Koreas meet to ease tension
SOUTH KOREA: South and North Korea Tuesday started high-level
military talks to try to ease tensions along the worldâ€™s last Cold War
The three-day talks at the frontier village of Panmunjom in the
Demilitarised Zone come amid a general improvement in relations, after
the North shut down nuclear facilities which had produced bomb-making
South Korean officials say the meeting will focus on avoiding clashes
around the disputed border in the Yellow Sea, creating a joint fishing
area there and guaranteeing safe conditions for economic cooperation
projects on land.
The North is demanding that its cargo ships be allowed to take a
short cut home across the sea border and wants joint development around
the mouths of cross-border rivers.
Both sides previously failed to narrow differences, with the North
sticking to its earlier demand that a new sea border be drawn. It
refuses to recognise the Northern Limit Line (NLL) drawn up by United
Nations forces at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.
North Korea has proposed creating a joint fishing zone in rich
crab-fishing grounds south of the NLL, while South Korea wants the zone
to be established along the line.Six South Koreans were killed in a
clash in June 2002 in the area, while in June 1999 a similar skirmish
killed dozens of North Korean sailors.
The North says South Korean warships continue to fuel tension by
violating its territorial waters, accusations rejected by Seoul as
groundless. The Southâ€™s five-member delegation is led by army Major
General Jung Seung-Jo. His North Korean counterpart is two-star General