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Koreas get closer in high-level talks

Koreas get closer in high-level talks
Senior South and North Korean officials resume dialogue that was cancelled earlier this month

By Alex Jensen

SEOUL (AA) - North Korea suggested Friday that South Korea host joint events this month to celebrate the first ever inter-Korean summit on June 15, 2000.

The North's proposal was one of a series of cooperation plans discussed during high-level talks that got underway at the Panmunjom border village Friday morning, according to a unification ministry official cited by local news agency Yonhap.

The two delegations were led respectively by the South's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and his North Korean counterpart Ri Son-gwon.

Seoul's side additionally proposed the establishment of a liaison office in Kaesong, a city on the North's side of the border where an inter-Korean industrial complex was shut down amid high tensions in 2016.

Another important area of discussion was reconnecting railways and roads between the Koreas, while the respective delegations were also expected to cement plans for reunions of families separated by the border since the Korean War ceasefire in 1953.

Although the Koreas are for now hampered by sanctions against the North with regard to economic cooperation, that could change if Pyongyang denuclearizes as it has promised to do.

Ri emphasized the importance of mutual "trust and respect" while meeting Cho, Yonhap reported.

"I believe that there is no problem that we cannot solve together if we deal with it based on trust, respect and understanding of the other side, which is the basic mindset that South and North Korea both agree to," Cho said.

The pair were due to meet last month before the North pulled out due to South Korean-American military drills.

Ties warmed up again, however, thanks to an unheralded second summit between the Korean leaders last weekend.

source: News Feed
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