informed source on North Korea in Seoul also told The Dong-A Ilbo Sunday, “I understand that top-level officials from both Koreas have held three secret contacts since June this year in Kaesong,” adding, “The meetings were attended by top officials from the North’s State Security Department and their counterparts from the South.”

Another South Korean government source said, “The North’s State Security Department is under the supervision of First Deputy Director Woo Dong Cheuk but is really under Jang Sung Taek’s control.”

“If Jang attended the meeting as Asahi reported, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Director Won Sei-hoon or the spy agency’s first vice director Kim Sook is believed to have attended as well.”

kyle@donga.com changkim@donga.com