Officials from North and South Korea began general-level military talks on Tuesday morning, the second of their kind this year, the ROK Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced.
The talks, which are reportedly being held on Pyongyang’s request, began at 1000 KST at the Peace House on the Southern side of Panmunjom.
They follow a similar meeting in June: the first general-level talks between the two Koreas in over a decade.
“We will put our utmost efforts into coming up with substantive measures for the alleviation of inter-Korean military tensions and confidence building through this meeting,” South Korean chief delegate Kim Do-gyun said before his departure for Panmunjom on Tuesday.
The meetings are expected to see the two sides discuss further measures for the implementation of April’s Panmunjom agreement.
“At the meeting, we will have a discussion focusing on the agreements in the military field made at the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27 and agenda which both sides exchange opinions during the last (general-level) talks,” Kim said.
The two Koreas said both had exchanged “opinions” on four issues in a joint press statement released after the general-level meeting in June, at which both sides agreed to “fully restore” military communications channels on the western and eastern coast.
North and South Korean military officers reportedly didn’t reach an agreement on other pending issues, however, with North Korean chief delegate An Ik San explicitly expressed his dissatisfaction over the outcomes of the general-level military talks
The agenda included the issues of transforming the areas around the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL) on the west coast into a “maritime peace zone” and “demilitarizing the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom.”
June saw both sides discuss the issue of “completely ceasing all hostile acts” and “take military measures to ensure inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation as well as visits and contacts.”
The South Korean defense military last week unveiled a plan to reduce troops and equipment at guard posts along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) “on a trial basis as a substantive measure to transform the DMZ into a peace zone.”
Seoul said it would also consider a “plan for the full-scale withdrawal” of guard post forces and equipment in DMZ as part of efforts to implement April’s Panmunjom Declaration.
The South Korean military also said it will seek to conduct a joint recovery operation (JRO) with the U.S. and the North.
Both issues were previously discussed at June’s military talks and the South Korean chief delegate said Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to take “effective measures” on the joint recovery of the remains of those who killed during the Korean War.
The two Koreas agreed on Friday to send five-member teams to the meeting, and today sees An Ik San and Kim Do-gyun reprise their June roles as chief delegates.
An, an Army Lieutenant General of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), is a veteran general-level negotiator, having also served as chief delegate to the first and second military talks in 2004.
Kim, on the other hand, serves as head of the North Korea Policy Bureau at the defense ministry.
He is joined by officials from MND’s North Korea Policy Division, the maritime operations division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the presidential office’s National Security Office (NSO), and the Office of Inter-Korean Dialogue of the Ministry of Unification (MOU).
Additional reporting and editing by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Ministry of National Defense (MND)
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 595 words of this article.