ROK of­fers DPRK mil­i­tary, Red Cross talks

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE -

SEOUL — The Repub­lic of Korea of­fered on Mon­day to hold mil­i­tary and Red Cross talks with the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea to ease ten­sions along their shared bor­der and re­sume hu­man­i­tar­ian ex­changes.

ROK De­fense Vice-Min­is­ter Suh Choo-suk said in a state­ment that the ROK pro­posed hold­ing talks among mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties on Fri­day at Tongil­gak, a build­ing on the DPRK side of the truce vil­lage of Pan­munjom.

The di­a­logue would be aimed at stop­ping hos­tile acts that es­ca­late mil­i­tary ten­sions near the mil­i­tary de­mar­ca­tion line di­vid­ing the two sides, the vice-min­is­ter said.

Suh called on the DPRK to re­store the mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions line in the west­ern re­gion to send a re­ply, hop­ing for a pos­i­tive re­sponse.

The over­ture was a fol­lowup mea­sure to ROK Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in’s peace ini­tia­tive made in Ber­lin on July 6 to stop all hos­tile acts along the bor­der on July 27, the 64th an­niver­sary of the cease-fire agree­ment end­ing hos­til­i­ties in the 1950-53 Korean War.

In his Ber­lin speech, Moon also pro­posed hold­ing Red Cross talks with the DPRK for the re­u­nion of fam­i­lies di­vided by the two sides on Oct 4, which marks 10 years since a joint dec­la­ra­tion as well as the tra­di­tional Chuseok hol­i­day.

China has noted the de­vel­op­ment, and hopes the DPRK and the R OK will cre­ate con­di­tions for re­sum­ing talks, For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said in a daily news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing on Mon­day.

China also hopes all rel­e­vant par­ties will un­der­stand and sup­port the ef­fort as well as play a con­struc­tive role in prop­erly solv­ing the penin­sula’s nu­clear is­sue, Lu said.

China al­ways has be­lieved it’s in the best in­ter­ests of both the DPRK and the ROK to im­prove their ties through talks and work for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and co­op­er­a­tion, the spokesman said.

Such moves also will help ease ten­sions on the penin­sula and pro­mote peace, sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in the re­gion, Lu said.

The Oct 4 dec­la­ra­tion was the out­come of an in­ter-Korean sum­mit held in Py­ongyang in 2007 be­tween ROK pres­i­dent Roh Moo-hyun and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of cur­rent leader Kim Jong Un.

As an­other fol­low-up mea­sure to Moon’s ini­tia­tive, the South Korean Red Cross pro­posed to its DPRK coun­ter­part to hold hu­man­i­tar­ian talks on Aug 1 at the Peace House, a build­ing in the ROK side of Pan­munjom. It was de­signed to hold a re­u­nion event for fam­i­lies, who have been sep­a­rated since the 195053 war re­sulted in ar­mistice on the oc­ca­sion of the Chuseok hol­i­day in early Oc­to­ber.

The most re­cent in­ter-Korean con­tact was at vice-min­is­te­rial-level talks in De­cem­ber 2015. Since then, no di­a­logue has been held, as the DPRK con­ducted its fourth and fifth nu­clear tests in Jan­uary and Septem­ber last year and car­ried out a num­ber of bal­lis­tic mis­sile test-launches.

If the DPRK ac­cepts the pro­posal, it would mark the first in­ter-Korean talks since Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in took of­fice on May 10.

Lo­cal me­dia spec­u­lated that the DPRK would ac­cept the mil­i­tary talks with the ROK rather than the di­a­logue of­fer for a re­u­nion of di­vided fam­i­lies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.