North Korea, U.N. slated to restart talks
March 7, 2009
SEOUL — North Korean and United Nations Command representatives were slated to sit down at the negotiating table Friday for another round of general officer-level talks at Panmunjom, according to a UNC news release.
The talks — a follow to Monday’s talks initiated by the North in an effort to ease growing tensions on the peninsula — were proposed by UNC officials during the last meeting.
Monday’s meeting, the first of its kind in seven years, ended without resolution, according to a story by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, and focused mainly on the upcoming Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise.
"The purpose of the meetings is to discuss practical, armistice-related issues, reaffirm commitment to the general officer forum and reduce tension on the Korean peninsula," the release said.
The UNC delegation for Friday’s talks was to be headed by Air Force Maj. Gen. Johnny Weida, who also led the UNC delegation during Monday’s talks.
In preparation for the discussions, a 44-minute meeting between UNC and North Korean colonels was held Thursday to set Friday’s agenda and establish protocol, the release said.
According to spokesman Dave Palmer, the UNC colonel at the meeting was Col. Kurt Taylor. He was unable to identify the North Korean colonel.
Palmer expressed optimism over the resumption of general officer-level discussions.
"It’s always good when they’re talking," he said. "We welcome it."
Friday’s meeting would be the 16th round of general officer talks since the practice began in 1998.