As a continuation of the crisis talks in August to ease the high end military tensions prevailing across the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and its Northern counterpart has decided to hold a vice- ministerial level dialogue process. The high level meeting to be held in the Kaesong joint industrial zone is expected to address issue of the stalled cross-border programmes in which both parties have a political stake.
“The outcome this time could have a significant impact on the path the overall inter-Korea relationship takes next year,” said Cheong Seong-Chang, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think-tank in Seoul. The last such meeting took place two years ago, but without any significant breakthrough. Also one effort to resume the talks in 2013 had collapsed even before it began.
Though the meetings are looked upon positively every time they are held, considering the precedents, it is unlikely that there will be any major outcome. However, according to Cheong Seong-Chang, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think-tank in Seoul, “the outcome this time could have a significant impact on the path the overall inter-Korea relationship takes next year.”
The South’s head at today’s talks was Hwang Boo-Gi, deputy head of Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles cross-border affairs. His counterpart was Jon Jong-Su, a vice director of the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea. It is noteworthy that there was no set agenda, but both sides have clear, if not necessarily complementary priorities.
A cash-strapped North Korea wishes the South to resume lucrative tours to its scenic Mount Kumgang resort. Seoul had suspended the tours, after a North security guard shot dead one f its female tourist in 2008. Meanwhile, the South wants the North to agree to regular reunions for families separated by the Korean War.