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9.19 Agreement

On 26 October 2010, Red Cross officials from North and South Korea met to discuss the possibilities of family reunification, but could not reach an agreement. The same is true for UNC and North Korea, which did not organize a meeting at a higher level. [70] Many other issues will affect the implementation of the agreement: how to achieve North Korean denuclearization; when operational control will be transferred from USFK to South Korea during the war; how to ensure civilian control of the military in response to changing political and social conditions in South Korea; how conventional arms reductions between the two Koreas, taking into account comparative GDP, population, economic structure and future threat perception, can end. Of course, the geopolitical context should not be overlooked – the Korean peace initiative must be supported, or at least not rejected, by China, Russia and Japan. The opinion of military officers on duty, perhaps surprising, is that from the point of view of field commanders, faced with the possibility of local skirmishes or armed clashes around the NLL or the MDL, their daily situation will not change much. However, both military personnel should be more cautious when it comes to counter-operations against the alleged challenges and should see unexpected contingencies in peacekeeping, rather than always being ready to “fight tonight.” This agreement does not constitute arms control or arms reduction; Rather, it is the continuation and development of bilateral confidence-building measures first proposed in the 1974 Joint Declaration. Although, as has already been mentioned, the North Korean media continue to attack the United States, their treatment of South Korea has changed considerably. In the past, there was a constant contrast between the “socialist sky” of the North and the “decadent imperialism” of the South; but for now, the ideological and rhetorical war of radio seems to be over. Shortly after the signing of the agreement, the South Korean military gave press briefings to clarify three points. First, South Korea will work closely with the international community to ensure compliance with U.N. economic sanctions against North Korea.

Second, the agreement does not limit any defensive action that the South may have to take to counter aggressive military action by the North. Third, the NLL must be recognized as a de facto border between the two Koreas in the West Bank, otherwise the possibility of serious maritime conflict will remain, as can be seen for the two North Korean maritime struggles and artillery fire on Yeonpyong Island in November 2010, as well as during the deliberate sinking of the South Korean Cheonan in March 2010. South Korean conservative opinion has criticized the agreement for several reasons. Some, stuck in a Cold War mentality, believe that North Korea is still planning a military invasion of the South, which means that the agreement is merely an infiltration. Others complain that Pyongyang and Seoul are treated equally, as if the history of the North`s deadly military provocations would somehow amount to the verbal hostility sometimes expressed by the South and that they were both guilty of escalating military tensions.