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Korean officials to meet
June 9, 2013, 11:29 pm

The North Korean delegation, left, has called for high-level meetings [Xinhua]

The North Korean delegation, left, has called for high-level meetings [Xinhua]

North and South Korea have agreed to hold a ministerial meeting in Seoul next week that can help build mutual trust and ease tension on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

The two sides met on Sunday morning for the first government-level talks in years at the truce village of Panmunjom.

They exchanged views on the protocol, location, agenda and size of the delegation to be present at Wednesday’s ministerial meeting planned for Seoul, Yonhap said quoting the South Korean Ministry of Unification.

“The two sides shared the same understanding in regards to the ministers’ meeting,” ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said.

The meeting took place in a calm atmosphere, without the discussion of any particular contentious issues, the government official said.

North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) last week called for working-level talks following its earlier proposal to hold government-level talks to resolve issues such as the Kaesong Industrial Complex, Mount Kumgang tours and reunions of families separated by the Korean War of 1950-53.

In April, with tensions rising between the two neighbours, Pyongyang suspended all operations at an Industrial Complex in the border city of Kaesong and pulled out all of its 53,000 staff working for the 123 South Korean companies that operate there. Earlier, the North banned South Korean personnel from entering the complex.

Seoul accepted the government-to-government talks and proposed holding a ministerial-level meeting so that all key issues can be discussed by senior officials, Yonhap said.

Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December after North Korea tested a Taepodong-2 long-range missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test. The UN hit back with sanctions, and the start of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States in March further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.

RIA Novosti


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