North and South Korea Agree to Govt-Level Meeting

World | June 10, 2013, Monday // 07:26|  views

A South Korean soldier stands on a road linked to North Korea at a military checkpoint in Paju on Wednesday, April 3. Photo by Getty Images

Officials from North and South Korea have agreed to hold their first high-level meeting since 2007, BBC reported, citing separate statements of both sides.

The agreement came after hours of preliminary talks in the truce village of Panmunjom aimed at rebuilding trust between the two sides.

The talks will take place in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday.

The announcement follows months of tension between the two nations, following the North's third nuclear test in February.

The deal to hold higher level talks came in the early hours of Monday, but the two sides have not yet agreed on the other detailed agenda items.

"Both sides issued separate statements on the outcome of discussions after failing to narrow differences over the level of chief delegate and agenda," South Korea's Unification Ministry said.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae will lead South Korea's delegation to the meeting later this week and has asked the North to send the head of the United Front Department of the ruling Workers' Party, Kim Yang-gon.

However, it is not yet clear who the North will send to the meeting.

An unnamed official from South Korea's Ministry of Unification would not confirm reports that denuclearisation would be discussed at the meeting, but said that "all matters that can enhance peace and stability can be discussed at the two-day talks", South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

North Korea's Central News Agency said the main point of discussion would be restoring suspended commercial links, particularly the Kaesong joint commercial zone which was shut down by the North in April as tensions escalated.

Other issues up for discussion are the reunion of separated families and their relatives and the resumption of tours to North Korea's Mount Kumgang.

South Korean tours to the North Korean resort ended after a South Korean tourist was shot and killed by a North Korean guard in 2008.

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Tags: North, South, Korea


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