March 23, 2011 09:06
Seoul on Tuesday proposed to North Korea that civilian experts from both sides meet to discuss the risk of Mt. Baekdu erupting. The proposal came in response to a demand from North Korea last Thursday for inter-governmental talks on the issue.
South Korea agrees that inter-Korean cooperation in tackling the risk is a good idea and suggested civilian experts meet in Munsan, Gyeonggi Province on March 29, a Unification Ministry spokesman said.
"Discussion of volcanic activity at Mt. Baekdu needs a high level of expertise and scientific knowledge, so we decided that a discussion between civilian experts would be appropriate."
No government officials are expected to participate in the meeting. "The North proposed the talks out of the blue in an apparent attempt to bring government officials to the dialogue table by taking advantage of the massive earthquake in Japan," a security official said. "We'll first have to verify how sincere the North is."
South Korean officials feel there is no hurry since the North has yet to apologize for its attacks last year on the Navy corvette Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island.
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