[EDITORIALS]Good Progress at Ministerial Talks

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[EDITORIALS]Good Progress at Ministerial Talks

We believe the results of the fifth round of inter-Korean ministerial talks in Seoul were positive. They again put on track the inter-government talks and paved the way for practical cooperation centered around economic cooperation.

According to the agreements reached at the talks, working-level meetings will be held for the next two months to resolve many issues. They include the linking of the Kyongui railway, the construction of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the launching of overland tourism at Mount Kumgang, the passage of commercial vessels through each other's territorial waters, preventive measures to contain flood damage near the Imjin River and the activation of four economic agreements which have already been signed.

We would like to emphasize that for future inter-Korean contacts, transparency is life. Although the provision of food and electricity was not mentioned in the press release, all Koreans already know that those are pending issues between North and South Korea.

Electricity we provide must not be used by the North Korean military, and there should be open discussion about how much electricity should be provided for use at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Instead of engaging in behind-the-scene negotiations and keeping the issue secret, the government should be open about the benefits and dangers of supplying electrical power.

The government should understand that public opinion will not accept back-room deals on aid to the North. We hope politicians will also move away from partisan politics when it comes to inter-Korean relations.

We welcome next month's resumption of separated family reunions. But North Korea should move beyond staging such events and agree to the establishment of permanent meeting places. We welcome the pledge in the press release to preserve peace on the peninsula, but we regret there is no anti-terrorism statement.

During the next ministerial talks, to be held at the end of next month, such a statement should be included. In addition, there should be an agreement to hold defense minister talks so that the two sides can work out measures to dampen military tensions across the DMZ.
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