정부, 고위급 남북 당국회담 9일 판문점 개최 北에 제의
The date is set,… but will North Korea take it?
South Korea has proposed the two Koreas hold talks at the border on January 9th — next Tuesday — after the North’s leader suggested he would be open to dialogue.
Seoul is still waiting for a response,… but should Pyongyang accept,… the talks would be the first in over two years.
Our reporter at the unification ministry — Kwon Jang-ho — with more.
South Korea have been quick to grab the olive branch offered by North Korea.
One day after Kim Jong-un said that he is open to sending athletes to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang next month, Seoul invited Pyongyang to discuss it.
“We make an offer to the North to open high-level inter-Korean talks on the 9th of January at the truce village of Panmunjeom. However, we also express that we are ready to hold dialogue at any time, place, or format.”
Cho said through this opportunity he hopes the two sides can re-establish key communication channels at Panmunjeom and discuss details of the meeting.
Pyongyang severed communication lines with Seoul in February 2016 in reaction to the previous administration’s decision to shut down the Kaesong joint-industrial complex.
If the high-level talks do go ahead next week, it’ll also be the first such meeting since December 2015.
The Moon Jae-in administration has offered talks before, in July last year, but the call was largely ignored, with Pyongyang criticizing through state media Seoul’s policy of sanctions and pressure.
North Korea watchers have warned that the regime may make demands in exchange for its participation in the Games, such as the lifting of sanctions.
When asked about whether any other inter-Korean issues would be discussed, Cho stressed that this time the primary focus will be on helping North Korea participate in PyeongChang 2018,… but that they hope for more in the future.
“If talks do go ahead, we hope that this opportunity can lead to re-opening further inter-Korean dialogue and restore that relationship.”
“If all goes well, it could be a big breakthrough for the Moon administration. But you never know quite what you’re going to get with North Korea, and having been rejected before, Seoul will likely move ahead with cautious optimism.”
Later on Tuesday, Seoul said they had attempted to contact Pyongyang through the Panmunjeom communication lines, but so far there has been no response.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.
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