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Results of the Working-level Contact for the 7th Minister-level Talks

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2002-08-06
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Press Releases

1. Summary
A working-level meeting was held August 2 to 4 at Mt. Geumgang to prepare for the 7th Inter Korean ministerial talks.

After serious and substantive deliberations, the delegates of the South and the North agreed on the following and issued a joint press release.

Major Agreements
  - The two sides agreed to hold the 7th Inter South-North Minister-level Talks from August 12-14, 2002.
  - The two sides agreed to consult and settle the following issues at the 7th South-North Minister-level Talks:

a. The issue of fixing the dates to carry out the terms of Joint Press Release of April 5 (2002)

b. The issue of holding the 2nd meeting of the South-North Economic Cooperation Meeting to discuss such already-agreed issues such as reconnecting the rail lines and highways between the South and the North, construction of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and flood-prevention measures along the Imjin River; the issue concerning the 2nd meeting between the authorities for the revitalization of the Mt. Geumgang tourism; the dispatch of North Korean economic inspection team to the South; and the resumption of talks between the South-North military authorities.

c. The issues related to the holding of 4th South-North Red Cross Talks and realizing the 5th Reunion of Separated Families at Mt. Geumgang.
  - The two sides agreed that the North would participate in the 14th Busan Asian Games and that the South would guarantee the convenience of the North's delegation and actively cooperate.
  - The two sides agreed to render active assistance for the success of the private sector events of the "August 15 National Unification Rally in Seoul" and the inter-Korean soccer game in September.

2. Significances of the Agreement
  
- The southern delegates conveyed its unequivocal position on the June 29 naval skirmish and urged North Korea to take steps South Koreans could accept. The northern negotiators expressed regret and promised to extend efforts to prevent a repeat of similar incidents.
  - The meeting has provided a crucial momentum to normalize inter-Korean relations by reaching an agreement on the schedule and agenda of the 7th Minister-level Talks. Specifically, the fixing of the dates to carry out the terms of Joint Press Release of April 5, 2002 has paved the way to put into operation such already-agreed issues as reconnecting the rail lines and highways between the South and the North and construction of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
  - The proposed holding of the 5th Reunion of Separated Families would serve as an occasion to bring together separated families on a regular basis. The resumption of Red Cross talks would also help with such key issues as setting up a permanent meeting place, exchange of letters and confirmation of the fates and addresses of separated family members.
  - The participation in major events together like the Busan Asian Games would contribute to enhancing the reconciliation and cooperation on the Korean peninsula.

3. Background of the Agreement
The South has persistently persuaded the North that it was important to keep the legacy of the landmark June 15, 2000 inter-Korean summit and to carry out a number of agreements reached at the summit meeting.

The agreement is meaningful as it comes in parallel with the North Korean move to improve ties with the United States and Japan.

The North's diplomatic turn-around in the wake of the June naval clash appears to be influenced by the reasoning that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and opening doors for foreign capital and technology are crucial to speed up its economic improvement and reform.

4. Notable Aspects of the Meeting
The agreement came in the wake of North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activities, including Foreign Minister Peak Nam-sun's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Brunei and North Korea's move to introduce elements of a market-based economy.

During the meeting, the northern negotiators showed a positive and practical attitude, which led to serious and substantive deliberations. It was a far cry from the past when they concentrated on rhetoric and propaganda.

5. Immediate Tasks
  
- The South Korean government will form a cooperative network among the concerned authorities in order to set in motion the various inter-Korean economic projects and to make the planned private-sector events a success.
  - The government will cooperate with the United States and Japan so that the newly resumed inter-Korean reconciliation will help lead to the improvement of the North Korea's relations with the two countries.