Polish Observers Leave North Korea Via Beijing
BEIJING (AP) _ A group of six Polish military observers arrived in Beijing today after North Korea expelled them from their posts near the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone.
The observers were part of an armistice system established to police an uneasy truce between North and South Korea following the 1950-53 Korean War. Their expulsion leaves the armistice commission without neutral foreign observers in the North for the first time.
The six men, led by Gen. Krzysztof Owczarek, had little to say about their expulsion as they arrived by train from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
North Korea ordered the Polish mission to leave its post last month in a bold move to try to dismantle the Korean War armistice and hold direct talks with the United States.
Poland, along with Czechoslovakia, had represented the North’s interests on an international committee overseeing the armistice. But Pyongyang no longer views the former Communist nations as allies now that they are democracies. Czechoslovakia withdrew under pressure in 1993.
The United States has reacted to the North Korean maneuvers by saying that if the North expected to push Washington into negotiations for a formal peace treaty, it was mistaken.
Poland’s ambassador to China, Zdzislaw Goralczyk, who met the military observers, insisted that the withdrawal did not signal Poland’s departure from the Armistice Commission.
Switzerland and Sweden remain in South Korea as neutral observers.