Senior statesmen call for inter-Korean talks

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Senior statesmen call for inter-Korean talks

At a forum for democracy, peace and welfare yesterday at the Seoul Press Center, a group of veteran opposition lawmakers called for talks between North and South Korea.

The Min Forum (the word for democracy in Korean is minju) was held on the occasion of New Year’s.

Senior statesmen and provincial heads took part, requesting that a summit be held between Pyongyang and Seoul during a policy seminar on the new power structure between the United States and Japan versus China and Russia.

The recent tension on the Korean Peninsula is due to “unsolved conflict over the western maritime border that has been the stage for military clashes,” said Lee Boo-young, the standing head of the forum.

Lee also called for military-level talks between the North and South to discuss the maritime border and to reach an agreement on the joint fishing zone near Yeonpyeong Island, which North Korea shelled in a surprise attack last November.

“As an artillery expert, I believe that Kim Jong-un’s interference also [had to do with the Yeonpyeong Island attack] as succession in the North is currently taking place,” said former director of the National Intelligence Service Kim Man-bok during the seminar, which also discussed peace on the peninsula.

Moon Chung-in, professor of politics and foreign affairs at Yonsei University in Seoul, said, “Security on the Korean Peninsula has deeply weakened despite the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. ... The [alliance] is not a miracle drug.”

The professor also warned that the peninsula may stay permanently divided if North Korea continues to subjugate itself into China’s economy.

“The recent state of things on the Korean Peninsula is the worst since the Korean War,” said Moon.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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