Monday, June 10, 2013

S. Korea, DPRK Agree to Hold Government Meeting

TEHRAN (FNA)- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to hold a government meeting in Seoul on Wednesday and Thursday to resolve inter-Korean issues that can help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, media reported Monday.

The decision was made at the working-level talks between the two sides conducted at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The two sides have reached partial understanding at the talks, which opened the way for formal talks to be held between both governments for the first time in several years, the report said.

After a 17-hour negotiation, the two sides "reached a compromise that allows Seoul and Pyongyang to release two separate statements reflecting their respective views on what should be discussed as agendas in the two-day talks and who should lead respectively the delegations," Yonhap quoted an official with South Korean Unification Ministry as saying.

The meeting will discuss issues such as normalizing the operation of the Kaesong Industrial Zone, resuming the tours of Mount Kumgang and reunion of families separated by the Korean War, DPRK's official KCNA news agency reported.

The meeting will also cover the issue of jointly celebrating the anniversaries of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration and the July 4, 1972 North-South Joint Statement, the report said.

Each delegation to the upcoming talks will comprise five delegates. The delegation of the North side will be headed by minister-level authorities and will travel to the South overland on the West coast, the report said.

According to the Yonhap report, Seoul said it will send Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae and expect Kim Yang Gon, secretary of the Central Committee of the DPRK Workers' Party of Korea, at the talks.

The DPRK on Thursday proposed holding inter-governmental meetings with South Korea on inter-Korean issues. The latter accepted the proposal the same day, hoping the talks will become an opportunity to help forge trust.

Tensions have escalated sharply on the Korean Peninsula as the US Air Force's B-2 stealth bombers conducted its first-ever firing drill in South Korea on March 28.

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