North Korea on Tuesday accepted Seoul’s proposal to hold military talks to reduce border tensions, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported, citing a joint press statement issued after high-level talks. In their first formal dialogue in two years at the border village of Panmunjom, they also agreed to reactivate cooperation and exchanges through diverse levels of talks including a high-level meeting, Seoul officials said. The agreement marked a major breakthrough in the years of frosty ties between the two countries and in last year’s heightened tensions over the North’s nuclear and missile provocations. North Korea also offered to send a high-level delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South, slated for Feb. 9-25, according to the report.
During the meeting, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, the South’s chief negotiator, raised the need to resume talks on North Korea’s denuclearization, and Ri Son-gwon, the North’s chief delegate, is said to have made “strong” complaints about his remarks. Ri is the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, North Korea’s state agency handling affairs with the South.
The meeting came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un extended a rare offer of rapprochement to Seoul in his New Year’s Day message. He expressed willingness to send a delegation to the PyeongChang Olympics and said his country is open for dialogue. North Korea accepted Seoul’s dialogue offer Friday after the South and the US agreed to postpone their military drills until after the Olympics. It also reopened a long-disconnected border hotline.
The talks came as North Korea is under tough international sanctions over its nuclear and missile provocations. It conducted its sixth nuclear test and fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles last year
Source: Kuwait News Agency