The meeting between representatives of North and South Korea

On February 2nd  the proposal for a meeting  to be held between representatives of North and South Korea was welcomed on this site

The Financial Times reported that South Korea would offer to supply $40bn in economic incentives and infrastructure if the North shows evidence of disarming. 

In North Korea News we read that South Korea had “high expectations” ahead of its military meeting with North Korea Tuesday. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said. “I believe this is a good opportunity for the North, that it is engaging in dialogue with the South at this point . . . I have high expectations that the North will realize it is time for change.”     

The Tuesday meeting 

The first inter-Korean dialogue in months began at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and four rounds of talks were held throughout the day at a meeting room at the conference centre in  Panmunjom, according to CNN News.

An ‘air of friendliness’ was noted when three colonel-level officials from both countries appeared before cameras. “Both sides have been discussing the agenda and process for a higher-level meeting. The atmosphere was serious, and there were no political arguments from the two sides” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, quoting Kim Min-seok, a Defense Ministry official.  

Yonhap said the talks are aimed “at setting the date, place and agenda for higher-level talks, possibly at the level of defense ministers.”

North and South Korea agreed to resume discussions on Wednesday.         

The Wednesday meeting      

Hyung-jin Kim, Associated Press, reported from Seoul, South Korea that North Korean military officers left the first official talks because the two sides disagreed about what should be on the agenda of their next talks. 

South Korea had argued that the high-level talks should focus on the two attacks last year, while the North Koreans demanded discussion of other military issues as well, according to a statement by South Korea’s Defense Ministry.  

A point gained

It was agreed that a discussion about restarting reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. It is hoped that talks on that issue could eventually provide an opening for wider discussions. 

The relationship between North and South Korea became more difficult after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s administration, elected in 2008, took a harder line with the North, gratifying the US Defense Department, but disturbing the South Korean electorate – see this site, May & June.

Will the hope of many – symbolised below, be realised one day?

 

  

 

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