Korean foes jaw to finally to end war
Tuesday 05 August 1997
The tag-line for the meetings is that they will eventually restore peace to Korea for the first time since the 1950-53 war, which ended in a ceasefire rather than a permanent treaty. But nobodyis expecting to hoist the bunting for a long time yet.
The initial goals are so modest as to appear footling: military exchanges between the rival armies, advance notification of exercises and crisis hot- lines. The US hopes to bring peace to Korea by offering Pyongyang supplies of fertiliser. Officials speak of offering their expertise in reforesting the mountains of the North.
But it turns out we have not even got that far. These subjects will be raised at the talks themselves, but today's meeting at Columbia University is only a talk about talks.
That the Koreas are sitting down to talk to one another is achievement enough, especially in company with the North's Korean War sponsor, China. But the modesty of the agenda emphasises how many diplomatic leagues there are to cross before any settlement is reached and how alarmingly isolated Pyongyang has become. There are few pointers on this road to peace and the one obvious precedent - reunification of East and West Germany - offers more differences than similarities.
Through television and radio, East Germany had been bathed in Western brand names and aspirations for years. In Korea,communication is almost non-existent. This is as much a consequence of Seoul 's paranoia as Pyongyang's totalitarianism. The only way out of North Korea is defection, but South Koreans who visit the North without permission are also imprisoned, and forbidden from phone, fax or postal communication.
South Korean engineers will soon make an unprecedented official journey to the North to install nuclear reactors to replace ones suspected of contributing to nuclear weapons. Yesterday special phone lines were opened for them to contact their families.
Given such mistrust, confidence-building measures are simply a humble recognition of political realities. "Just because they may have very low expectations for these talks, the talks can succeed in spite of it," a US official said in Washington. "You can't rule out results before you begin."
With time, it is hoped, they will lead to closer contact, although, with a worsening food crisis, it is unclear how much time North Korea has left.
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Women in Turkey have a laugh in public at the deputy Prime Minister's expense
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >
£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...
£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...