S. Korean Official Urges Realism on Expectations About North

Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 21, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

South Korea’s lead of­fi­cial for en­gage­ment with North Korea on Wed­nes­day sought to tem­per any op­tim­ism that re­la­tions with Py­ongy­ang might drastic­ally im­prove over the near term, Agence France-Presse re­por­ted.

The two Koreas re­cently agreed to re­sume joint-eco­nom­ic activ­it­ies at the Kaesong busi­ness com­plex, which has been shuttered since the spring break­down in bi­lat­er­al re­la­tions.

“There is no quick solu­tion to a lot of pending is­sues,” South Korean Uni­fic­a­tion Min­is­ter Ryoo Kihl-jae said to re­port­ers. “We will have to solve them gradu­ally, step-by-step.”

The South will con­tin­ue to main­tain a state of high-mil­it­ary read­i­ness to re­spond to any at­tacks from the North, the min­is­ter said, adding, “There will be a res­ol­ute re­sponse to any pro­voca­tion.”

Oth­er re­gion­al coun­tries, though, were more op­tim­ist­ic that the re­cent thaw­ing in inter-Korean ties could lead to the re­sump­tion of moribund mul­tina­tion­al ne­go­ti­ations on North Korea’s nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

“An op­por­tun­ity or a win­dow has emerged to open talks on the Korean Pen­in­sula nuc­le­ar is­sue,” Chinese De­fense Min­istry Ex­tern­al Af­fairs Dir­ect­or Guan You­fei, was re­por­ted to have said to journ­al­ists dur­ing a vis­it to the Pentagon.