DPRK, UNC to Resume
High-Level Military Talks


(See also)

DPRK Foreign Ministry on U.S. Military Presence in S. Korea (4/30/98)

Formal Ending of Korean War is Crucial to DPRK-US Rapprochement (1/5/98)

Selected Disarmament Policy of DPRK: 1971-1996 (11/5/97)

U.S. Mapped Out War Scenario Against N. Korea in 1994(10/8/97)

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The representatives of the DPRK and the United Nations Command (UNC) in south Korea have agreed to resume prolonged talks on Korean armistice-related matters at high-ranking level.

It was for the first time in seven years since the talks was suspended in 1991 that the both parties reached an agreement as the U.S., representing the UNC, unilaterally abandoned its authority to monitor the Military Armistice Commission (MAC). (See NOTE)

The latest agreement was reached on June 8 between DPRK Army Col. Pak Im Su and his American counterpart Col. Thomas Riley in the truce village of Panmunjom.

Under the terms of the agreement, the UNC delegation will be composed of one brigadier general each from south Korea and Britain, one U.S. major general, and one colonel from Thailand, Australia, or the Philippines, on a rotating basis.

UNC deputy chief of staff U.S. Major General Michael Hayden will assume the senior role in the UNC delegation.

Colonel Riley stated that the general officers-class meeting would be another channel of dialogue with the DPRK outside the MAC, the sole established line of communication between the two sides, but said that it would fall within the armistice agreement. The first meeting is scheduled on June 23.

Observers said that the prospective agenda of the talks would include the armistice-related matters such as regulations in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). However, since no comprehensive discussions have been held since 1991 due to the lack of a monitoring body, the matter of formation of a new monitoring body of the armistice agreement would also be broached unavoidably, they said.

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(NOTE)

With the aim of putting a cease-fire to the Korean War which broke out on June 25, 1950, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953 between the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) on the one hand and north Korea and China on the other. The Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) were inaugurated after the conclusion of the Armistice Agreement.

The MAC, in addition to supervising the implementation of the Armistice Agreement, has served to settle violations of the agreement through negotiations.

But no MAC meeting had been held since March 1991 because the U.S. obstructed the function of the commission by replacing a U.S navy rear admiral as the UNC chief representative with a south Korean army general.

To be more specific, a south Korean army general cannot be a senior member of the UNC at the MAC, an organization supervising the execution of the Armistice Agreement signed between the Korea-China side and the UNC.

Paragraph 20 of the Armistice Agreement stipulates that the MAC shall be composed of ten senior officers, five of whom shall be appointed by the commander-in-chief of the United Nations Command.

This means that none but a military officer representing a party to the Armistice Agreement can be a MAC member.

As a step toward bringing stability to the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang first proposed to Washington on Apr. 28, 1994 the idea of replacing the Korean Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty and the establishment of a new peace arrangement in place of the MAC. On May 24, 1994, the DPRK government also notified the UNC that it had set up a Panmunjom mission of the Korean People's Army (KPA) as a new negotiating body replacing the existing MAC.

On March 2, 1996 Pyongyang made a three-point proposal for a tentative peace agreement with the U.S., to establish a joint military body with the U.S. replacing the MAC, and to hold high-ranking level talks between the both parties.

At the latest agreement between the DPRK and the UNC, however, UNC officials denied a possibility of talking about the DPRK proposal and said that talks would not be bilateral military talks between just the United States and north Korea, not as demanded by Pyongyang.

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