Panmunjom (AsiaNews) – Military talks between the two Koreas, which started up today in the demilitarised zone, “are a pretext to gain time. Seoul does not want to fight a war with Pyongyang, which has to show signs that is reasonable if it wants to get back into the good graces of China,” a North Korean source told AsiaNews on condition of anonymity for security reasons. “What is certain is that the initiative comes from Kim Jong-il. The heir has rushed into things, and the father wants to avoid other incidents.”
Talks between colonels from the two sides took place in two separate sessions at Panmunjom’s Peace House. The first one lasted less than hour. Nothing is known about the second.
Kim Min-seok, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Defence Ministry, the delegations met for the first time after months of tensions following the 23 November incident in which North Korean artillery shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing four people, including two civilians.
The colonels discussed details like place, date and agenda of higher-level talks, for a possible meeting between defence ministers.
Defence Ministry sources in Seoul made it clear however that no deal would be reached without apologies and appropriate measures by Pyongyang for the shelling on Yeonpyeong and the sinking blamed on North Korea in March 2010 of the ROKS Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors.
The source told AsiaNews that “appropriate measures should be shown. They include sending away North Korea’s heir Kim Jong-un, who is thought to have pushed for the two military attacks that raised tensions between the two Koreas. North korea is in a desperate situation and cannot avoid cutting a deal. The fear however is that the ‘Third Kim’ might not hear reason and try instead to impose his rule by force.”