Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Transboundary flood control talks

About a month ago, dams in North Korea released a flood of water into South Korea which killed six people. (Self-promotion links, but which also hold links to other bloggers and newspapers: here and here. Oh, and here, where I presciently discussed the threat for Water Blogging Day).

This week, talks are beginning regarding the flood and how to prevent new surprise floods. Again showing their bizarre negotiation tactics, the North have tested missiles recently as well. They seem to also be linking the flood control talks with talks about reunions.

From the Times:
North Korea has accepted South Korea's proposals to hold inter-Korean talks this week over flood prevention and humanitarian issues, the Ministry of Unification said Tuesday.

The North's latest conciliatory gesture comes one day after it test-fired five short-range missiles off its east coast.

Pyongyang is showing signs of preparing another missile test off the west coast as it warned ships not to sail through waters off South Pyeongan Province, government sources said, adding that it could be part of a routine military exercise aimed at improving capability.

And the Joongang:
North Korea yesterday agreed to the South’s proposals from Monday for the talks. Today in Kaesong, representatives from the two Koreas will sit down to discuss ways to prevent further floods at the Imjin River. Six South Koreans were killed in a September flash flood along the Imjin River caused by the North’s unannounced discharge of dam water.

The river originates north of the border and runs into the Han River in the South. Floods at the Imjin have previously caused damage to fishing farms south of the border.

North Korea has yet to apologize for the September incident. It has only said it would provide prior warnings in the future if it is forced to release water from one of its dams. The South Korean delegation is expected to further press for the apology today.
Yes, that'll be an expensive apology to get.

UPDATED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY: Yonhap announces that North Korea officially 'regrets' the deaths of six South Koreans. Again, I suspect goods changed hands to receive those 'regrets' but you take what you can get.

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