A general officer-level meeting* between the Korean People’s Army (“KPA”) and the U.S. Forces was held in Panmunjom on September 1, 1999. This meeting addressed the matter of fixing the Military Demarcation Line (“MDL”) on the Yellow Sea of Korea. The meeting was proposed by the Korea People’ s Army to finally confirm the position of U.S. Forces before adopting its decision as to the matter of fixing the Maritime Demarcation Line on the Yellow Sea.
At the meeting, Lieutenant General RI Chan-Bok as the Chief Delegate of KPA recalled, in his speech, the sincere efforts made by KPA for a solution to this matter after the June 15 incident. KPA put forward various specified proposals at the July 21, 1999 general officer-level meeting to discuss the matter. This was out of the sincere desire and peace-loving stand of KPA to prevent military conflicts on the Yellow Sea of Korea and to ease the tense situation prevalent in the Korean peninsula at the time.
However, throughout the meeting, the U.S. Forces took a rather negative position regarding the settlement of this matter. First, the U.S. Forces refused to discuss the matter itself. At the meetings, the U.S. Forces argued that the matter should be dealt with at the inter-Korean joint military committee since the North-South agreement ( “Basic Agreement” ) includes an article related to maritime issues. If this logic put forth by the U.S. Forces is followed, it can be also interpreted that the matters related to the MDL and the demilitarized zone should be discussed at the committee since an article dealing with these issues is contained in the Basic Agreement. Such stand and attitudePage 492explicitly implies that the U.S. Forces gave up its commitment to implement the Armistice Agreement ( “AA” ) and its duty as a signatory to the AA. Further, this would mean that the U.S. Forces denied (the ultimate goal of) the general officer-level meeting between the two Koreas. Second, the U.S Forces sought to maintain the so-called Northern Limit Line (“NLL”) which has been “illegally”set deep inside the Korean territorial waters. The U.S. Forces raised the legal principle, “law of prescription”for the first time at the August 17 meeting to support the illegitimacy of NLL. This argument is a far-fetched argument and does not have any legal basis in international al law.
The Chief Delegate of the KPA argued that the brigandish insistence of the U.S. Forces on the illegality of NLL cannot be construed. If otherwise, he argued that there would be an attempt to continue military conflicts on the Yellow Sea to attain its design to dominate the sea area. Further, the Chief Delegate urged the U.S. Forces to clearly answer regarding its willingness to accept the proposal from KPA for working-level contact for fixing a MDL on the Yellow Sea. However, Major General Michael Dunn, Chief Delegate of the U.S. Forces refused to accept the offer by the North Korea suggesting a working-level contact, repeating its previous unjustifiable argument that the matter must be discussed at the “north-south dialogue”and that the NLL should be observed. The Chief Delegate of the KPA, RI Chan Bok said:
Now that the stand of the U.S. Forces side has been clearly confirmed through six rounds of...