Thu, Apr 11, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Time to reach out across the Korean Peninsula’s divide

Experts on North Korea are calling for dialogue and even limited engagement with Pyongyang, and say that China must play a role in reducing tensions, while Switzerland has offered to mediate

By Justin McCurry  /  The Guardian, in the Korean DMZ

Despite the barrage of threats from Pyongyang, all was quiet along the DMZ, where tourists were unperturbed by their proximity to danger and bought souvenir mugs and T-shirts. US and South Korean forces lined up near the fence running the entire 257.5km length of the DMZ have kept the communist wolves from its democratic neighbor’s door for 60 years, our guide told us — although the South didn’t hold free elections until the late 1980s.

In these volatile times, it is worth remembering the DMZ’s other role. Straddling the demarcation line in Panmunjom are several blue huts, where officials from North and South have historically held talks aimed at building the foundations for rapprochement.

Many consider them Cold War relics; would that they became the setting for a long-overdue thaw.

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