April 7, 2011

South, North Korea Meeting Again About Volcano Issues

South Korea's Unification Ministry said that experts from both North and South Korea will meet again to discuss research into an active volcano, reports the Associated Press (AP).

The countries' geologists and volcanologists met last week and agreed on the need for joint research into the North's Mount Paektu, although they did not map out details.

The discussions came during worries over natural disasters after Japan's earthquake and tsunami last month.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said that North Korea agreed on Thursday to hold a second round of talks next Tuesday at the North Korea border town of Kaesong.

"Our government understands that there must be inter-Korean cooperation as far as natural disasters are concerned," ministry spokesman Chun Hae-Sung told reporters before they met the first time.

"The South Korean government recognizes the need for inter-Korea cooperation regarding natural disasters such as volcanic activities and earthquakes," spokesman Chun Hae-sung said at a briefing in Seoul. "We will examine the North's proposal from this perspective."

The 8,990-foot mountain has over a billion tons of water, which could flood surrounding areas.

Experts say that the mountain has an active core, although the mountain has been inactive since its last eruption in 1903.

The Korean peninsula remains in a technical state of war because of a three-year conflict that ended in 1953 in a truce, but not a peace treaty.  The U.S. has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea to protect its ally against aggression.