North and South Korea on Sunday (17 February) held their first talks on reunification for six years.
North and South Korea on Sunday (17 February) held their first talks on reunification for six years. They adjourned after eighty minutes, with an agreement to meet again on the seventh of March.
SYNOPSIS: Reunification would bring together a total of fifty-three million people living in both South and North Korea. Reuters news agency reported that the delegates agreed in principle to re-open a telephone link between their capitals, Seoul in the south, and Pyongyang in the north.
The atmosphere was relaxed, but the two sides were said to have stayed far apart on most issues of substance, and refused even to recognise each other's credentials. The South Koreans said the northern delegation from an organisation called the Democratic Front for the Unification of the Fatherland, could not represent the Pyongyang authorities. In return, the North Koreans maintained that the southerners representing the Seoul side of the Joint South-North Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC), were delegates of an organisation which no longer had any motive for existence. The South Koreans called for reviving the SNCC, and suggested a meeting to talk about setting up a pan-national congress of reunification.
Their leaders in Pyongyang want this congress to take place next September. In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda welcomed a the new contact between the two Koreas.