U.N., North Korea Hold Rare Talks
By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 2, 2009 Officials from the North Korean army and the United Nations Command held their first high-level talks in nearly seven years today inside the Demilitarized Zone.
North Korea requested the meeting to discuss measures to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula, according to a statement released today by the U.S.-led United Nations Command there. The 32-minute meeting took place in Gyeonggi province’s Panmunjom village.
“The United Nations Command sees the North Korean request for these general-officer-level talks to start again as positive,” UNC officials said in the statement. “These talks can be useful in building trust and preventing misunderstanding as well as introducing transparency regarding the intentions of both sides.”
Relations have been tense between the two parties, as the U.N. continues its efforts to convince North Korean leaders to shut down nuclear weapons production and stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
News reports said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to dispatch envoy Stephen Bosworth to North Korea this week to initiate disarmament talks with the country.
Clinton said during a recent trip to the region that denuclearization by North Korea would be “a chance to normalize relations,” calling for “complete and verifiable denuclearization” of the communist north.