Road to reconciliation

North Korea offers peace to South

By: Erica Guth

Military officials in Seoul are considering North Korea’s offer to hold their first military discussion in nearly two years after the North sunk one of their warships, killing 46 sailors last March.

The North proposed a discussion of South Korean activists who regularly send anti-North Korean leaflets over the land and maritime borders.  “Taking into consideration that North Korea has not admitted to, or apologised for, sinking the Cheonan, the government is reviewing the North’s proposal cautiously,” stated South Korea’s defence ministry to the BBC.

Although North Korea denies any involvement in the incident, an international team of investigators announced that the Cheonan was attacked by a North Korean torpedo, according to The Canadian Press.

An article published in the New York Times online last Thursday stated that North Korea is attempting to mend its relationship with the South. They have allowed families who were separated by the Korean War to be reunited and have also released the crew of a South Korean fishing boat they had seized.

South Korea’s hesitation to accept Pyongyang’s proposal of a talk is due not only to their denial in the Chenoan incident but also because following the attack, North Korea fired artillery in the border waters in anger over the accusation.

North Korea’s efforts are not going unnoticed, however. The South has sent aid to the victims of a flood in the North to show their gratitude. They will refrain from sending any large-scale humanitarian aid until the North has apologized for their actions, according to Kim Tae-Hyo, adviser to President Lee, who spoke to the New York Times last Wednesday. The discussion over the maritime border is in result to three naval clashes caused by the uncertain delimitation in the past 11 years.

The United Nations Command met with North Korean officers last Thursday for the fifth time since the sinking of the Cheonan on the border. The United Nations are helping the North to negotiate their talks with the South and the armistice issues surrounding the incident, reported the New York Times.

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