February 10, 2011 12:45
The collapse of inter-Korean military talks has given rise to instant speculation what the fallout will be, especially from the two sides' respective allies, the U.S. and China, and six-party talks on the North's nuclear program. One expert, Prof. Yun Duk-min of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security said the two big powers will take a wait-and-see approach rather than putting pressure on the North or the South.
Prof. Kim Young-soo of Sogang University said the debacle on Wednesday need not necessarily damage prospects for the six-party talks. "The six-party talks are not pegged with inter-Korean talks but have their own time frame," he said. Nam Sung-wook, director of the Institute for National Security Strategy said the six-party talks started with a U.S.-China agreement. "But inter-Korean talks follow a completely different track from the six-party talks, so the U.S. and China will discuss the multilateral talks regardless of the results of the inter-Korean military talks."
A diplomatic source said while inter-Korean talks are important in the resumption of the six-party talks, "the most important thing is the North's will to denuclearize. A breakdown does not necessarily set back hopes for the six-party talks."
But if the North takes the situation seriously it would intensify tension on the Korean Peninsula and the situation could change. "If the North takes the stance that it will not talk to the South, it will affect the six-party talks," Yun said. A government official said, "Seoul won't welcome the situation if six-party talks are held without any official apology for the provocations from the North."
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