Tags: Pyongyang | for | Resuming | Talks | with | Seoul

Pyongyang for Resuming Talks with Seoul

Monday, 03 September 2001 12:00 AM

"We propose that dialogue between North and South Korea reopen as soon as possible to open a wider road to reconciliation, unity and national unification," North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland said in a message to South Korea's unification minister, Lim Dong-won.

The message, read by state-run Radio Pyongyang, added, "We hope for your positive response to our constructive proposal."

It was signed by Lim Dong Ok, the committee's vice chairman. The committee is responsible for North Korean policy on South Korea.

The message indicated the proposed talks would discuss ways to revive the reconciliation process launched by the historic inter-Korean summit in June 2000. "The June 15 joint (summit) declaration is winning support from in and outside day after day," it said.

At that summit, held in Pyongyang, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il agreed to work together toward reconciliation, cooperation and eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula. It is the strongest move yet toward peace on the divided peninsula, where North and South are still technically at war 48 years after the end of the Korean War.

The North's proposal was welcome news in South Korea, which under Kim's leadership and "sunshine policy" toward the insular North has made reconciliation a top priority, even in the face of criticism from skeptics.

A senior official in Seoul said the government welcomed the North's proposal. "If resumed, governmental talks can break the deadlock in the Korean peace process," he said.

But the Unification Ministry said it was still trying to ascertain details of the proposal, such as the dates and diplomatic level of the talks, because the message from the North's Lim Dong Ok did not mention them.

The North's proposal could also be a personal boon to South Korea's embattled unification minister, Lim Dong-won, who on Monday faces a vote of confidence in the National Assembly for approving a controversial trip to Pyongyang by South Korean activists that turned into a major embarrassment for the Seoul government.

A delegation of more than 300 religious, civic and labor leaders visited the North to celebrate the then-united Korean peninsula's 1945 independence from Japan on Aug. 15. But some delegates were accused of lauding Pyongyang's communist government -- a violation of the South's anti-communist National Security Law -- and were arrested upon returning home.

The controversy has opened an ideological rift in the South and embarrassed President Kim Dae-jung and his policy of engagement with the North.

The opposition Grand National Party introduced a motion seeking to dismiss Lim Dong-won for approving the activists' visit to North Korea, saying many of the visitors are from leftist groups that seek hasty unification and the withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in the South and along the 38th parallel that demarcates the two Koreas.

"The proposal of talks indicates Pyongyang's hopes that Seoul's unification minister keep the post because Lim Dong-won is a main architect of the reconciliatory policy that provided economic aid packages to the North," a South Korean political analyst said.

Inter-Korea exchanges, which flourished after last year's summit, came to a halt in March when the administration of U.S. President George Bush vowed to take a harder stance on North Korea. In a response, Pyongyang cut off all government contacts with Seoul and pulled out of planned reconciliation events.

In late July, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called on North Korean leader Kim to fulfill a pledge to visit South Korea to follow up last year's summit in Pyongyang.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

All rights reserved.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
We propose that dialogue between North and South Korea reopen as soon as possible to open a wider road to reconciliation, unity and national unification, North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland said in a message to South Korea's unification...
Pyongyang,for,Resuming,Talks,with,Seoul
597
2001-00-03
Monday, 03 September 2001 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved