South and North Korea clashed Friday over U.N. membership with Seoul demanding the two countries join the United Nations separately and Pyongyang urging that they share a single U.N. seat.
Diplomats of the two sides met behind closed doors for 21/2 hours at the border village of Panmunjom hoping to settle differences over the U.N. membership issue.At the meeting, chief Southern negotiator Lim Dong-won stressed that "the only realistic way of promoting peaceful reunification is for the two Koreas to obtain U.N. seats at the same time," officials said.
Lim proposed the two Koreas, after joining the world body separately, jointly declare that the arrangement is temporary, and that they will continue efforts to move up reunification and merge the separate seats into one, the officials said.
North Korean negotiator Choe U-jin reiterated his government's stand that South and North Korea should share a single U.N. seat because separate membership for them will freeze and legalize Korea's division.
The South Korean representative pointed out that North Korea recently proposed talks to normalize relations with Japan in an apparent change of policy, and hoped the North will adopt new thinking concerning the U.N. membership issue, the officials said.
The North-South meeting Friday was the second contact between the two countries on the U.N. membership question. Another meeting will be held before the second round of inter-Korea prime ministers talks is held in Pyongyang on Oct. 16-19, South Korean officials said.
South Korea, meanwhile, proposed three separate working-level contacts for Monday at Panmunjom to discuss details for a proposed exchange of soccer teams, the dispatch of 17 musicians and reporters to attend a music festival in North Korea this month and the second round of prime ministers' talks.