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    » 02/08/2011, 00.00

    KOREA

    Intra-Korean talks, a sign of Pyongyang’s desperation

    Joseph Yun Li-sun

    Colonels from the two sides meet today in the demilitarised zone to prepare a ministerial level meeting. A source tells AsiaNews, “Pyongyang is on the brink of collapse. We are afraid the ‘Third Kim’ will impose himself with violence.”

    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.”

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    See also

    30/07/2010 KOREA – UNITED STATES
    Third round of talks between the United Nations and North Korea over ROKS Cheonan
    The US-led UN Command that oversees the 1953 armistice met North Korean military officers in the DMZ. The sinking of a NOKS corvette that killed 46 South Korean sailors is still unsolved.

    30/09/2010 KOREA
    No breakthroughs at North-South military talks
    North Korea’s media release first official picture of Dictator Kim Jong-il’s third son, 28-year-old Kim Jong-un. CIA chief Panetta is flying to Seoul to discuss the succession in Pyongyang.

    29/10/2010 KOREA
    Troops exchange fire in DMZ, raising tensions between the two Koreas
    North Korean soldiers fire at South Korean troops. No one is wounded, but tensions go up. South Korea’s president urges his northern counterpart to “see a lot more of China” and witness “the result of what can happen to a country’s prosperity when you open up to the world”.

    03/01/2011 KOREA
    In a surprise move, Seoul says door to dialogue “still open”
    In his traditional New Year address, South Korea’s rightwing President Lee Myung-bak says he is prepared to extend a helping hand to the North, in economic matters as well. He tells Pyongyang “military adventurism must be discarded”.

    25/11/2010 KOREA
    South Koreans wait as Seoul sends more marines to island
    South Korean president changes the rules of engagement, beefs up defence on Yeonpyeong Island and along the maritime border after an attack two days ago. Northern defector tells AsiaNews that Kim Jong-un is behind the incident as he confirms his brutality by ordering an attack against helpless civilians to hold onto power.



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