Night Watch

North Korea-South Korea: The Korean Central News Agency published a government statement calling for an end to confrontation. Excerpts follow.

"The government of the DPRK released the following statement on 7 July, 20 years since President Kim Il Sung left his last signature on a historic document related to Korea's reunification."

"The Korean nation's cause for national reunification is undergoing big difficulties and trials due to the vicious challenges and obstructive moves of the anti-reunification forces at home and abroad."

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) government clarifies as follows out of its patriotic desire to tide over the difficulties lying before the nation, to improve the north-south relations and to open up a fresh turning phase for independent reunification at present:

1.The north and the south should end reckless hostility and confrontation and open up the road for reconciliation and unity…. (Note: this means stop all military exercises aimed at North Korea, especially with the US.)

2.The north and the south should reject dependence on outsiders and settle all issues by the efforts of Koreans…. (Note: this means stop consulting with the US.)

3.The north and the south should seek reasonable reunification proposals supported by all Koreans and that guarantee the prosperity common to the nation…. (Note: this means the two sides should resume discussing their respective reunification plans. The North has proposed a loose federation. The South has proposed a confederation plan.)

4.The north and the south should create the atmosphere favorable for the improvement of the north-south relations…. (Note: this means relax restrictions on South Koreans going to North Korea.)"

Comment: This statement is aimed at the South Korean people, especially those born after the Korean War. The North Korean leaders want the South Korean younger people to act as their agents of change. South Koreans strongly favor some of the terms, such as more frequent people-to-people exchanges. These could include more trips to the Mount Kumgang resort and more frequent visits with separated families.

The North is trying to build back pressure on the South Korean government for changes that will provide hard currency for North Korea and undermine South Korea's profitable relationship with China as well as the US and Japan. The burden of making changes, however, is one-sided: entirely on the government in Seoul.

Night Watch

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