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First ‘General-level Inter-Korean Military Talks’ in a decade held at Panmunjeom


First ‘General-level Inter-Korean Military Talks’


At the eighth North-South general-level military talks, which were held at Tongil House in the northern portion of Panmunjeom on June 14, chief delegate Major General Kim Do-gyun, who deals with inter-Korean relations at the Ministry of National Defense, stressed the need for the thorough implementation of the Panmunjeom Declaration. “As the two leaders have already presented a clear map regarding military affairs, I think both South and North Korea can achieve the expected results in these highly anticipated talks, if we discuss the issues in the firm spirit of the Panmunjeom Declaration,” Kim said in his opening remarks. Citing Kim Gu’s words, ‘when you walk on a field covered with snow, do not mess it up with your footsteps,’ Kim also said, "Just as it is said that our footsteps can make the path for the next generation, these inter-Korean military talks are not a single attempt. We should continue the talks with integrity, consideration and confidence to enable the follow-up inter-Korean talks to go smoothly and achieve results.”

The talks were attended by a South Korean delegation of five people, which was led by Major General Kim and included Army Colonel Jo Yong-geun, who manages the North Korea Policy Division at the Ministry of National Defense; Navy Captain Ahn Sang-min, who manages the Maritime Operations Division at the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Hwang Jeong-joo, who manages Inter-Korean Dialogue Division I at the Ministry of Unification; and Park Sung-ki, who is an executive officer of the Office of National Security at the Office of the President (Blue House). The North Korean delegation of five was led by Army Lieutenant General (equivalent to a major general in South Korea) Ahn Ik-san and included two Army Colonels Eom Chang-nam and Kim Dong-il, Navy Captain Oh Myung-cheol, and Lieutenant Colonel Kim Gwang-hyeop.

The general-level inter-Korean military talks, which were the first held in ten years and six months, started with a cordial atmosphere. “It has been 11 years since the last general-level inter-Korean military talks were held in December 2007. I hope we can achieve results, considering these talks are being held after such a long interval,” said Major General Kim. After mentioning 'Mangjong' (the barley harvest season, one of 24 seasonal divisions according to the lunar calendar) he commented, “In a busy season when seeds are sown to prepare for harvest in autumn, I think it is very meaningful for us to work on these inter-Korean military talks with the expectation of a harvest in autumn." Using a four-character idiom, ‘Jultakdongsi,’ he stressed that we will be able to achieve good results if the two Korean military authorities cooperate with each other and are in agreement. The idiom means that a chick finally comes out of the eggshell when the mother hen pecks at the outside of the eggshell and the chick tries to break the eggshell from inside at the same time.

Lieutenant General Ahn mentioned 'the spirit of the pine tree,' showing a photo of a pine tree which was planted by then-President Roh Moo-hyun during the South and North Korea Summit held in Pyeong-yang in 2007. He then made a suggestion, “Let's make sure our meeting never becomes an adverse wind, but becomes a pacemaker. Considering our talks as a follow-up of the Panmunjeom Declaration, let's establish the spirit of the talks as the spirit of the pine tree, the pace of the talks as the pace of a horse running a long distance, and the principle of talks as putting yourself in another's shoes.”

 

 

By Su-Yeol, Maeng <guns13@dema.mil.kr >

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