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NightWatch 20100121


For the Night of 21 January 2010

South Korea-North Korea: Update. The North agreed to continue economic talks about developing further the Kaesong joint industrial park. The North offered to hold working-level talks in the North's border city of Kaesong on Tuesday to discuss border crossings, customs clearance, and the use of mobile phones and Internet for South Korean companies in the complex, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said. South Korea will review the proposal, Chun said.

North Korea-US: The Korean Central News Agency published an essay on the importance of replacing the armistice with a peace treaty, relative to other issues,

The old armistice regime, a product of the Cold War, still persists on the Korean Peninsula, creating an instable situation of neither war nor peace. The protracted cease-fire on the peninsula, something unprecedented in the world history of cease-fire is little short of a time bomb posing constant threat to the security in East Asia and, furthermore, in the other regions of Asia-Pacific at present.

The conclusion of a peace treaty would mean the first step toward creating a peaceful environment on the
Korean Peninsula. This is not the issue different from the issue of the denuclearization of the peninsula.

The U.S. has so far intervened in the Korean issue as a party directly responsible for the conclusion of the Armistice Agreement (AA) and established its military control over South Korea.

No one can replace the
U.S. in replacing the AA by a peace treaty. The U.S. had already clarified on several occasions its official stand neither to pose a military threat to the DPRK nor invade it and shown its readiness to conclude a peace accord.

There is neither reason nor condition not to respond to the proposal for concluding a peace treaty replacing the present AA if the
U.S. truly wants to coexist with the DPRK peacefully and wishes for peace of the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK attaches very great importance to concluding a peace treaty.

Comment: This editorial comment contains some new thinking. The North's strategists have gone to some lengths to craft an argument that denuclearization is integral to a peace treaty. After signature of a peace treaty, there would be no need for either North or South Korea to possess nuclear weapons. If only that were so…

The North's arguments are elegant but false. They propose a package deal that would turn US promises to not attack the North against the US and imply but do not promise that a peace treaty would solve all related issues. The North never agrees to package deals.

In dealing with the North, occupation of every foxhole must be negotiated more than once. Today's item proposes putting a wedge between the US and South Korea because Pyongyang would construe any US agreements as binding on South Korea.

A peace treaty would lead to more difficult negotiations for possession of foxholes the Combined Forces Command already occupies.

End of NightWatch for 21 January.

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