Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - South Korea gears up for military talks with North

South Korea gears up for military talks with North

South Korea gears up for military talks with North

by Yeo Jun-suk

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) - With North Korea’s high-level delegation having returned home after waging a peace offensive during the PyeongChang Olympics, South Korea is preparing to continue the momentum for an inter-Korean thaw by resuming long-stalled military talks.

Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea said that the resumption of military talks is crucial to easing cross-border tensions that have been lessened since the North Korean participation in the Winter Olympics.

“In order to move forward with exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas, our urgent task is to hold military talks and reunions of separated families,” Rep. Woo Won-sik, the ruling Democratic Party floor leader, said Tuesday.

An anonymous senior Cheong Wa Dae official also said Tuesday that the two Koreas would begin with what they had agreed upon, adding future dialogue would begin with working-level military talks and proceed gradually to a more senior level, according to Yonhap News Agency.

In a rare inter-Korean talk held for the first time in about two years on Jan. 9, the two Koreas agreed to hold a military dialogue, with Pyongyang agreeing to send its delegates of athletes and a cheering squad to the Olympics.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said the military is working on the military talks and waiting for North Korea to respond to the military dialogue proposal first made in July 2017.

“Although there has been no specific move (by North Korea), we are preparing for it,” Defense Ministry Spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said during a press briefing.

The spokesperson also confirmed that the restored military hotline on the West Sea has been working without a hitch. Last month, the two Koreas restored the communication line that Pyongyang severed in 2016 to protest Seoul’s shuttering of a joint industrial complex north of the border in Kaesong.

While South Korea is likely to focus on implementing measures to prevent accidental skirmishes in the border region, there is the chance that North Korea might raise broader issues that could be sensitive to South Korea and the US.

Among them are the resumption of the joint South Korea and US military exercises, which the allies said would resume upon the conclusion of the Olympics and Paralympics in March. North Koreans have urged the allies to halt the drills, denouncing them as rehearsals for war.

Another point of contention is whether the two Koreas will suspend their cross-border propaganda broadcasts. North Korea threatened to shoot down South Korean speakers in August 2015, when the South began the broadcasts after border guards were maimed by land mines planted by the North.

MOST VIEWED

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a

  • Battambang artist brings giant animals to life

    The giant reptile’s gaping mouth appears ready to consume its latest victim. It stands taller than a person and is incredibly life-like with authentic colours, a long spiky tail and detailed scales adorning its entire body. If it wasn’t 13m long, you may