[EDITORIALS]Military talks off to good startConcrete plans that were agreed upon at Saturday’s working-level talks between North and South Korean military officials begin to take effect today.
For the first time since the two countries signed the armistice in 1953 to bring an end to the Korean War, naval vessels in the Yellow Sea will communicate with each other using same radio frequencies. Also propaganda activities along the Demilitarized Zone will cease from tomorrow. Billboards and loudspeakers used for such activities will be taken down by mid-August.
These measures have great meaning as military officials from the two sides have worked together to reduce the tension that has been built up along the border.
With the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from the peninsula, the security situation may be precarious. North Korea has reacted to the pullout of U.S. forces by saying that such a move is a precursor to an attack on the North.
We can see that the North also feels burdened by recent changes in the security environment. Efforts shown by the two Koreas to reduce the tension and immediately put agreed measures into action are certainly desirable. If relations between North and South Korea worsen while the reduction of U.S. troops takes place, it will only worsen the instability on the peninsula.
Despite all the positive effects, the agreement that the military officials reached on Saturday is not quite the change that is required to fundamentally alter the situation on the peninsula. Considering that more than 1 million troops still face each other along the border, the recent steps are only a beginning.
Officials should work harder to find a drastic measure that can dissolve the distrust that the two nations have toward each other. The North-South Basic Agreement, which was signed back in 1992, can serve as a good standard. It states that the two sides must notify each other before holding military exercises, gradually remove weapons and reduce the size of their militaries.
We ask the government to take a more aggressive stance, through suggesting the formation of a joint military committee. By observing North Korea’s response to such proposals, we will be able to see the North’s true motive for reducing military tension.