Posted November. 21, 2015 10:20,
The South Korean government on Friday accepted North Korea`s offer of a preparatory meeting for inter-Korean high-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjeom on November 26. The North honored the agreement reached at the August 25 inter-Korean talks to hold talks "at an early date either in Seoul or Pyongyang." The South Korean government has offered a preliminary meeting three times since, only to hear no answer from the North. We wonder what prompted Pyongyang`s sudden change of its attitude. When Seoul revealed Pyongyang`s indifference and called for a response, the North denounced the South for trying to pass the responsibility for lack of talks onto Pyongyang.
Considering that the North`s two senior party and military officials scurried to the inter-Korean talks in August after the South resumed anti-Pyongyang loudspeaker propaganda in response to the North`s landmine provocation, it is possible to assume that Pyongyang is in some kind of desperate situation this time, too. It is highly likely that the North will demand that the South lift its economic sanctions on the North and resume the Mount Kumgang tourism. Some analysts say that Pyongyang is trying to show some sincerity toward inter-Korean talks because it has an issue to discuss with the South or wants to improve relations with China or the United States ahead of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon`s planned visit to Pyongyang.
It will be almost impossible to expect any progress in the inter-Korean relations if Pyongyang wants to deal only with issues it has interests in, anticipating unconditional economic assistance from the South. Seoul should seriously consider whether it will be able to persuade the North to hold reunions of separate families on a regular basis. As the North is observed to be in the early stage of market economy and opening, Seoul should also seek a strategy to accelerate such changes in the North.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou met on November 7 for the first time in 66 years. Although the two Koreas held two summits, the cross-strait relations are in a much higher degrees of exchanges and cooperation than the inter-Korean relations. At this opportunity, the two Koreas should pave the way for regular high-level meetings. If such a dialogue channel is established, the two will be able to prevent unnecessary clashes. As South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said she no reason not to hold an inter-Korean summit, the leaders of the two Koreas would be able to meet face-to-face with each other if the inter-Korean talks make significant progress. We hope to hear good news in the inter-Korean relations before the end of the 70th year of Korea`s division.