North Korea Delays Working-Level Talks
The Ministry of Unification announced that working-level talks scheduled for today in the city of North Korean city of Kaesong would be postponed indefinitely. Officially, the North stated they needed more time to prepare for the talks, but experts in academia and the government surmise that the delay has something to do with Lee Myung Bak’s upcoming inauguration. Namely, that the North is taking a “wait and see” approach to South-North relations. Lee Ki Dong, at the Institute for National Security Strategy, had the following to say (via JoongAng Ilbo):
“North Korea probably does not want to expose its stance, whether it is a plea for help or a statement that ‘we will not deal with you guys,’ until the new administration’s stance is clearly outlined”
Lee Myung Bak has pledged to take a harder line with Pyongyang. Pyongyang has still not made any official comments regarding Lee’s December 19th election.
Today’s talks were supposed to cover improved rail links between the two countries and the creation of a joint “cheering team” for the Beijing Olympics.