Little Chance of Success at Big Meeting

A military working-level meeting due to occur tomorrow will begin at 10AM in “Peace House”, a building within Panmunjom truce village, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed today.

Speaking at a Ministry briefing this morning, a spokesperson stated, “For the North, Colonel Lee Sun Kwon plus two people will attend, and for our side, Colonel Mun Sang Gyun (North Korea policy chief for the Ministry of National Defense) plus two will attend.”

As previously reported, tomorrow’s meeting is intended to set out the level of participants, location and tentative agenda for a round of high level military talks at a later date.

The ministry spokesperson added that the meeting will not be open to reporters, but that two military journalists would be in attendance and that “When the meeting ends, we expect that the results will be explained or a press release will be provided.”

This seems to be a reflection of the fear that the North is likely to try and use the meeting to transmit propaganda and its unchanged stance on the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island incidents.

Speaking with The Daily NK about prospects for the meeting this afternoon, Future Hope Party lawmaker and National Assembly National Defense Committee member Song Young Sun said that she does not expect to see it produce any tangible results.

“There will not be an apology or a gesture promising to avoid a repeat of the Cheonan or Yeonpyeong Island incidents from North Korea at this meeting,” Song said, cautioning also that, “Even supposing that North Korea were to apologize for the Cheonan or Yeonpyeong Island incidents, it would not be an official apology and therefore us accepting it would also be ridiculous.”

“North Korea is likely to order us not to conduct psychological warfare, including broadcasts,” she added. Not only that, “If the resumption of South-North dialogue is not realized hereafter, North Korea is highly likely to use the meeting as a tool to shift responsibility for that onto us.”

Therefore, Song said she believes that maintaining principle is the critical way to approach all upcoming contact with the North. Ergo, “President Lee Myung Bak should stick to his initial principles, whereby he said there can be no dialogue without a North Korean apology.”

“This is related to Korean Peninsula peace or Korean Peninsula crisis, so while there is no need for us to create disharmony, there is no need for us to make a conciliatory gesture, either,” she concluded.